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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

Contains 2 future Dr. Who Doctors. Peter Capaldi became the Doctor in Season 7 and Hugh Grant also played the Doctor in the BBC short special 'Comic Relief: Doctor Who - The Curse of Fatal Death' See more »

Goofs

Lord James searches through a collection of ancient 78-rpm shellac discs. Although he plays one of the discs on a modern-day turntable that is capable of playing them, the music heard is electronic-based and has excellent fidelity. However, shellac records had notoriously low sound quality and were discontinued decades before synthesizers were used regularly in music production. See more »

Quotes

Lady Sylvia Marsh: Now, if you're sitting comfortably, I shall tell you why you must not be afraid to die. To die so that the god may live is a privilege, Kevin, and if you know anything at all about history, you will know that human sacrifice is as old as Dionin himself, whose every death is a rebirth into a god ever mightier!
[doorbell rings]
Lady Sylvia Marsh: Shit.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A British Picture (1989) 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

 
A Hidden Classic worthy of Cult Status
29 December 2001 | by WriterDaveSee all my reviews

I've now seen Ken Russell's adaptation of Bram Stoker's story about half a dozen times, each at different points in my life. This is one of those few movies that seems to age very well and get better with each viewing. Never a big fan of Russell, his over the top visual style seems right at home in this sometimes campy, sometimes scary, always entertaining horror film. But what makes this film stand far above others in its genre is the fact that it is in actuality a wicked black comedy. Every time I see it i pick up on something new that is in the background of a scene or some piece of dialogue I previously overlooked and I burst out laughing. The film features probably the single best line of any movie ever made, delivered with dead-pan foppishness by a not-yet famous Hugh Grant. "I believe we probably have another reptile on the premises." Watch it and you'll understand why it's so funny. It's all about context. While some may find many flaws in this production, I recommend just going with the flow and trusting Russel and his cast, who all also seem to be in on the joke. Amanda Donohoe as the evil serpentine priestess and Stratford Johns as Hugh Grant's butler are particularly on target with every line delivered. I'm going out on a limb and giving this a 10/10. In actuality it probably deserves and 8/10 at best. But it is one of my personal faves and seems to age like a fine wine.


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