REVIEWED
9/5/04

STORY



LOOK

The Lair of the White Worm
Director: Ken Russell
Year: 1988
TRT: 1:33


While Altered States had some intriguing-enough ideas despite its odd theologies and questionable drug pandering, this is pretty much the signal for the end of anything good from Russell. And it ain't even that good. I apparently missed the book by Bram Stoker which this film is based on. And after this, I don't have much desire to search it out.

A nerdy Scot digs up a strange skull in an England countryside backyard. A sexually deviant woman (who has a thing for snakes) and Hugh Grant get involved in this whole Christianity vs Paganism kinda deal. It's not really worth describing in much more detail because the story plays out in such a simplistic manner it's what justifies calling this a "horror" movie. But, alas, it really isn't. Rather silly, actually, when it isn't utterly droll.

There's a couple of decent comic moments amidst the "intrigue" unravelled by the Scot and the Mug (Grant). It's pretty fuckin cheezy, and unfortunately most of the "vision" segments are almost identical in nature and style to the film Russell shot 8 fucking years earlier. Plus the finale sequence in the cave is so wrought with ill effects you can't help but laugh and shake your head. Like Carrie Ann Moss in The Matrix? You'll love the original that the Wa-chode-ski brothers stole her look from in Amanda Donohoe playing Lady Sylvia Marsh.

Great Scene: Grant is actually not bad in this when you excuse his huge leaps in logic to further the plotline. Great singularly scary moment when his power goes out and is attacked by a giant leech. Well, okay, it's not a giant leech but I don't want to ruin it for the few hapless patrons who are sitting in a bus station one night and this is the only thing coming in on the quarter-operated television set bolted to the chair. Do they even have those anymore? They probably should. Otherwise nobody else is going to see this film.

DVD Notes: Bare-bones edition put out by Artisan. Chapter selection. That's it.