Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Lair of the White Worm

The Lair of the White Worm
Just watched the Lair of the White Worm -- Ken Russell's adaptation of the Bram Stoker's novel -- which I've never read, but I may now put on my hit list. The movie is ... well ... funny. Intentionally so. The scene where Lady Marsh burns her snake and ladders game ... she gazes into the fire and whispers, "Rosebud." Hugh Grant plays a funny Lord James D'Ampton -- unintentionally, while sipping tea. Then there is Peter Capaldi Angus Flint, a Scott, who had to put on the outfit and play the bagpipes. And there were more like that.

The horror bits ... well, good vs. evil; the christian god vs. some snake god ... that's the white worm for you. The plot that's strung together is rather silly, and again, I think it was done intentionally so -- sort of a campy horror. Lady Marsh returns in spring to her village to bring back her long sleeping snake god with a virgin sacrifice -- a snake god that's been sleeping for some time since Lord D'Ampton's ancestor supposedly killed it -- the whole knight slaying the dragon thing. Lady Marsh is some kind of snake-vampire, whatever that is, and can infect people she bites with her venom. She loses her chance with her first virgin sacrifice, but then locates another. Unfortunately, she's the girlfriend of Lord D'Ampton, who isn't about to lose her -- and her sister, has a boyfriend who's a budding archeologist, and has found the skull of the white worm (ie. ancient snake god). Together the girls manage to get themselves captured to be sacrificed, and the boys must come to the rescue, all the while sipping tea, playing bagpipes and promising themselves that they should go down to the pub to get a pint. Very British.

The whole movie actually works on a campy, comedic-horror level -- never quite descending to B-movie status -- but never becoming really creepy or scary. As usual with a Ken Russell movie, there is blood, some nuns, and Christ on the cross. (And I'm purposely not going to explain that.)

The movie can be ordered from Amazon really cheaply! Amazon also got some good reviews of the movie.


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