For some reason or another, i kept thinking about Doctor Who last week. Well, I say doctor who, but I mean the recently announced twelfth doctor, Peter Capaldi. For years I often wondered what happened to the leading actor in Ken Russels “The Lair of the White Worm” and it was only last week that it suddenly popped into my head, Its bloomin Doctor Who! With this revelation fresh in my mind, I decided to pick up a copy of the 1988 thriller and re watch it. And boy am I glad I did.
I first watch this film many years ago now, when I was a young teen. I seem to remember that I recorder it off the TV and I must of watch it at least four or five times. Being a young adolescent, I found the whole film very alluring. The sight of Amanda Donohoe prancing about in tights and suspenders, flashing her boobs and generally oozing sex appeal with every scene , was very exciting for a young man that age. It’s safe to say that I had very fond memories of the film.
Have you seen the soap?
The film weaves the legend of the Great D’Ampton Worm. Based in Scotland,the film see’s a local archaeologist Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi ) team up with Lord James D’Ampton ( Hugh Grant ) to stop the great worm from returning. Amanda Donohoe stars as the centuries old , Lady Sylvia Marsh, whom is trying to rebuild an ancient, worm worshipping, cult.
She was a little..bitey!
Usually these type of 80’s, low budget, thrillers rely on two things, tits and gore, and whilst Lair has a handful of flesh on show, the gore is actually minimal, and I think that it works well. When the gore does come, its shocking (or most welcome, depending on your preference) and unexpected. One of my favourite moments is when Paul Brooke’s local policeman has a nasty slip and pops one of his eyeballs out. We only get a brief glimpse, but it’s so much fun!
You got a little something on your face!
The cast is solid, with some great performances from everyone. I actually found myself really enjoying re-watching it, especially after so many years. Despite it having aged very slightly, which you could easily shrug this off as being part of rural Scottish life, the film is fun and full of great visuals. One of my favourite parts is the bizarre dreams and hallucinations scattered through out. James D’Amptons dream being one of the highlights. His dream is filled with some great sexual innuendos and lets not forget about cat fight between two air hostesses.
Handy for writing your name in the snow..or anywhere else!
Lair is now 26 years old, and ageing like a great red wine. It’s one of those films that I could happily put on and watch at any time, as it just keeps getting better with each viewing. There are so many films that I’ll only ever watch once, Lair is one that I will definitely watch again. To be honest, I’m not even sure why I waited so many years to re-watch it.
Even Miley Cyrus has never licked one of those.. First!
Is it scary? Is it Horror? Well, i guess this is a discussion to have. No it’s not particularity scary, but then Director Ken Russel was never really known for out-right horror. He was more controversial, using Christianity and sexuality as themes for his work, both of which are very present here. It is horror though, as much as any horror of this period, it might not be as jumpy or gory as some, but it’s a compelling and fun.
Lair of the White Worm
- Story 70% 70%
- Scares 5% 5%
- Gore 10% 10%
- Music 60% 60%
Lair of the White Worm is a fun, dark and totally bizarre feature with lots to love and hate. Ken Russel’s last great movie is also his best!
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