The Metropol Viewing Room presents: The Lair of the White Worm
The Lair of the White Worm (England, 1988) is a vampire tale in only the most vague sense, directed by the always weird Ken Russell from his adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel by the same name. The film is about an often naked half-human, half-snake immortal named Lady Sylvia (played by Amanda Donahoe) who comes back to her springtime home in England to sacrifice some locals to her god, the titular White Worm, Dionin.
The locals we focus on here are a visiting archaeology student, the two sisters who run a bed and breakfast near Lady Sylvia's home, and the newly titled Lord D'Ampton, here played by Hugh Grant, whose predecessor once slew a great white worm back in the day.
This is one of those movies that has circled me for years as a classic non-traditional vampire film. I just never actually rented it until now, mostly because I am familiar with Ken Russell's work (Salome's Last Dance and Altered States) and he makes my brain hurt. His films are wonderfully visual with striking colours, but for some reason just never really appealed to me, though I did think Altered States was brilliant. This is yet another in a long line of beautiful Russell films that just don't express anything important to me.
As for the film itself, it's laughably bad, but I do think that was Russell's intention. Hugh Grant and Amanda Donahoe seem to be having a grand ol' time with the material while the other main actors (Catherine Oxenberg and Sammi Davis as the sisters and Peter Capaldi as the archaeologist) look like they want to enjoy themselves as much as Grant and Donahoe, but just can't seem to muster it up.
I've never read the novel upon which this was based, but I'm guessing that about 99.9% of the film is out of Ken Russell's mind and the rest is from Stoker's novel, plus or minus .1% although it's less graphically sexual than most of Russell's work and considering how many white worm ritual phalli there are and how often Amanda Donahoe is naked, this is quite a statement.
This wasn't a good movie and I don't really know why it's been recommended to me for years. So, now you know.