Squirm (UK - BD RB)
Our Marcus finds a worm in his milkshake and is a little freaked out...
After an extreme electrical storm the worms of a small town become vicious flesh eaters. City guy Mick (Don Scardino) gets caught up in all of the flesh eating and soon realises visiting his new girlfriend might have been a bad idea.
Squirm is one of those classic scary creature turned killer flicks we all so love but given its 1976 release, the effects are more low key than we're used to today. With that said Rick Bakers nearly 40 year old practical effects, that pretty much consist of worms burrowing into faces still far outshine the modern totally unrealistic CGI approach.
Not a whole lot happens for the first hour here, it's all character set ups. These are all cute and light with a dark undertone but there's no scares beyond the odd slimy worm slipping down a wall out of someone's sight. However when the worms really start snapping it never really lets up. The flick isn't all that scary but the sheer amount of wiggly worms on show here is pretty gnarly and still totally effective.
The image here leaves it's age behind for the most part and provides a warm, clean and bright presentation. There's a distinct late 70s/early 80s feel to the style but everything here shines in HD. Warm sun bathes everything everything with a glow, natural lighting brings fine detail to life and beyond a little softness the upgrade here is amazing really.
The image has a fair few instances of good depth, especially in the woods, though with a loss of sunlight it can sometimes feel a little flat at times. Black levels aren't perfect but they are close enough to give the image a sharp edge and tend to compliment colours rather than engulf them.
There's a distinct crackle to this track but it's certainly got power behind it. The initial overbearing wave of storms, screams and a young boy singing hits like a hammer, albeit one which needs a little more bass behind it. The score is very much of it's time and genre but it's eeriness is sometimes lost within it's unpleasant sound and instrument choices.
Much of the dialogue here feels a little disconnected from the visuals and airy. Sound effects can feel a little tinny and it's all very, very central but there's a few distinct layers here. Dialogue, general ambience such as music or nature chirps and often a third eerie elements. Given the tracks limitations it's never all that dynamic but it does it's job well enough.
The commentary with Lieberman is an enjoyable track with a lot of detail and warmly told stories from the writer/director. The 'Q&A with Jeff Lieberman and Don Scardino' (24:93 HD) from a 2012 screening is more of same and the director plays to the crowd well.
'The Esoteric Auteur: Kim Newman on Squirm' (16:09 HD) has the movie expert talking all things Lieberman's and covers his career quite well and of course goes into Squirm in more detail.
There's also the films trailer.
Squirm is the sort of film I used to watch as a kid and think that it was about as hard as horror got (mainly because I was yet to learn about psychos, zombies and mentals) but now I just enjoy watching these silly killer bug flicks. The story here is pretty light but turns dark at just the right time and given the right crowd would still make an audience feel uneasy.
The disc looks great, sounds okay and has a fair set of features, even if it's not quite and full as some of the other Arrow titles out there.
Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 23rd September 2012
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: PCM 2.0 English
Subtitles: English SDH
Extras: Commentary, Q&A, Featurete, Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: Jeff Lieberman
Cast: Don Scardino, Patricia Pearcy, R.A. Dow
Length: 92 minutes
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