The Lair of the White Worm (1988)
September 10, 2023 11:23 AM - Subscribe

As the young Lord D'Ampton oversees a raucous annual party in celebration of his ancestor slaying a dragon, an archaeology grad student digs up an enormous serpent's skull that may in fact be part of the legendary beast. But why is the recently-returned Lady Sylvia skulking around and associating with snakes, and what's the connection to the Roman temple being excavated on the former site of a local convent?
posted by Pope Guilty (13 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
First Ken Russell film I ever saw. I liked it, but largely because I spent half the movie going, what the fuck???
posted by Naberius at 12:05 PM on September 10

From a 1999(!) AV Club interview with Hugh Grant:
Now, Ken Russell is terrific in the mornings. Then he has quite a… "French" lunch, and in the afternoon he's a fascinating director. I had to do a bit in Lair Of The White Worm where I had to pick up a sword and cut someone in half, as one does in a Ken Russell film. And I said, "You know, it doesn't feel quite comfortable doing it this way." And his directorial response was, [slurs speech] "Well, fuck how it fuckin' feels. Do it how I showed you, you fuckin' cunt!" Which is not classic Ingmar Bergman direction.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 1:08 PM on September 10 [17 favorites]

I barely remember Hugh Grant in this, although that may be due to Amanda Donohue walking around wearing nothing but a large, ornately carved, and disturbingly pointy dildo. This wasn't my first Ken Russell film, but I can say without a doubt that it was by far the most Ken Russell film that I ever saw.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:17 PM on September 10 [4 favorites]

Cannot be toooooooooooooooooo high to watch this.
posted by whatevernot at 2:12 PM on September 10

The airplane dream sequence where the pen in Hugh Grant’s hand becomes more and more vertical as he watches Amanda Donahoe and Catherine Oxenberg fight is cinema to me.
posted by rodlymight at 2:38 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]

I love the determination of this film to stuff every possible worm or snake related thing into the viewer's eyes. This movie is going out into the countryside and screaming SNAKES!!!!!!! at the top of its lungs over and over.
posted by fleacircus at 3:20 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]

I freaking love this movie.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:29 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]

I think I saw a trailer for this back in a theater in 1988, but the trailer was so shoddily made that I thought it was a revival of something far older, or was a parody trailer. The fact that Hugh Grant - AND PETER CAPALDI - were in it is blowing my mind right now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:16 PM on September 10 [5 favorites]

Love this movie. Also the song is far better than your average movie song.
posted by fings at 8:07 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]

It’s quite the film. I’m always amazed that it came out in the same year as Salome’s Last Dance. 1988 was a banner year for Russell.

And the man was an amazing director (and, occasionally writer). The Devils managed to get the most senior Catholic figure in the U.K. to defend it on the grounds that it wasn’t blasphemy; it was about blasphemy. So, I tell you, my friends LotWW isn’t horrendous snakes; it’s about horrendous snakes.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:10 AM on September 11 [2 favorites]

Wow, I just scrubbed through a copy and checked out a few scenes. Quite a mood! And look at Hugh and Peter's HAIR!
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:49 PM on September 11

All these years I was sure it had been the Pogues in that pub scene with the dance number, but I just googled that to confirm before posting it here and NO -- it turns out to have been two musicians named Emilio Perez Machado and Stephen Powys, who have no other credits or recordings I could find. In my defense though, I think it's an understandable mistake....
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 9:42 PM on September 11

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