Lair Of The White Worm [Blu-ray]
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Bram Stoker's last novel is the basis for this wild tale of a horrific beast and the evil forces it unleashes on the beautiful English countryside.
Vestron Video has been a leader in providing the most unique and wide-ranging selection of films. We honor the spirit of Vestron Video by presenting the Vestron Video Collector s Series - a line of classic genre films newly remastered and with a wealth of supplementary features. --Lionsgate
2 AUDIO COMMENTARIES: Director Ken Russell; Lisi Russell, in conversation with Film Historian Matthew Melia
''Worm Food: The Effects of THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM'' Featurette
''Cutting for Ken'' Interview with Editor Peter Davies
''Mary, Mary'' Interview with Actress Sammi Davis
''Trailers from Hell'' featuring Producer Dan Ireland
Still Gallery --Lionsgate
Top customer reviews
Featuring a winning ly campy performance from Amanda Donahue and turns by 80's icon Catherine Oxenberg and Sammi Davis, if you enjoy Russell's unconventional mix of horror and camp (the best description of this I can muster is Hammer meets campy excessive approach of Russell) , this film is for you.
The transfer looks quite nice with solid depth, detail although I felt,the color's could have been a bit less muted. The dream imagery of Russell here tends to be a bit soft but that has more to do with the way it was shot and the use of visual effects. The film is free of damage audio sounds quite nice with a solid mo o presentation. SDH for the hard of hearing are included in English as well.
The special features truly make this shine. We get a commentary from the late director along with a second commentary track from Russell's wife and film historian Matthew Melia. Featurettes include "Worm Food: The Effects of 'The Lair of the White Worm'" plus interviews with the film's editor, actress Sammi Davis, a still gallery, the original theatrical trailer and "Trailers from Hell" .
LIONSGATE and Vestron video do a fine job of bringing the film to Blu-Ray.
For me, Ken Russell seems to go one of two ways. Awesome! (Tommy, The Devils) or "Can I please have those two hours back?" (Crimes of Passion, Listzomania, Altered States) While I haven't seen all of his films and some of the above I saw in original release, I must say that what I have seen has only fallen into one of those two categories, that is everything I had seen, until I saw this film. I would give this film 5 stars for the first 2/3 and one star for the last 1/3.
Russell goes back to what he is very good at, portraying life in England in the back countries. This film is based on Bram Stoker's original novel, one which also has a major case of schizophrenia. People either loved it or hated it. The source material seems to lead up to something and then drop it. Stoker was dying when he wrote this (some say drug addicted) and it isn't as powerful and masterly as some of his other work. This means that when you adapt it for the screen, you need to smooth the rough edges out and not go down an alley that you don't intend to explore. Russell does seem to avoid many of the pitfalls of adapting such a book.
Four of the five leads are quite solid but Catherine Oxenberg was a poor choice here. While there are some very brief indications of what the film-makers apparently saw when she was cast, one wishes she would have brought it the entire movie.
While Hugh Grant, Sammi Davis and Peter Capaldi have the standard, "Gee, whiz! Something odd is going on here. Let's figure it out." roles, they all bring a bit of quirkiness to those roles. It is easy to see why Hugh Grant has had a satisfying career and odd that the other two are more obscure.
But what truly brings this movie above the 'Expensive Hammer Movie' is Amanda Donohoe's performance as Lady Sylvia. It isn't often that women get to be so deliciously evil. (Imagine a female version of Tim Curry from Rocky Horror Picture Show to get an idea) But for some reason at about 2/3 of the way through the movie, she stops chewing scenery and the movie takes a rocket sled down. At the first confrontation between her and Lord D'Ampton (Hugh Grant) she makes a joke that falls flat and pretty much from there, Lady Sylvia seems to go as flat as the joke. she never goes back to being the woman who delights in being evil. (There is one flash towards the end where she reveals she was wearing earplugs) Usually in a Hammer Horror film, The last quarter is where the actor turns it up, but for no apparent reason, she seems to turn it down. Of course, the hope is that since during the entire ending, she is nude to the waist, people will forget how poorly done the ending is.
The couple of dream sequences mentioned in other reviews are quite short and it might be more interesting had there been some explanation for them through continued dream sequences at the end.
This leads to several loose ends that really need tying up. 1) The four protagonists seem to have loosely paired up, but there really aren't any developments of those relationships (Which is odd for a director who is quite known for exploring male/female relationships through Women In Love) 2) A short reference is made to an incident in the original book where Lady Sylvia was bitten by a snake and in a coma for 8 days. (In the book, she was a normal child up to that point, but after being bitten, is part snake.) It might have been worthwhile to explore that through the film (Stoker didn't explore farther either) 3) There really isn't much in the way of what Lady Sylvia expects the sacrifice to do. Is she planning to control the world? A small corner of England? What does she expect? 4) The women are running a boarding house and often need to make tea, supper, etc for the boarders, but we never see even ONE of them. What's up with that?
The ending feels tacked on. People who are bitten by Lady Sylvia fall under her power and become snakes too. Angus (Peter Capaldi) has extracted some of the venom and had a local laboratory make an anti-venom. He injects himself and manages to save the day. He is back at the boarding house and they are going to go get the ladies when the phone rings. It is the lab telling him that they accidentally gave him the wrong thing, that he didn't get anti-venom at all. He gets into the car, They start to drive off, when Hugh Grant notices a cut on his leg. Strange looks between them and The End. I'm sorry, but this is one of the five worst ways to end a movie, book , etc. It's right up there with the "It was all a dream." ending.
So a little more work, this could have been one of Mr Russell's master works. Unfortunately, it is now middling. Sorry, but that seems to be his style.
Most recent customer reviews
Lair of the white worm was Bram stoker's last Book before he died...Read more