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The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

R | | Horror | 21 October 1988 (USA)
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When an archeologist uncovers a strange skull in foreign land, the residents of a nearby town begin to disappear, leading to further unexplainable occurrences.

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

Ken Russell (screenplay by), Bram Stoker (adapted from the novel by)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amanda Donohoe ... Lady Sylvia Marsh
Hugh Grant ... Lord James D'Ampton
Catherine Oxenberg ... Eve Trent
Peter Capaldi ... Angus Flint
Sammi Davis ... Mary Trent
Stratford Johns ... Peters
Paul Brooke ... P.C. Erny
Imogen Claire Imogen Claire ... Dorothy Trent
Chris Pitt Chris Pitt ... Kevin
Gina McKee ... Nurse Gladwell
Christopher Gable Christopher Gable ... Joe Trent
Lloyd Peters Lloyd Peters ... Jesus Christ
Miranda Coe Miranda Coe ... Maid / Nun
Linzi Drew ... Maid / Nun
Caron Anne Kelly Caron Anne Kelly ... Maid / Nun
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Storyline

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 Alik Widge

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 October 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Maldição da Serpente See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$1,189,315
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

White Lair See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ken Russell: [snake] See more »

Goofs

When Angus runs out of breath, the pipes shouldn't have stopped because the bag could hold air long enough for him to catch his breath again. See more »

Quotes

Mary Trent: [as archaeologist gives victory yell upon unearhing gigantic skull] What's to do? You cut yourself or summit?
Eve Trent: [comes running up out of the farmhouse] Who's that yelling blue murder?
Mary Trent: Angus. You would think he found the missing link or something. Don't worry. It's only an old fossil. It won't bite. Sexy beast, is he not? The cave man, I mean.
Eve Trent: If that's a primitive man, it looks like a dinosaur sat on him.
Angus Flint: It is a dinosaur, I think.
Mary Trent: Oh, go pull the other one.
Eve Trent: Our Dad had a cow looked like that once,...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Thick of It: Episode #2.2 (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

The D'Ampton Worm
Arranged and Performed by Emilio Perez Machado and Stephen Powys
Violinist Louise Newman
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
That song sticks in your head for a while.
26 March 2017 | by Hey_SwedenSee all my reviews

'Dr. Who' actor Peter Capaldi plays Angus Flint, an archaeology student who unearths a strange skull from the grounds of a bed & breakfast, where a convent had existed once upon a time. Meanwhile, the seductively sexy young Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe) returns to her neighboring home, and more weird things are soon happening. It turns out, there is a local legend in the area, of a nobleman who'd vanquished a hideous reptilian beast - not literally a "worm" - centuries ago. Also mixed up in the plot are that noblemans' descendant, James D'Ampton (Hugh Grant), and lovely sisters Mary (Sammi Davis) and Eve (Catherine Oxenberg).

The director is Ken Russell of such classics as "The Devils", and he also produced and adapted the novel by "Dracula" creator Bram Stoker. So we know going in to expect a fair amount of outrageousness. Fortunately, this film never does get out of control, but it combines some sober drama with some very campy and sometimes hilarious horror. Clearly, it's not meant to be taken all that seriously, especially when we consider the crudely done fantasy sequences envisioned by the characters and the audience. (People who are easily offended will undoubtedly be put off by some of this imagery.) The makeup is amusing, but what's really a hoot is the beast itself, Dionin. Excellent location shooting adds atmosphere.

The actors, commendably, maintain serious expressions. Although he's reputed to refuse to talk about this film, Grant does a good, droll job. Capaldi is a decent hero who, at one point, attempts to attract a reptilian presence by putting on a kilt and playing the bagpipes. Oxenberg and Davis look appropriately scared, Stratford Johns is a solid presence as the butler Peters, and Donohoe, often dressed in very sexy outfits, does appear to be having some real fun as the villainess.

A truly frightening film this is not, but it's quite entertaining just the same.

Eight out of 10.


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