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Scottish archaeologist Angus Flint discovers an odd skull amid the ruins of a convent that he is excavating. Shortly thereafter, Lady Sylvia Marsh returns to Temple House, a nearby mansion, far earlier than expected. At a party in the village, Angus meets Lord James D'Ampton, who has just inherited his family's land right next to Temple House. Angus learns of the D'Ampton Worm, a huge dragon-snake that an earlier D'Ampton killed by cutting it in half. (There's a pretty catchy rock-folk song that tells the D'Ampton Worm legend.) As people begin disappearing and acting strangely over the next few days, the skull is stolen from Angus's room, and the watch of a missing person is found in a cavern that was the legendary home of the D'Ampton worm. Angus and James discover that there was an ancient cult that worshiped the worm as a god, and they theorize that the creature somehow survived its destruction, but it was trapped inside the cavern. The remainder of the movie shows Angus, James, ... Written by
A lavish, and kinky version of Bram Stoker's seldom read story (which I imagine was quite different). The Worm of the title is actually a Wyrm, an old English term for snake or dragon. The followers of this beast are a combination of snakes and vampires. They spit venom and can paralyze or transform their victims with a bite.
The film makes interesting use of Pagan and Christian mythology, which could have been quite controversial if it hadn't come from Ken Russell whose blasphemies seem to be taken in good humor.
Amanda Donohue is icy and sardonic as the head of the snake cult and the film is worth seeing for her alone (A friend told me that she looked like how he always pictured the White Queen from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).
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