The Lair of the White Worm

The Lair of the White Worm ★★★★½

Spooktober II: To Hell With the 80s

At this point, it has become almost mandatory to include a film by the prolific and controversial Ken Russell on the list of films to watch this season. It seems like many people are leaning towards The Devils, but I decided to check out another one based on the novel by Bram Stoker (yes, THAT Bram Stoker), which is also based on an English legend.

In keeping with the director's style, there is a lot of allusion to religion, which is presented in a blasphemous manner. This film reminds me of Altered State a great deal both in the way it is edited and the visuals themselves, though in a lower scale and less creative than the William Hurt starrer. In any case, both manage to convey the message effectively.

The story itself is also interesting. I am not very familiar with the original tale or book, but it seems in this film that the white snake is referred to not only as a Satanic creature, but one scene in particular seems to evoke The Devil.

As for the performances, Amanda Donohoe is fantastic as the title monster. She is able to capture the seductive side of the character, delivering her lines in a way that feels sensual, sometimes menacing, but always playful, which fits the campy tone of the film. Hugh Grant and Peter Capaldi may not have the same impact as Donohoe, but they make great protagonists, the good guys on a quest for the truth. Furthermore, it was nice to see both actors at such a young stage of their careers and appearances.

All in all, with moments that stick with you long after you see the movie, be it the visions or the scene from the poster, coupled with a good sense of campiness and a great sense of B-movie fun, Russell has made another weird, but awesome film that helps cement his reputation as a one in a million.

King of the Ants
Halloween II
The Lair of the White Worm

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