The Lair of the White Worm Blu-ray (Vestron Video Collector’s Series)
Director: Ken Russell
Screenwriter: Ken Russell
Cast: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis, Stratford Johns
Rated R | 93 Minutes
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Written and directed by Ken Russell (The Devils, Altered States), 1988’s The Lair of the White Worm is an adaptation of Bram Stoker‘s 1911 novel, based on the English legend of the Lambton Worm.
Peter Capaldi (Doctor Who) stars as Angus Flint, a Scottish archaeology student excavating the site of a convent at a bed and breakfast run by the Trent sisters, Mary (Sammi Davis, Mona Lisa) and Eve (Catherine Oxenberg, Dynasty). There he unearths a massive, snake-like skull and believes it may be connected to the local legend of the d’Ampton worm, a mythical creature that feasted on the flesh of virgins.
The story goes that the worm was slain by John d’Ampton, the ancestor of current Lord of the Manor, James d’Ampton (Hugh Grant). The young Lord dismisses the legend as folklore until his girlfriend disappears. He sets out with Angus to investigate Stonerich Cavern; an ancient underground cave said to be the worm’s lair. There they discover a shocking revelation: the caves connect to Temple House, the stately home Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe), a beautiful and seductive woman with a penchant for playing Snakes and Ladders.
It turns out Lady Marsh is an immortal priestess who sacrifices virtuous souls to the pagan snake god, Dionin. Of course, every town has stories of a smokin’ hot Snake Woman who seduces young men only to feed them to a massive, bloodthirsty earthworm â€“ an urban legend meant to scare young boys into celibacy â€“ but this time it’s for real!
Reminiscent of American International Pictures productions from the ’60s, The Lair of the White Worm is a campy horror-comedy that manages to be both cheeky and entirely unsettling. There’s some balls-out crazy imagery in this movie, like Roman soldiers raping nuns in front of a cross on which a worm monster slithers over a crucified Jesus, all while a topless blue snake-lady looks on ecstatically, flicking her forked tongue. Russell’s film is filled with this kind of stuff, and while it may be blasphemous to some, it’s also a lot of fun for fans of forgotten ’80s horror flicks.
Restored and remastered, Lionsgate’s Vestron Video Collector’s Series Blu-ray features a 1080p high definition transfer (16Ã—9 widescreen 1.79:1) from the original film elements. The original 2.0 Stereo Audio is included, as well as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby Audio. Thereâ€™s also all-new special features, including two audio commentary tracks, one with Ken Russell and another with Lisi Russell, his fourth wife, in conversation with film historian Matthew Melia. There’s also Worm Food: The Effects of The Lair of the White Worm, a featurette on the film, as well as interviews with editor Peter Davies and actress Sammi Davis. And finally, there’s a Trailers From Hell segment featuring an introduction and commentary with producer Dan Ireland.
This is another strong release for the Vestron Video Collector’s Series. If you’re a fan of Russell’s film, this is the best it’s ever looked. If you’re new to the world of Dionin, this Blu-ray release is definitely worth a look for horror fans looking to explore some obscure ’80s treasures. The Lair of the White Worm is now available at Amazon.
Find reviews of previous Vestron Video Collectorâ€™s Series releases here! Follow me on Twitter and Letterboxd!