The Worm Eaters (1977) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski), with reader response

I have to admit that I am lost on this project. I just don't know what to say. This is a project that was produced by the legendary Ted V Mikels, who gave the world Girl in Gold Boots and The Doll Squad. But there are two things which distinguish this film from those two: 


 1. Those two intended to be drama, but are so cheesy and illogical that they make great unintentional comedies. The Worm Eaters tries to be funny. Failed comedy is, by definition, not funny, because if it were funny it would not be a failure.

2. Mikels didn't actually do much on this project. It was written by, directed by, and stars a triple-threat guy named Herb Robins. In fact, on the scale of triple-threat talents, Herb is up there with Orson Welles - except for the minor issue that Welles' three talents were actually in the fields of writing, acting, and directing, while Herb's were probably concentrated more in the types of skills that can be learned from schools where the application is on a matchbook cover.

The plot: 

An old German guy can communicate to worms. Greedy land developers threaten to take his property. He exacts Old Testament worm-related revenge on his enemies. 

The End.

There you have it: the Citizen Kane of wormniverous entertainment.

Despite the fact that he had nothing to do with the movie, however, Ted Mikels provides what must be a truly expert feature-length commentary. I say "must be" rather than "is" because I'm not going to watch this again just to hear his incisive comments. I'm willing to give him "the benefit of the doubt", which is something I consider even more important than "partial credit", and which can be used as actual currency in any country in Europe where they say "ai-yi-yi" when they screw up.

But this movie is bad. Sum it all up as follows. Girl in Gold Boots is considered the 29th worst movie of all time by IMDb members, and this movie is far, far worse! This makes Girl in Gold Boots seem like Lawrence of Arabia.

Imagine a Troma Comedy. Now imagine if a bunch of high school kids got the script from that Troma comedy and decided to put it on as a school play. The most amazing thing about this movie is that nearly every character shouts every line - except for Herb Robins himself. He mumbles instead. 


Dear Scoop,

I enjoyed your review of "The Worm Eaters" and thought you might like to know that Herb Robins is actually a quadruple talent, going Orson Welles one better.  It might not mention this on the DVD (and is there anything more ludicrous than the idea of a DVD of "The Worm Eaters?"  What's on the commentary track, the sounds of gagging and retching?), but this film was nominated for an award.  In Harry and Michael Medved's book, "Son of Golden Turkey Awards," it was nominated for "Worst Promotional Gimmick In Hollywood History."  The gimmick, and Robins' talent #4?  Why, worm-eating, of course!  I quote from the book:

"In order to win suitable attention for this epicurean epic, the producer and director traveled along with the film and staged a series of stunts described in the  press as 'too outrageous to top.'  In Kansas City, director-star Herb Robins stood in front of television cameras and hundreds of onlookers, and then proceeded to gobble down four eight-inch-long 'Canadian night crawlers' while producer Ted Mikels got away with only two. Meanwhile, Howard Hall, manager of a local bar, outdid them both by consuming eight of the wriggling critters -- all of which had been specially imported by the Minnesota Worm and Fly Company.  This event proved such a success that the producers later staged a worm-eating contest in Las Vegas and offered free admission to anyone who ate a worm before entering the theater."

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.78:1

  • Full-length commentary by the producer

I guess people who would eat 99-cent shrimp cocktails wouldn't blanche at swallowing a worm.

Sadly, all their protein ingestion was for naught, since the Golden Turkey Award went to Won-Ton-Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood, thanks to the dog's many public appearances during which he immediately got an erection whenever the TV cameras were turned on him, much like Bill Clinton. Robins and Mikels were left to cry, "Nobody likes us, everybody hates us, why don't we eat some... oops, nevermind.  Been there, done that."

Just thought you'd like to know.

Pat Reeder
The Comedy Wire

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online. Although it was made in 1977, Pauline Kael seems to have inadvertently omitted it from her coverage of that era.. 

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it a surprisingly high 4.5. It should be approximately half that.
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a low F.

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