SyFy is taking on the Mongolian death worm in the creatively-titled horrible horror flick ‘Mongolian Death Worms’. The Syfy movie will star Sean Patrick Flanery of ‘Boondock Saints’ and ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’ fame as the flimsy film’s hero, trying to avoid baddies and being devoured by the Mongolian death worms while attempting to find the ancient tomb they are guarding (you can see a video clip from the movie here). So how does Mongolian death worm in the movie compare to the legend? And is there a chance that this Syfy movie will actually be good?
The “Real” Mongolian Death Worm
According to legend, the “real” Mongolian death worm is described as a “large intestine worm” by Mongolians (referring to its appearance, which resembles the intestine of a cow). The Mongolian death worm of cryptozoology is bright red in color, wide-bodied, and 2 to 5 feet long. The legend of the Mongolian death worm was first brought to the attention of Westerners by a professor who had visited the Gobi desert in the 20’s, skeptically listening to the locals’ tales of a terrifying creature that can spray a corrosive, sulfuric acid-like substance and kill from a distance using electricity. According to legend, the Mongolian death worm hibernates underground, becoming active for just a few months during the summer. Locals believed that even simply touching it could cause instant death.
The Syfy ‘Mongolian Death Worms’
The Syfy version of the Mongolian Death Worm, however, is much larger, being about twice as long as a man and very wide (they kind of resemble large grub worms or the worm at the bottom of the Tequila bottle). In the video clip they use neither electricity or acid to kill, instead shooting out a long, tentacle-like tongue that they use to snatch and slurp up their victims. They are portrayed as traveling underground and popping up unexpectedly (kind of like the graboids in ‘Tremors’, a movie that made me terrified to walk anywhere as a child), and according to the movie’s premise, they are awoken by an oil company searching for liquid gold in the area (wow, a horror movie with an environmental message).
Could the Mongolian death worm be real?
I highly doubt that the Mongolian death worms are real in the way that they are described by Gobi locals, since it seems impossible for a living thing to be able to spit such a corrosive substance (how could its body store the deadly, acidic liquid?). However it could be possible that they spit some sort of venom. And as far as the deadly electrical charge, eels are another animal capable of killing or injuring using electricity. The Mongolian death worm supposedly can use electricity from a distance to kill, but perhaps this could be explained by the fact that they are reportedly seen often when it has rained (maybe they use large water puddles to conduct electricity). Explanations on what the Mongolian death worm could actually be include a land-based electrical eel, a legless lizard, or a spitting snake that has been exaggerated through the telling of tall tales. Numerous expeditions and investigators have searched the Gobi desert for evidence of the Mongolian death worm, but so far all they’ve returned with are the same old legends.
Worms can get really, really big
‘Lost Tapes’, a mockumentary show on ‘Animal Planet’ that uses shaky, amateur-looking video to create realistic cryptid encounters, focused on the Mongolian death worm in one episode (you can see a video clip from ‘Lost Tapes’ here). The video points out that there are disturbingly large worms in the world, including the harmless Giant Gippsland earthworm, which can grow as long as 13 feet. So it is at least possible for a worm as large as the Mongolian death worm to exist.
Is there any chance Syfy’s ‘Mongolian Death Worms’ will be any good?
I highly doubt that anyone will consider Syfy’s ‘Mongolian Death Worms’ one of the best horror movies they’ve ever seen, but this ridiculous cross between the Indiana Jones movies and ‘Tremors’ should provide plenty of riff-tastic CGI guts for those of us spending a Saturday night at home alone. Just be forewarned: giant underground worms might make you wish you were sleeping a few stories higher.