Created by Toby Paton, The Pitch 2023

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This dark, stylish horror-noir tells the story of Henry, a pillar of the local community, who murders his secret lover, Ada, but suffers a terrible punishment for his crime. The film opens with Henry burying Ada’s body in the woods. As he digs her grave we see worms writhing ominously in the mud. Next day, at a charity event Henry has organised people praise him for his kindness and generosity. He accepts this praise, but finds a worm crawling on his jacket. He brushes it off, squashing it contemptuously. Concern grows about Ada’s whereabouts. Henry lies, saying she had been in trouble and he had offered to help but she refused. Henry is again praised for his kindness. When he looks down he sees worms crawling over his foot and up his trouser leg. Worms begin to plague him everywhere – crawling out of the sink, under his bedroom door. In terrified visions Henry relives his crime - Ada was going to confess to his wife, so he killed her. Henry unravels, but he never repents. As worms finally consume him in a seething mass Ada rises above him like a vengeful angel and he knows that he is doomed.

Biblical Connection

This film is based on the story of Herod Agrippa, Acts 12 - Herod orders the murder of James the apostle. Later, as Herod speaks, a crowd of adoring subjects say, "This is the voice of a god", and Herod does not correct them. In response “an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.” The image of a man being eaten alive by worms is truly horrific, like many punishments meted out in the bible – from the drowning of sinners in the great flood to the destruction of Sodom with fire and burning sulphur. Worms explores divine retribution through the experience of an unrepentant sinner, putting us inside his head as he confronts the horror of his actions, and their inescapable consequences. By imagining what death by worms might have been like for Agrippa, Worms uses the bible story to explore wider themes of justice and guilt. Juxtaposing our satisfaction at seeing a sinner get his comeuppance, with the horror we feel watching him suffer, raises questions about how a loving God could inflict such suffering, and shines new light on Romans 6:23 - ‘the wages of sin is death.’