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Sampo & Erhardt

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Visit our archives of the MST3K pages previously hosted by the Sci-Fi Channel's SCIFI.COM.

Goodbye Sci-Fi

Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett reflect on MST3K's final broadcast.

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Episode guide: 1012- Squirm (with short: ‘A Case of Spring Fever’)

1012s.jpg

Short: (1940) In a moment of weakness, a frustrated guy wishes springs never existed … a wish he soon regrets.
Movie: (1976) Electrically supercharged worms attack the residents of a remote Georgia town.

First shown: 8/1/99
Opening: The SOL’s annual safety check reveals a surprising lack of same
Intro: Pearl is throwing a Castle Forrester Fair, and Tom and Crow’s livestock entry surprises Mike
Host segment 1: Crow rashly wishes that Mike didn’t exist and, sure enough, Mikey the sprite appears to grant his wish and enforce Crow and Tom’s somewhat reluctant repentance
Host segment 2: Tom comes down with severe southern belleness
Host segment 3: Mike’s plan to create mutant killer worms instead results in a tasty snack
End: Crow takes a fall from his reeeally high platform shoes; Pearl forces Brain Guy demonstrate the fair’s bungee jump attraction, which has some flaws
Stinger: “You gon’ be da worm face!”
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (284 votes, average: 4.46 out of 5)

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• Well, this one is a lot of fun. The short, of course, is golden, just exactly what MST3K is all about. The short itself is great goofy fun and the riffing is top-notch. The movie keeps the momentum going with a watchable and actually kind of creepy little story, with plenty of flaws for the guys to pick at (bad acting, nerdy unlikeable hero; unsympathetic victims, etc., etc.). The host segments also keep things going, and if they’re not hilarious, they at least don’t outstay their welcome.
• Bill’s thoughts are here.
• This episode is included in Shout’s “MST3K: Volume XXXI.”
References.
• Where did they get that standee of Ben Murphy? Bet a fan sent it.
• In his comments, Bill confirmed what many people suspected: that this short had been kicking around BBI for years and was in fact the inspiration for the “Willie the Waffle” sketch way back in episode 317- VIKING WOMEN VS. THE SEA SERPENT.
• Fave riff in the short: “Guns, huh?”
• Many years ago, I mailed a copy of this short to the Springs Manufacturing Association in hopes they would reply with something funny to say about it, or might even know the history or background of the short. I never heard back.
• Callbacks: “Jeeeeeeed!” (The Leech Woman) “The monster called Gamera is destroying the city.”
• Naughty riff: “Mother! That’s private!” Also: “See? It’s not true that I can’t get wood.”
• That’s Patrick as Mikey and Mike’s Socksey.
• One of the things I noticed this time was the proliferation of Klan jokes. A few are appropriate but I think they may have overdone it.
• Obscure: “…letters from Der Weisse Engel…”
• In segment 3, when Mike says he’s “gotta make a rice a verms” he’s mocking the famous Bela Lugosi line from “Bride of the Monster” in which he talks about a “rice a pipple.”
• Also in that segment, notice that somebody was making the little worm wiggle.
• In a discussion of the worst cops, many folks singled out the icky sheriff as the worst or one of the worst. Boy howdy were they right. Wow, what a jerk.
• “Hank Hill’s friend” has a name. It’s Boomhauer. Did they not know or were they afraid people wouldn’t recognize it?
• Yet another credit bit: This time it’s earnestly answering the questions asked in the song.
• Cast and crew roundup: Special effects makeup guy Rick Baker also worked on “The Incredible Melting Man” and “Track of the Moon Beast.” That’s it.
• CreditsWatch: Directed by Kevin. For some reason Jeff Stonehouse was unavailable and someone named Kevin Galligan was the DP for this episode. Similarly, John Sims was not available and somebody named Clayton Hughes was the boom operator. Ed Dykhuizen and Sarah Lemanczyk were back as interns.
• Fave riff: “Lowly Worm’s worst day ever.” Honorable mention: “Kevin McHale, cross-dresser.”

167 Replies to “Episode guide: 1012- Squirm (with short: ‘A Case of Spring Fever’)”

  1. Torgover:
    When Crow says “Ever since I was a young boy, I played the silver ball.” as Alma, the sister, walks after Mick, what is it a reference to? I know it’s from “Pinball Wizard”, but don’t get it.

    It’s a reference to the movie version of Tommy, where Elton John played the pinball wizard and as mentioned, wore huge platform shoes.

    If you haven’t seen the movie version, count yourself lucky.

       2 likes

  2. Jeremy Zharkov: It’s a reference to the movie version of Tommy, where Elton John played the pinball wizard and as mentioned, wore huge platform shoes.
    If you haven’t seen the movie version, count yourself lucky.

    To wit, in both cases: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DthtDjhqVOU
    (…Ken Russell, the director who first made “Australian” an adjective. If you sat through “The Greatest Showman”, realize that when you finally get down to it, it’s all his fault.
    We’re lucky, the ref could have been to Ann-Margret rolling in baked beans.)

       0 likes

  3. Jason says:

    “Yeah, try it EIGHT MORE TIMES! Maybe it will work!”
    “Death by particle board.”

    I’m with Sampo – this episode is a lot of fun. I think the movie being better than the usual fare helps make it especially enjoyable. In the realm of B-movies, Squirm is a fairly respected flick, and its ocean-of-worms effect was actually referenced by Steven Spielberg during the Raiders of the Ark Lost story meetings as a reference point for the sheer volume of snakes he wanted present in the Well of the Souls sequence. It’s unfortunate that the Brains cut out (whether by choice or mandate) the movie’s “money shot” of the worms digging into Roger’s face, as it’s a nice effects job. Anyway, this would have been a strong episode without the short, but with it you’re looking at a home run.

    Host segments are decent. For some reason, a friend and I were so taken by Mary Jo’s tiny pause when she says “…The Fair!” that we quote the line all the time. Apparently Southern Belle Servo made a real impression on one of the folks behind Season 11, as he turned up again in an Episode 1101 host segment. I guess Beez had to recreate the outfit since the original was pawned off, and it seems like she had an easier time of it than with the Bobo outfit.

    By the way, I notice that Shout! never made this episode available for streaming, leading me to suspect they were only able to get DVD rights for the movie. This seems to be the case with the Universal episodes as well, which is too bad because I’d love the convenience of have Riding with Death as a VOD stream or better yet a Rifftrax download. I guess I could rip my own purchased disc, but it makes me feel dirty.

       2 likes

  4. Lisa H. says:

    docskippy: The effects would have been juicier

    Literally? Ewww.

       0 likes

  5. MonkeyPretzel says:

    Jason:

    Apparently Southern Belle Servo made a real impression on one of the folks behind Season 11, as he turned up again in an Episode 1101 host segment.I guess Beez had to recreate the outfit since the original was pawned off, and it seems like she had an easier time of it than with the Bobo outfit.

    Beez only did the costumes for the bots in Season 11. Costume Designer is Samantha Kuester, but I think there was input from other artists conceptually. (In other words, I don’t want poor Beez blamed for the bad yellow-looking Bobo mask!)

       1 likes

  6. yelling_into_the_void says:

    Old Timer in the diner (was that Mr. Beardsley?) barely gets through telling his story of the big storm from way back when. Another old timer starts in on his story, and another and another and then Mike and the bots start with the nonsensical rural-speak.

    I can’t be the only one who’s seen that IRL.

       1 likes

  7. Mr. Krasker says:

    yelling_into_the_void:
    Old Timer in the diner (was that Mr. Beardsley?) barely gets through telling his story of the big storm from way back when. Another old timer starts in on his story, and another and another and then Mike and the bots start with the nonsensical rural-speak.

    I can’t be the only one who’s seen that IRL.

    I also find it amusing that Old Timer forgets his line, and has to consult the script he has hidden in the newspaper.

       0 likes

  8. Torgover says:

    “It’s a reference to the movie version of Tommy, where Elton John played the pinball wizard and as mentioned, wore huge platform shoes.
    If you haven’t seen the movie version, count yourself lucky.”

    Alright, thanks!

       0 likes

  9. Lupe Vallejo says:

    There are a couple interesting claims made by director Jeff Lieberman on the film on the DVD unedited commentary. First, he claims the crawl that begins the movie explaining the plot was meant to be an indication to the audience that the film was to be taken as a goof and not be taken serious, so that riffing by MST was way off the point. Another, he claims that he actually hired Martin Sheen for the main role of Mick, but was replaced when they had creative differences. He says Kim Basinger auditioned for the role of Geri, and that Sylvester Stallone had his people constantly calling him for the role of Roger. Lieberman was claims he was upset not that they mock the film, but that the rights were sold at too low a price and it cheapened the worth of the film. I believe MST’s riffing of the film gave it a wider audience and far more attention.

       0 likes

  10. Mr. Krasker says:

    Lupe Vallejo:
    There are a couple interesting claims made by director Jeff Lieberman on the film on the DVD unedited commentary. First, he claims the crawl that begins the movie explaining the plot was meant to be an indication to the audience that the film was to be taken as a goof and not be taken serious, so that riffing by MST was way off the point. Another, he claims that he actually hired Martin Sheen for the main role of Mick, but was replaced when they had creative differences. He says Kim Basinger auditioned for the role of Geri, and that Sylvester Stallone had his people constantly calling him for the role of Roger. Lieberman was claims he was upset not that they mock the film, but that the rights were sold at too low a price and it cheapened the worth of the film. I believe MST’s riffing of the film gave it a wider audience and far more attention.

    These claims are definitely “interesting.”

       2 likes

  11. EricJ says:

    The Original EricJ: To wit, in both cases:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DthtDjhqVOU
    (…Ken Russell, the director who first made “Australian” an adjective.If you sat through “The Greatest Showman”, realize that when you finally get down to it, it’s all his fault.
    We’re lucky, the ref could have been to Ann-Margret rolling in baked beans.)

    Oh come on EricJ, where’s your spunk?

       1 likes

  12. littleaimishboy says:

    Mr. Krasker: These claims are definitely “interesting.”

    “”Interesting””? Hell, they’re “fascinating” …

       1 likes

  13. Ray Dunakin says:

    littleaimishboy: “”Interesting””?Hell, they’re fascinating …

    “Hilarious” is the word I’d use.

       2 likes

  14. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    EricJ: Oh come on EricJ, where’s your spunk?

    Do you realize what you just said?

       1 likes

  15. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    OFF-TOPIC
    OFF-TOPIC
    OFF-TOPIC

    Would sending the Brains (either set, Rifftrax or the Mads) a copy of a movie that one would like to see riffed have the potential to accomplish anything at all? I mean, suggestions are one thing but metaphorically putting the movie right into their hands is another.

    Obviously, I have minus-zip idea of the factors that allow the Brains to riff some films but forbid them from riffing others…but it couldn’t hoit. ;-)

    To any and all who offer a reasonable facsimile of an informed response, I thank you.

    OFF-TOPIC
    OFF-TOPIC
    OFF-TOPIC

       1 likes

  16. touches no one's life, then leaves says:

    “No worms were harmed in the making of this film, huh?”

    WeatherServo9:
    I know there’s no nudity or profanity or even overt violence, but ewwwwwwwwwwww.

    Considering some examples of the seventies, if the film had included nudity, your reaction might well have been identical…

    Howard:
    Really?I’m too young (at 44) to have seen much LITB so I wouldn’t know this

    Considering its firm presence in syndication, I don’t see how it’s possible for anyone to be over ten yet too young to have seen much Leave It to Beaver. ;-)

    Dan in WI:
    I need to second those who love when Mike makes a discovery about the satellite he’s lived on for years now. Of course there is a silo. There looks like two of them laying on their side as the whole center section of the SOL. Then Crow caps it off with a “do you even live here?” when Mike inquires about the feed lot. Mike’s response “I thought so” finishes this off nicely.

    Someone — it might even have been me but I’m genuinely not sure — theorized that Crow added the silo et cetera at some point during the five hundred years he lived on the Satellite without Mike and the other Bots. Thus, when they returned, Crow apprised Tom and Gypsy of the changes but because Crow initially didn’t remember Mike having lived on the Satellite before, he didn’t similarly apprise Mike under the presumption that it was ALL new to Mike. Crow left Mike in the dark and he never really quite emerged…

    Which only shows that Corbett-Crow was trouble right from the start. :-|

    Creeping-Death:
    Crow: So Coily waited all eternity for this moment and he backs down almost instantly?

    Seems like Crow’s making quite a few presumptions there…

    jjb3k:
    Yet as much as I enjoy the two leads, I have to admit I always go “You idiot!” when Mick leaves Geri alone in the boat with Roger. Roger reminds me of Jesse from The Girl in Lover’s Lane – obviously a deranged rapist/murderer, yet nobody seems to think he’s dangerous for some reason. Any fool with eyeballs and a working brain can tell this creep is bad news.

    Pretty much all Mick knew about Roger was that Geri had known him for a long time and she seemed to trust him (unless I’m wrong). What reason did Mick have to second-guess her?

    Ang:
    This one is definitely in my top five! I’m Southern and while I should probably be miffed at those Yanks for making fun of us, it’s too funny not to laugh :). Seriously though I love the Southern/Texas jokes (I’m a Texan) as they usually are very funny.

    Texas and The South are entirely different concepts. A Texan would know that.
    ;-)

    JC:
    “I’ll randomly nail up plywood.”

    Sure, why not? Worked in Night of the Living Dead. Oh, wait, it didn’t…

    JC:
    “Argh. I’m a pirate. Argh.”

    Callback to The She-Creature?

    JC:
    “Death by particle board!”

    Particle Board
    Particle Board
    Doin’ the things
    a …

    JC:
    “I accidentally married one of the sheep.”

    ‘S really awkward, too, because he was engaged to a pig.

    A theoretical “improvement” on a riff from Riding with Death:

    “Yep. Married to a sheep, cheatin’ with a goat.”

    Cornjob:
    Finally, what was the deal with the sister’s shoes. Beyond the fact that she could barely walk in them, is that really muddy terrain wear?

    In some parts of the South, ALL clothes are muddy terrain wear. Like it or not…

       1 likes

  17. Terry the Sensitive Knight says:

    touches no one’s life, then leaves: and she seemed to trust him

    “I’m charmed by your creepiness!”

       1 likes

Comments are closed.