The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Article 5713 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Ken Russell
Featuring Amanda Donohue, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenburg
What it is: Ken Russell adapts Bram Stoker
A strange woman turns out to be a priestess of an evil snake cult.
I’m willing to bet that a great deal of the perversity in this movie is the work of the director rather than being from Bram Stoker; at the very least, I’m sure Stoker would have been more subtle. Still, in comparison with most of the other films I’ve seen from Russell, this is a relatively staid affair; most of his trademark weirdness can be found in some brief dream sequences. In fact, I would go so far as to say this one gets pretty boring at times; with all the weird stuff, there’s also a great deal of standing around and talking. As it is, I find the whole movie somewhat uninvolving; I don’t really find myself getting very interested in most of the characters or their situations. There are a couple of interesting touches; a Melies short (THE BRAHMIN AND THE BUTTERFLY) pops up at one point, and there are two actors here who have both played the Doctor (as in “Doctor Who”) albeit only one officially; Hugh Grant was one of several actors who portrayed him in THE CURSE OF FATAL DEATH, and Peter Capaldi played his twelfth incarnation. This one was rather disappointing.