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Film: The Lair of the White Worm
Good luck trying to charm her.

Lair of the White Worm is a 1988 horror movie directed by Ken Russell; starring Amanda Donohoe and a young Hugh Grant, loosely based on a novel by Bram Stoker.

The fim begins with Angus Flint, a Scottish archealogist, discovering a large reptilian skull in the backyard of English sisters, Mary and Eve Trent. The Trent sisters share with him that their father disappeared in a local legendary cave while on expedition and believe the skull might be connected somehow. This cave was on the property of the D'Ampton family, nobles in the area and the subject of a local legend. Centuries ago, a D'Ampton fought a giant snake in the same cave and killed it by cutting it in half with a sword. This giant snake is referred to in legend (and a rock'n folk song) as the D'Ampton Worm. They soon meet James D'Ampton (Grant), the current heir to the property and attempt to unravel the mystery.

Meanwhile, returning from a vacation, Lady Sylvia Marsh (Donohoe) returns to her mansion next to the D'Ampton home. Lady Marsh is a well respected member of the area and of course, happens to be a vampire. It also just so happens that she worships the D'Ampton Worm and is keen on its return. She has her eyes set on James D'Ampton and the sisters, particularly Eve. As it turns out, Lady Marsh needs the blood of a virgin to release the D'Ampton Worm and Eve fits the bill. What follows is a surreal, tongue in cheek horror movie filled with the occult, blood sucking, a giant snake, and Amanada Donaohue with a strap-on.


This film provides examples of:

  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The final shot is of Angus in full-fledged vampire mode. It creates a bit of a Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Badass Bookworm: Angus is pretty nerdy but isn't afraid to fight vampires and giant snakes.
  • Batman Gambit: Angus and James' preparation to take down Lady Marsh involves research, careful planning, and giant pairs of balls.
  • Between My Legs: A shot of Eve toward the end as she is prepared to be sacrificed.
  • Break the Cutie: It seems this happens to Eve after her virginity is nearly taken away by Lady Marsh.
  • Camp: Quite intentional.
  • Daylight Horror: The vampires can function during the day. The cop-turned-vampire going after Angus is a clear example.
  • Death by Sex: Spending a night with Lady Marsh has a very obvious result.
  • Eye Scream: The aforementioned vampire cop happens to land on a sundial, ripping an eye out of his socket in a particularly gory shot.
  • Fanservice: Every scene with Amanda Donohoe.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Lady Marsh attacks while at least partly nude in the end.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Unless it deals with virgin sacrifices.
  • Good Lips, Evil Jaws: Lady Marsh's transormation into gaping-jawed reptilian horror.
  • Groin Attack: An oral attack from a vampire even... Ouch!
  • Hey, It's That Guy! / Retroactive Recognition: A very young Hugh Grant as James D'Ampton, as well as an also-very-young Peter Capaldi as Angus Flint.
  • Human Sacrifice: The D'Ampton Worm needs one in order to come back. It's preferable that the human is a virgin.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Lady Marsh has sex with men but that seems to be a means to an end when it comes to feeding. She takes a more particular liking to Eve.
  • Monster Progenitor: It's implied that the D'Ampton Worm spawned the snake-like vampires shown in this film. It's also possible that Lady Marsh was one of the first or possibly the first.
  • Mrs. Robinson: A very dark example.
  • Nature Abhors a Virgin: Lady Marsh mocks the idea of virginity and is delighted in sacrificing virgins to her snake god.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: They're Lizard Folk, apparently. The usual weakness toward Christian crosses is also averted as shown when Lady Marsh dissolves a crucifix by spitting acid on it. Oh, and these vampires function in daylight without having to sparkle.
  • Setting Update: The original novel took place during the Victorian Era but the movie takes place in modern day (or at least, modern day for The Eighties).
  • Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror: This is a pretty balanced movie with scares and laughs often happening at the same time.
  • Snakes Are Sexy: Combined with a healthy dose of Vampires Are Sex Gods.
  • Something Else Also Rises: That pen in D'Ampton's dream. Of course, the entire movie is just gleefully raunchy and there's a ton of unabashedly sexual symbolism around.
  • The Vamp: Lady Marsh... in more ways than one.
  • Virgin Sacrifice: The D'Ampton Worm prefers this.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: A vampire's natural enemy is the mongoose. It coincides with the snake motif, sure. And yeah, the mongoose ends up getting killed anyway but... still a little silly.
    • Also, playing the bagpipes puts them in a trance briefly. Unless they have earplugs, of course.


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Laid to RestHorror FilmsLake Mungo

alternative title(s): Lair Of The White Worm; The Lair Of The White Worm
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