The Lair of the White Worm

The Lair of the White Worm ★★★½

The snake was at one time a symbol of life and fertility and of rebirth and health (think the ouroboros or the rod of Asclepius) until Christianity came along and turned it evil. I’m not sure if Ken Russell was channeling this fact or if the white worm is just a metaphor for a penis but it matters not; this was a wild ride from start to finish, touching on some of my favorite horror movie tropes like mind possession and digging up something from the past that should have never been found. Amanda Donohoe is straight up ophidian, a slithering, cool performance that was the highlight of the film. 
While there’s a pagan and satanic energy flowing throughout its veins, the movie is quite funny and doesn’t take itself too seriously. The venom goes down easy, with scenes showing the mundanity of ritual sacrifice or a scene involving a possessed cop’s snake dance.  There are jokes and comedy bits but then also intense religious imagery and nuns being raped. 
There’s a fearless archeologist who’s like an anti-Indiana Jones (boring) but ends up being the hero of the piece. Hugh Grant is a rich prick dimwit who is also kind of a good guy, too. There are definitely some confusing choices made and I think the story itself could have used better structure.  Still, a weird, fun little movie that packs some poison in its fangs.

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