Short: A Case Of Spring Fever:
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.
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.
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.
— Bill Corbett
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
The fun safety check continues! But in a shocking development
never seen before on MST3K, they are interrupted by Pearl
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
+ lb. pig, Winston. Mike hasn't noticed they've been raising him
all this time.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Worm-face guy, with a brilliant riposte: "You gon' be da worm
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
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.
Regarding 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!...is 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