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Lair Of The White Worm (art)

3.9 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An English nobleman links a skull and a dragon legend to a vampire temptress. Directed by Ken Russell. From Bram Stoker's novel.

Amazon.com

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

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Writers: Ken Russell, Bram Stoker
  • Producers: Ken Russell, Dan Ireland, Ronaldo Vasconcellos, William J. Quigley
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: August 19, 2003
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00009YXHG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,225 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lair Of The White Worm (art)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This one was despised by the serious critics, but all that means is that they weren't weird enough to enjoy it. All right, it's trash. But it's great trash. It's my idea of a feel-good movie. It's kinky, erotic, scary, and funny. And bright. Literally. After zillions of creepy, dark, scary scenes in movies, the sunshine and well-lit rooms in this one emphasize the horror scenes. But who cares about the lighting? It's main attraction is an over-the-top performance by Amanda Donohoe as a very bad girl. Upper-crust Hugh Grant and his cohorts have a lot of fun trying to evade her slithery grasp. That's about all you need to know. But for heaven's sakes, don't take it seriously. If you hate it, you'll really hate it.
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By A Customer on May 12, 2001
Format: DVD
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 before us. It draws us in, taking every ounce of Donohoe's performance into our jealously campy hearts. You can't help but completely fall in love with every perforamce presented here, but Amanda Donohoe is fabulous!!! Complete with monstrous white worms lurking in caves, vampire cults, blood and gore, sword play, Hugh Grant at his campy best (outshining even the likes of Rupert Everett) and a satirical director at the top of his form. Lair of the White Worm is a masterpiece, a hidden gem that must be given serious reconsideration!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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, then this film is NOT for you!! Amanda Donahoe turns out a stunning performs as the Lady who is not a lady. Hugh Grant (before he was HUGH Grant) is perfect as Lord D'Ampton. A mystery, a horror with vampire tones, Russell crafts a winning hommage to old Hammer Films, and boldly goes where they rarely did, and adds the dash of droll humour to top off the mix.
Russell's best film!! But as I said, NOT everyone will appreciate it.
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Format: DVD
Lair of the White Worm is originally a story by Bram Stoker (author of Dracula) and the book is really worth reading. It is based on an old folk tale, adapted by many different authors, of how a giant worm (dragon) was slain by a knight. In one story the knight clad himself in a plate mail of spikes and when the worm tried to crush him, it killed itself.
The movie (and book) takes place several hundred years later when the Lord James D'Ampton (Hugh Grant), grandchild of the knight who slew the worm, returns to his castle at the same time as an old skull, of unknown species is found by an archeology student (Peter Capaldi). At the same time a mysterious lady (Amanda Donohoe) arrives from her travels abroad. And people start to disappear.
The story is good, the actors are excellent, the filming is beautiful, but the special effects sometimes leaves something to wish for. One has to remember that this is Ken Russel directing which means spooky dream sequences, some weird camery angles and characters that are a bit too much - in a good way. This is also true for the dialogue. Hugh Grant is simply perfect as the snobbish lord that has set his mind to destroy the new D'Ampton-worm and with Amanda Donohoe as the evil worm-cultist, sexy and manipulating at once, things couldn't be better.
A Ken Russel-fan will definitely love this one, so will any one that has liked Sam Raimi's (Evil Dead) movies, even if this hasn't got as much gore). So will also anyone who likes their horror with an ironic touch. Anyone that wants the standard version of Hollywood Horror should choose another one.
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Format: VHS Tape
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 about your media room. Russell nearly outdoes himself (and that's saying a lot!) with this 1988 horror-thriller-black comedy. With tongue planted firmly in cheek (and snake planted firmly in lair), Russell mixes a modern-day "Saint George vs the dragon" story with elements of classic vampire films. Amanda Donohue, in an a fearless, camped-up performance, makes for a very sexy, slinky and naughty serpentine siren (It's a long way from "lizard's lair" to "L.A. Law", baby!). Peter Capaldi (the mermaid's bumbling suitor in "Local Hero") plays it straight as a bagpipe-wielding archeologist, and a pre-Hollywoodized Hugh Grant portrays a manor-born uppercrust type (there's a stretch) who may or may not be a direct descendent of a real "wormslayer". As with most Ken Russell offerings, there is much here to offend the uptight and/or pious, but much to amuse those who revel in the off-beat.
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By Brian on February 25, 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This review is of the streamed version with no extras.
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.
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