The Lair Of The White Worm

Producer-writer-director Ken Russell updates the last novel of Dracula’s Bram Stoker (known as The Garden of Evil in the U.S.), about the discovery of a somewhat vampiristic ancient anti-Christian cult built around a giant white worm in rural England. For once, Russell’s over-the-top conceits are anchored in a fairly humdrum horror story and allowed to flourish mainly at privileged moments of hallucinatory delirium; the rest of the time the storytelling is serviceable if occasionally lumpy. But the mad campy momentswhich chiefly involve snake woman Amanda Donohoe slinking around in various stages of undress or in dominatrix outfitsare worth waiting for. With Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis, Stratford Johns, and a great many B-film accessories, including snakes, worms, dildos, caves, dungeons, and tatty special effects (1988). (JR)

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