“Oh, good! So you’ve taken to our local specialty. Pickled earthworms in aspic is not to everyone’s taste, I can tell you.” By the way, aspic is a savory jelly made with meat stock, set in a mold, and used to contain pieces of meat, seafood, eggs, or, apparently, earthworms. Sound better now? Join your faithful Grue-Crew – Crystal Cleveland, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they take a trip into the bizarre world of Ken Russell’s The Lair of the White Worm (1988).
Decades of Horror 1980s
Episode 194 – The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
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When an archaeologist uncovers a strange skull in a foreign land, the residents of a nearby town begin to disappear, leading to further inexplicable occurrences.IMDb
- Writer/Director: Ken Russell
- Adapted from the novel by: Bram Stoker
- Selected Cast
- Hugh Grant as Lord James D’Ampton
- Amanda Donohoe as Lady Sylvia Marsh
- Catherine Oxenberg as Eve Trent
- Peter Capaldi as Angus Flint
- Sammi Davis as Mary Trent
- Stratford Johns as Peters
- Paul Brooke as Ernie
- Imogen Claire as Dorothy Trent
- Chris Pitt as Kevin
- Gina McKee as Nurse Gladwell
- Christopher Gable as Joe Trent
The Lair of the White Worm is Crystal’s pick, but alas, she was unavailable and we had to go ahead without her. Chad’s first impression is along the lines of, “It’s a Ken Russell movie alright.” It starts with finding a skull in the field and just keeps getting weirder and weirder and more phallic and weirder and more phallic and… Bill is a big fan of Russell’s Altered States (1980) and loves this weird, 1980s slice of Ken Russell with its neat, little take on the legend of the Lampton Worm (D’Ampton Worm, get it?). In his view, the best thing about The Lair of the White Worm is Amanda Donahoe. Sammi Davis’s performance was an unexpected treat for Jeff and he loved the commonsense approach to fighting the “snake people.” Rather than a high priest reading an incantation from a volume of forgotten lore, the film’s heroes resort to snake-charming with a bagpipe, followed by releasing a mongoose and throwing a hand grenade, both having been hidden in Angus’s (Peter Capaldi) sporran.
If you’re in the mood for some Ken Russell bizarre hallucinations/dream sequences, gratuitous nudity, and what-the-f***ery, The Lair of the White Worm should be just the ticket. At the time of this writing, The Lair of the White Worm is available to stream on Amazon Prime and a variety of other free-with-ads or PPV services, as well as on physical media as a Blu-ray from Vestron Video and Lionsgate.
Every two weeks, Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1980s podcast will cover another horror film from the 1980s. The next episode’s film, chosen by Chad, will be Neon Maniacs (1986). Here on Decades of Horror 1980s, we do love films with “maniac” in the title.
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