I watched a movie!

Find every reference to a penis or a snake you can find, including even the old board-game snakes and ladders, and the cry of “Me spotted dick!” and loosely wrap a British Isles mythos around it. And film it like an overlong episode of Dr. Who and there you go.

Hugh Grant, no less, is an umpteenth generation descendant of the famous hero who once slew the dragon, but apparently, despite the slaying and a yearly festival with impressive toothy puppets nipping at the backsides of fair damsels, something foul still permeates the aristocratic cellars.

This film is carried on the sometimes sexy sometimes kooky efforts of one Amanda Donahoe (The Madness of King George, and something with Jim Carey) as she clumsily impersonates a snake, at one point even rising out of a basket to some music, and lounging around barely dressed in some BDSM gear. Her big dramatic eyes and soft chipmunk cheeks belie a terrible secret. She’s a devotee of the White Worm (Wurm or Dragon)! And dedicated to catching prey to toss into the monster’s pit. Of this, we don’t really get enough, it’s mostly insinuated (how about that for a snaky word?). And one will guffaw at the over-sized fangs her cute little face is equipped with in the kill moment, more like lair of the white walrus.

Most of the jumpy gruesome scare stuff is reserved for these inserted and much manipulated “dream” or “hallucination” sequences that are garishly colored and very short, because if you actually looked at them for longer than a second or two there’s really not much going on. A lady stroking a snake, a very poorly rendered puppet threatening a version of Jesus on the cross, a bit of swami dancing . . . and so on.

I remember loving this film when I saw it way back, finally getting a VHS rental. I was looking forward to it as I’d seen a few stills from it in a movie magazine I was partial to (Cinefantastique or Fangoria or something) and I was rather ready to enjoy it. This time around, while there are some fun and original moments, and an interesting collage of information (childlike backyard Paleontology, Roman rulers, pagan festivals, Wickerman-ish stiff locals) the ultimate effect has a Werewolf In London feel to it, meaning, it’s gore + funny. Or perhaps it just hasn’t aged well.

Of course, the baddie gets hers in the end, and I love her all the more for her dedicated performance in this mishmash of horror and laughs.

This one costs you four bucks on Prime.

2 thoughts on “The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

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