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

Short Summary: A delightful and very instructive little filmlet about the danger of dissing springs. A froglike middle-aged man, thwarted repeatedly in an attempt to fix a couch because of its springs -- and therefore missing his golf game -- cries to the very heavens, wishing that springs that never been invented. He has no idea of the gravity of this invocation. God opens a can of omnipotent whoop-ass on the unsuspecting man, sending his archangel Coily, the "spring sprite." Coily is an elfin fiend with a single sharp fang and the voice of a cartoon hillbilly grandpa. He tells Mr. Froggy that all right, he's got his wish, there are no more springs in the world. And just like that, they're gone. Coily, he can do magic things.
Mr. Froggy accepts this in stride, merely happy that he can now make his golf foursome. He never questions the whole order of the universe, in which there are apparently many small elf-devils who guard the integrity of certain very, very specific areas of creation. Or the perhaps even more bizarre alternative: that there is no God, there is no divinity, no order to things -- there is only Coily, and he is all-powerful, but for some reason he will never explain to us, all he cares about is springs and their reputation.
However, Coily goes on to show our lumpen hero the many reasons why springs are so vital in his life. Seems you can't do anything at all, truly not a blessed thing, without springs. Our man gets the message and begs Coily to restore the world's spring. Coily does it grudgingly, but the whole experience causes a massive conversion in Man-Frog: he becomes a zealot and spreads the Gospel of Springs to his golf buddies, prattling on non-stop during their game and their ride home about unbelievable importance of springs. Unfortunately, this list of spring facts (eg. springs make your liver run properly, cows couldn't give milk without springs, the name "Buddha" originally meant "chubby enlightened spring") constitutes about 90% of this short, leaving the fascinating Coily behind.

Movie summary: Hmm? What's that you say? Season 10 hasn't provided you with nearly enough movies set in the South? Well, we here at MST3K heard your complaints and happily offer SQUIRM, another movie about the whacky ways of Southern people!
Oh, and worms too. Lots of 'em.
A huge storm hits the town of Fly Creek, Georgia, downing power lines and electrifying its worms. Other worms might simply die from the shock, but these plucky Fly Creek worms become super-vicious and highly organized instead. And if that wasn't bad enough, a REAL horror -- a pasty, annoying antique dealer from up North -- visits the town to see his friend, an unbelievably Southern woman, another antique dealer. He has the hots for her, it seems, but his attention towards that and some extreme antiquing they'd planned is redirected once the wormies start to pop up. He becomes Nancy Drew and starts trying to solve the mystery of why so many of the townspeople seem to have been stripped of their flesh lately.
By the end, the whole dang town is swimming in animated vermicelli. And the filmmakers' use of millipedes and centipedes as worms gives this otherwise fine, credible, beautifully acted movie its only flaw, besides its thousands of others.

Prologue: Mike and the 'bots help Mike with the annual SOL safety check. Turns out Servo and Crow's various playful uses of the SOL's safety equipment have made the place into quite the little deathtrap!

Segment One: The fun safety check continues! But in a shocking development never seen before on MST3K, they are interrupted by Pearl calling. Down in Castle Forrester, Pearl is throwing the first annual Castle Forrester Fair! Her plan: to take over the world by swallowing up progressively larger fairs, culminating in the World's Fair!...and from there, of course, the world itself is just a tiny step. Classic Pearlian logic. She shows off the various wares and entertainments, including the evening's grandstand act: an authentic cardboard replica of Mr. Ben Murphy himself! She asks what the SOL is contributing to the fair.
Mike is at a loss until Servo and Crow haul in their prize 5000-pound pig, Winston. Mike hasn't noticed they've been raising him all this time.

Segment Two: Mike and the 'bots contemplate the cosmology of Coily, the spring sprite: is there a hellish sprite for every object in the universe? Crow tests this, wishing that there were no Mikes in the world. Sure 'nough, they get a visit from Mikey, the Mike sprite!

Segment Three: Servo has overdosed on Southern-ness and has become afflicted with Severe Southern Belleness. He's coquette-ish and flirty and waaaay south of the Mason-Dixon. Mike and Crow try to cure him by applying Yankee behavior modification, including Pepperidge Farm bread, a picture of George Steinbrenner, and pastrami injections.

Segment Four: Mike tries an experiment in creating an army of giant mutant killer worms. He fails. But he comes up with a brilliant (and quick!) way of making delicious fried worm snacks.

Segment Five: Crow dresses up as the lanky sister from the movie, with her very high platform shoes. All we can see is the platform of said shoes, however. And, being as it's Crow, and being as how he's up high, he of course falls, screaming as he goes. (Sing à la Topol:) Tradi-tion!
Back down at the Castle, Pearl is eager to demonstrate her newest addition to the fair, the bungee jump. Rather, she is eager to have Brain Guy demonstrate it. The problem: too much bungee and not enough jump. Brain Guy is pushed off the platform to an awkward fall, and then scooped up to be pushed off again before he knows what hit him. This is the show which should have proved definitely to Brain Guy that he does indeed have a body: he takes a real beating here in 1012.

Stinger: Worm-face guy, with a brilliant riposte: "You gon' be da worm face!"

Reflections: Ahh, shorts. Wonderful, delicious, nutritious shorts. Available in so many colors and sizes; so cool and aerating in the summertime...
Excuse me, got distracted. I meant film shorts. These were always some of my favorite bot fodder as an MST fan in the days of yore. I'd always wished we could do more of them while I was on the show. However, a little gem like
Spring Fever almost makes up for it. Granted, it devolves into a painful few last minutes of our amphibious protagonist simply yakking non-stop about the virtues of springs. But that is all worth it for our time with the small but great god Coily, defender of springs.
A bit of MSTory: This short was considered a bunch of times for the show, going way back. Those of you who've been watching the show for a while may remember show
317- Viking Women and The Sea Serpent, with its many waffle-based sketches. Segment 4 of that show was actually based on A Case Of Spring Fever: Servo ponders whether the world might not be a better place without waffles, and Crow as a waffle sprite of sorts shows him just how wrong he is. The short itself was never used, but it did inspire this waffle-y version.
Patrick Brantseg, who is far too modest about his considerable performing ability, was quite brilliant as the voice of Coily/Mikey, and kept us way entertained with it all week. Then we had to tell him to stop.
Squirm: As I may have already let on, the thought of yet another movie based in the South, and the attendant riffs there on, had me depressed when we started work on this - especially since we were quite aware of this being our penultimate show. But the worms provided at least a slightly new take, and the absence of Charles B. Pierce was a break as well.
One somewhat personal fact: The movie's "star" -- if such a term could ever be applied to anyone in this movie -- was Don Scardino, who was also in the family film Cruising with Al Pacino, something called
He Knows You're Alone in 1980 with a young; pre-iconic Tom Hanks; and who has in recent years also directed lots of prime-time TV such as Law and Order and Tracey Takes On. He also spent some time as the artistic director of Playwrights' Horizons Theater in N.Y., which has rejected a good many of my plays. So -- ha, Don Scardino! I made fun of your dumb worm movie! what I guess I have to say. So...there? I guess? (Hmm, that didn't feel as satisfying as I'd hoped...)
This is is my last bit of website fun. I want to thank you all for watching the show and supporting MST3K all these years. I was a very, very lucky man to have such a great job for a while. Sending out my best wishes to you all, and to my amazingly cool former comrades at Best Brains. And and the years roll by, my fellow sojourners, if you remember nothing else, I urge you to ponder this question posed by Buckingham: "Won't you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff?"
Won't you, won't you?
Thank you, friends. -- Bill Corbett.


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