The Lair of the White Worm (film)

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The Lair of the White Worm
Lair of the white worm.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Ken Russell
Produced by Dan Ireland
William J. Quigley
Ken Russell
Ronaldo Vasconcellos
Screenplay by Ken Russell
Based on The Lair of the White Worm  
by Bram Stoker
Music by Stanislas Syrewicz
Cinematography Dick Bush
Edited by Peter Davies
White Lair
Distributed by Vestron Pictures
Release dates
14 September 1988
Running time
93 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $2,500,000 (estimated)
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 Angus with the help of James 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.



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 that Russell made the film partly as a tribute to Oscar Wilde.[1]

Critical reception[edit]

The film has received a mixed critical response. On movie review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 59%, based on 22 reviews, and is certified "rotten."[2] Roger Ebert gave it two stars out of four and called it "a respectable B-grade monster movie."[3] Variety called it "a rollicking, terrifying, post-psychedelic headtrip."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Melville, Marty (15 May 2012). "Dan Ireland on The Lair of the White Worm". The Trailers From Hell! Blog. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  2. ^ "The Lair of the White Worm – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (11 November 1988). "Lair Of The White Worm :: :: Reviews". Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "The Lair of the White Worm". Variety. 31 December 1988. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 

External links[edit]