“The Lair of the White Worm” Review

13 January, 2017

Year of Release: 1988
Director: Ken Russell
Screenwriter: Ken Russell
Director of Photography: Dick Bush
Cast: Hugh Grant, Amanda Donohoe, Peter Capaldi

Synopsis: A Scottish archaeology student discovers a strange artefact and soon uncovers a weird and wonderful legend pertaining to a creature trapped inside a local cave.

The Lair of the White Worm Review:

An unsurprisingly bonkers interpretation of its original source material, “The Lair of the White Worm” might feel like a long-winded opening to an old-school porn movie but it’s a film with hilarious intentions as Bram Stoker and Ken Russell prove to be a match made in heaven in spite of the fact that Russell finds it impossible to stick to a basic plot. The film utilises phallic, psychosexual imagery in the most outlandish manner as the director finds a way to insert sex references into everything he possibly can; even going as far as to clothe his villainous temptress in a plethora of reptilian outfits.

While it’s funny to watch Russell fawn over the alluring Amanda Donohoe, who steals the show as the serpentine Lady Sylvia Marsh. It’s still a shame that the titular worm isn’t given more screen time, although his limited appearance is often forgotten as we are presented with a number of eccentric scenarios all involving Lady Marsh worshipping the snake god like her life depends on it.

It’s impossible not to root for the villains here as the band of ‘good guys’ mostly consist of a bunch of low-grade television performers. Hugh Grant’s presence only adds to the bizarreness of the whole set-up as his usual fumbling manner makes it difficult to figure out where the comedic intention begins and ends. “The Lair of the White Worm” is a seductive and strange B-movie and, despite going a little overboard in places, it fits right into Ken Russell’s already bonkers filmography like a well-tailored suit.



Review Date
The Lair of the White Worm