The Lair of the White Worm

The Lair of the White Worm ★★★½

I remember so vividly seeing the VHS box for this movie on rental store shelves as a preteen and being super curious about it but thinking it was way too scandalous to ask my parents to rent. So I just stared at it in countless Blockbusters and an image of Amanda Donohoe slithering out of a basket was seared into my brain. Well, the actual film may not quite live up to my middle-school imagination, which would be a pretty tall order, but I enjoyed it a lot. It has the feeling of a standard 80s cheesy softcore horror movie at times, though even then it seems like Russell is sort of winking at you somehow. And then it get increasingly weird and awesome, sort of arty and classic at the same time. At times the film really feels like a classic horror film, with aspects of 30s American horror and British horror of the Hammer era, but at other points (particularly the hallucination sequences) it's more like Kenneth Anger with added camp. Donohoe is amazing here. I can't think of a better example of totally owning a role no matter how over-the-top it is. She really helps keep it all together. Some of the highlights are due the the humorous side of the film, like when Peter Capaldi charms Donohoe's snake-priestess with his bagpipes.

I know a lot of people put this movie in some sort of so-bad-it's-good category but I'm inclined to think it's just plain good, albeit in a super weird way.