Friday, October 5, 2012

MST3K: Episode 1012 - Squirm

I'm watching all of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episodes in order. More about that here and here.

Episode 1012: Squirm

First aired: Sci-Fi Channel on 1 August 1999
Availability: fan copy

The night the worms crawled out in Georgia.
The silliest things bother me.

What bothered me most about Squirm wasn't the silly premise of electricity turning earthworms into killer critters. No, what bothered me the most was the geography.

Squirm takes place in the coastal Georgia town of Fly Creek. Of course, there is no Fly Creek, Georgia, but that's not the problem. A made-up town? I'm okay with that.

No, what bothers me is that, according to the dialog, "Highway 41" runs through there.

The worms squirm.
Although this movie was filmed in Port Wentworth, Georgia -- that's near the coast, north of Savannah -- the producers didn't use a map to get there. Had they, they would have seen that there ain't no "Highway 41" in coastal Georgia. State Road 41 is in the western part of the state. U.S. 41 runs down the middle of the state. The only thing I can figure is the folks that made the movie took a tax break from George Busbee to film in the state and them remembered the Allman Brothers had mentioned "Highway 41" in Ramblin' Man. Never occurred to look at a map and see that Highway 41 in the song was U.S. 41, which ran through their home town of Macon. Had they simply said "Highway 17," I wouldn't have this nit to pick.

The heroine. And his girlfriend.
The other bit of geography that kinda ticks me off is the constant reference to Statesboro. Sure, Statesboro is only an hour and a half away from the coast and just over an hour from Port Wentworth, but it's inland. If the people of Fly Creek, or any coastal Georgia town, need help from any larger city, it will likely be Savannah or Brunswick. The only thing Statesboro could send would be some Zaxby's chicken or some football players. Only, in 1976, there was no Zaxby's chicken, and Georgia Southern didn't have a football team. Again, I'm figuring the producers were familiar with an Allman Brothers song, this time Statesboro Blues, and worked it in. This could have been avoided if they had just looked at a map.

Sheriff doesn't trust city boy.
Now, the geography isn't the worst thing about this movie. But, to me, it's the most irritating thing about it.

But it's not the only thing wrong with it. For example, there's the plot.

A lightning storms turns earthworms into killers that crawl up into milkshakes and showers and eat worm farmers, but nobody can find the bodies of the worm-kill so the Jerry Reed-looking sheriff decides the city boy that discovered the bodies is just a troublemaker, partly because nobody can find a corpse and partly because he keeps getting interrupted while trying to tap the local waitress, but his local girlfriend, a cute little red-haired thing, knows he's telling the truth and takes him home, but the local goofy guy is sweet on Red, too, but the worms get him, then they knock down a tree and ruin supper, but they end up getting rescued at the end and the worms die or something. The end.

This episode had a short film to go with it.
The final short.Coily harasses a spring-hater.
A man gets all fed up with springs and wishes there weren't any, so, in the spirit of It's A Wonderful Life, a spring sprite named Coily makes that happen. No more springs. And nothing works anymore. Not watches. Not cars. Nothing. So, the spring-hater experience a conversion greater than that of Saul on the Road to Damascus.

It's a weird and wonderful short, and a weird and awful film, with great riffing all around.

I didn't see this episode many times when the show aired, but I did get to see the short. It's one of the extras on the out-of-print Volume 7 as part of the Assignment: Venezuela package.

The next-to-last episode -- actually the next-to-next-to-last episode -- is a winner.

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