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The Lair of the White Worm [Import]

Amanda Donohoe , Hugh Grant , Ken Russell    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
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Wittily updated from one of Dracula author Bram Stoker's lesser-known horror novels, The Lair of the White Worm is a camp classic that only Ken Russell could have delivered. It's got all the perversity one expects from the bombastic director of Tommy and Altered States: sensible plotting, intelligent dialogue laced with double entendre, graphic imagery with Boschian intensity, and a mischievous disregard for good taste and decorum. In other words, it's heretically hilarious, especially when skeptical Lord D'Ampton (fresh-faced Hugh Grant, in one of his earliest films) begins to suspect that seductive neighbor Sylvia (Amanda Donohoe, game for anything) is connected to the local legend of a monstrous serpent that feeds on sacrificial virgins. Evidence mounts with the help of a local archaeologist (Peter Capaldi) and two endangered sisters (Catherine Oxenberg, Sammi Davis), and Russell infuses Stoker's grisly plot with his inimitable brand of blasphemy, including a gouged eyeball, a venom-splattered crucifix, Roman soldiers raping nuns (in a delirious hallucination sequence), and some of the funniest one-liners since Young Frankenstein. Prudes beware; everyone else…enjoy! --Jeff Shannon

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Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Comically bad Aug. 25 2011
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
In case you're wondering, "The Lair of the White Worm" has pretty much nothing to do with the Bram Stoker novel. They both have giant white snakes, and that's it.

It's also an incredibly ridiculous movie, with goofy acting, hilariously bad special effects, a bunch of dream sequences that are apparently there to fill up time, and the villain ends up being more hilarious than horrifying. It rockets right past "horrible" and into "so bad you can get together with your friends and laugh hysterically at it."

It takes place in a small British town that has local legends about a knight who slew a giant white "worm," and young Scottish archeologist Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi) just found a giant snake skull. At the same time, wealthy recluse Sylva Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) -- a weird snake-lady who likes to eat people, literally -- encounters local noble, Lord James D'Ampton (Hugh Grant).

Then Angus' landlady Eve Trent (Catherine Oxenberg) vanishes without a trace, and James suspects that the ancient evil Christ-hating snake has returned somehow. Now he and Angus must somehow save Eve (and her idiot sister Mary) from Sylvia in the lair of the white worm...

I think they must have made up "The Lair of the White Worm" as they went along, because this movie really has no story. People wander around, speculate about the snake, Sylvia bites a few people, and then some random people start lurching around with giant comical snake fangs. That's it. Nothing really builds up to anything else.

Eventually the filmmakers seem to have realized that their story HAS to end, so they slap together one of the most unintentionally funny climaxes EVER. Think a giant snake puppet, a hand being SLOWLY sawed off, and a crazy lady wearing a giant fake ivory penis.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Campy as hell July 6 2004
Format:DVD
but that's not necessarily a bad thing. This is typical Russell; weird non-fitting dreams, and definietly not enough violence, horror or sex when, here, it wouldn't be superfluous, but highly helpful in making the film better. The acting is interesting, to say the least. Worth a watch or two, but try to get a cheap used copy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bite me! Feb. 2 2004
Format:DVD
Yes, it's over-the-top! Yes, it's gorey and heretical but this only adds to the movie's drawing power. Both Hugh Grant and Amanda Donohoe are absolutely terrific in their performances. {Darn}can she be so scary and still so sexy, as in the scene where upon hearing a recording of a snake charmers music, she emerges from her wicker basket and sexily slithers across the room and out of the house, dressed in skin tight black leather (how else would a snake wear it's skin?). Another impressionable scene occurs when the lovely Catherine Oxenberg is ready to be fed to the white worm. The poor victim is hanging by her wrists over the lair and the half-serpentine Donohoe, nude and painted blue, doning yellow snake eyes is summoning up the serpent. If you're uptight or prudish, see something else. But if you enjoy a good campy scare with some gore and sexy imagery, don't miss this one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM Aug. 1 2002
Format:DVD
Based on a novel by Bram Stoker. Stars Hugh Grant, and the lovely Amanda Donohoe.
It's pretty "campy" which I usually don't like, but I DO like this movie.
Hugh Grant plays James D'Ampton, who returns to his ancestral castle in the English countryside. James' distant ancestor was said to have slayed a dragon, the white worm, who supposedly dined on the flesh of young virgins.
A legend that James immediately dismisses, but when a local amateur archaeologist discovers the huge skull of a reptile and what looks like a site of worship on James' property. It has James rethinking his original dismissal. Especially when his virginal & virtuous girlfriend, Eve, disappears.
James and the young archaeologist, Angus, decide to investigate the the dark cave, rumored to be the lair of the great white worm.
Living in the same small locality is the beautiful vamp Lady Sylvia Marsh, a so-called "snake watcher" Really a devotee of the snake deity. She wants to get her hands on the reptilian skull and make some "offerings" to the white worm.
She really has everyone in the village entranced, but James is able to resist her. He's very suspicious about her activities. And acting like a snake charmer, attempts to stymie her plans.
Donohoe is excellent as the sultry and dangerous Lady Sylvia . Her costumes, make-up and unique cars! are fabulous, lots of fun. :-)
The film contains some dream sequences involving extreme images of followers of the white worm (who worship the snake deity) in some kind of shocking ecstatic frenzy together with some nuns, and an image of Jesus. Filled with blood, nudity, suggestive activity & some pretty big phallic shaped objects! :-).. I wasn't offended by this, but some overly-prudish people might be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Surreal kink April 8 2002
Format:DVD
I found this movie to be FUN to watch, several times. It has a number of actors who stared in this film before they became big names in America. There is Catherine Oxenberg in her skivies, Amanda Donohoe painted and wearing- you'll have to watch it to see, Hugh Grant welding a sword as Lord of the manor and having a surreal dream,Sammi Davis looking plain (Stand-Ins), and that spactacular shot of Amanda aproching the skull of the Worm- when you see it you'll rewind to watch it again. The movie also has a danm good song, The Dampton Worm. All round a great watch.John.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars campy - cultish - keneth anger inspired - vampire erotica!
can you imagine pitching this film?...
'guys! i read this bram stoker story and i think it could make a great movie... hear me out. Read more
Published on Feb. 7 2002 by kitten
5.0 out of 5 stars Off beat Cult film!!!
Up front, NOT everyone will like this film. It's a Ken Russell film, after all. That said, if you are scared of snakes, have a religious bent or hate picked earthworms in aspec,... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2002 by Deborah MacGillivray
5.0 out of 5 stars Phallic Symbols Abound
As can be judged by the title this movie is grounded in sexual metaphor. Not that one needs to be reminded when viewing a Ken Russell film that the content is apt to have strong... Read more
Published on Oct. 10 2001 by M. James
3.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a satire!
Ken Russell does it again, flourishing as a genius of mondo-bizarro cinema! Here he engages us in a game of sorts, pulling us into the action as it writhes around on the screen... Read more
Published on May 12 2001 by "daveyboy1974"
5.0 out of 5 stars First rate fun and horror
I love this film, I love this film, I love this film! Ken Russell's campy sense of humour flourishes in this story, written by Stoker in the latter stages of an obscure brain... Read more
Published on April 16 2001 by Barbara Harman
4.0 out of 5 stars Can we stop on the way for a bite?
Some times legend is based on more than facts. And what you don't know may bite you.
I have to admit I did not read the book. Read more
Published on April 11 2001 by bernie
4.0 out of 5 stars Freudian field day
Before you put Ken Russell's "Lair Of The White Worm" in the player, you might want to shoo out any children, nervous adults or members of the clergy who may be hanging... Read more
Published on April 3 2001 by D. Hartley
4.0 out of 5 stars Cheesy, campy, trashy, outrageous
Very...strange film, and a little repulsive in places. What Amanda Donohoe, as the snake-lady thing, does to the Boy Scout in the bathtub might be considered just a little too... Read more
Published on March 31 2001 by R. Wallace
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