Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Directed by Ken Russell

Starring Amanda Donohoe Catherine Oxenberg Hugh Grant Peter Capaldi Sammi Davis

Excellent, stylish, funny and intelligent vampire film was Russell's best picture in years and helped propel Grant to stardom as well. Grant plays a British rich kid who has an ancestor who once did battle with a legendary "white worm"a creature that most local folks in the English town he lives in consider an old wife's tale. Naturally, it's a true story. A gorgeous neighbor (Donohoe) who has moved into the chateau nearby happens to be a blood-sucking vampire who wants to sacrifice a virgin to this giant, monstrous white worm, which is still alive and well in a cave nearby.

Many aren't going to understand the wit of "Lair of the White Worm." But for those with enough intelligence, this will be a kick-ass movie, up there with "Nadja" as a subtle, quirky, witty, off-beat horror flick that successfully spoofs the whole genre and Russell's own work at the same time. Fans of The Pogues should be thrilled to know that the band plays a party early in the film.

I wouldn't call "Lair of the White Worm" scary, but like most of Russell's work it has plenty of style. I especially enjoyed the nightmare sequence featuring ravished nuns the worm wrapped around the crucified body of Christ, a scene reminiscent of Russell's "The Devils." Donohoe delivers a wonderfully wry performance as the vampire bitch. Highly recommended.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


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