The Lair of the White Worm (film)
|The Lair of the White Worm|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ken Russell|
|Produced by||Dan Ireland
William J. Quigley
|Screenplay by||Ken Russell|
|Based on||the novel by Bram Stoker|
|Music by||Stanislas Syrewicz|
|Editing by||Peter Davies|
|Distributed by||Vestron Pictures|
|Release dates||14 September 1988|
|Running time||93 min.|
|Box office||$1,189,315 (US)|
The Lair of the White Worm is a 1988 British horror film based loosely on the Bram Stoker novel of the same name and drawing upon the English legend of the Lambton Worm. The film was written and directed by Ken Russell and stars Amanda Donohoe and Hugh Grant.
Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi), a Scottish archaeology student excavating the site of a convent at the Derbyshire bed and breakfast run by the Trent sisters, Mary (Sammi Davis) and Eve (Catherine Oxenberg), unearths an unusual skull which appears to be that of a large snake. He tries to find the local legend of the d'Ampton "worm", a mythical snake slain in Stonerich Cavern by John d'Ampton, the ancestor of current Lord of the Manor, James d'Ampton (Hugh Grant).
When the pocket watch of the Trent sisters' father, who disappeared a year earlier near Temple House, the stately home of Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe), is found miles away in Stonerich Cavern, James thinks the legendary creature may still be alive deep beneath the cavern.
The enigmatic Lady Sylvia is the immortal priestess to the snake god Dionin, which, as James suspected, survives beneath the house in the caves which connect with Stonerich Cavern. She steals the skull and later abducts Eve to be the latest sacrificial offering to her god, but her actions are discovered and James with the help of Angus manages to rescue Eve and destroy both Sylvia and the worm; but the two are both contaminated, and so will be carrying on the snakelike vampiric condition.
- 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 movie was made as part of a four-picture deal Russell and producer Dan Ireland had with Vestron Pictures. 1986's Gothic had been a big success on video and Vestron told Ireland that if Russell could come up with a horror movie they would finance his planned prequel to Women in Love, The Rainbow. Ireland says that Russell originally wanted to cast Tilda Swinton but she turned down the role and Amanda Donohoe was cast instead. Ireland also claims Russell made the film partly as a tribute to Oscar Wilde.
The film was shot at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, on location at Gaddesden Place near the Gade Valley, Knebworth House and in the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire. The cave in the film is Thor's Cave in the Manifold Valley, Staffordshire.
The scene in the Laboratory at the end was filmed in the Pathology department of the former Derby City Hospital, now replaced by the Royal Derby Hospital.
The film has received a mixed critical response. On movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 57%, based on twenty-one reviews, and is certified "rotten". Roger Ebert gave it two stars out of four and called it "a respectable B-grade monster movie". Variety called it "a rollicking, terrifying, post-psychedelic headtrip".
- Melville, Marty (15 May 2012). "Dan Ireland on The Lair of the White Worm". The Trailers From Hell! Blog. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "The Lair of the White Worm – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- Ebert, Roger. "Lair Of The White Worm :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "The Lair of the White Worm". Variety. 31 December 1988. Retrieved 28 July 2012.