Lair of the White Worm (1988)
Two thumbs up for a truly goofy movie, with the reservation that this flick might be a lot funnier if you burn a doob before watching it.
SCOOP's comments in white:
Bram Stoker, the creator of Dracula, wrote this story late in his life. It's about a giant white snake that has lived in a series of subterranean English caves and caverns since Roman times, fed by a cult of immortal snake-worshippers who bring it virgins. I'm not sure why the virginity is necessary. I mean the frigging snake is a carnivore. What's he gonna do if he shows up hungry and the high priestess brings him a tasty 18 year old who got laid once at her Homecoming Dance? Is he gonna get finicky and refuse to eat, like Morris the Frigging Cat, until he gets the properly unsullied Snake Chow?
Oh, yeah. The snake-people work exactly like vampires. When they bite humans, they can turn the humans into fellow snakepires.
Hugh Grant is the star, but he's not a snakepire. He's some kind of old money aristocrat with a Stately Hugh Manor. Amanda Donohoe lives in the manor next door, venerable Snakepire-upon-the-Moors-and-Heaths-and-Heather. She is a snakepire, in fact she is the esteemed Lady Snakepire, the aristocratic head of the snake cult, and owner of the world's only scary, rotting old castle with a built-in tanning bed. I haven't read the book, but I think Bram Stoker died before WW1, so there may not have been a tanning bed in the original story. Or maybe Stoker was one of those visionaries like Leonardo or Jules Verne, and could predict the modern world's need for tanning beds for vampires. After all, it makes sense. Vampires never go out in the sun, so how else can they look normal among their fellow sybarites? If they didn't tan they'd have to spend their entire lives in the company of Rose McGowan.
Ken Russell directed this. Remember him? He's the
guy who did all the biographies of famous decadent
musicians who dreamt about masturbating nuns.
Russell brought kind of a savage head-in-the-gutter
iconoclasm to his best works, like his adaptation of
Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudon, but all that
raw energy is converted here into High Camp.
that there's anything wrong with that.
Russell's favorite gimmick is to look inside the dreams and visions of his characters, and he uses that schtick here to show a lame Hugh Grant fantasy abut catfighting airline stewardesses, all of which has almost nothing to do with the plot in either meaning or tone. In the campiest of the film's moments, Grant is doing a crossword puzzle on the plane when the evil stewardess and the good stewardess break into their fight. The pencil in Hugh's lap keeps pointing farther and farther upward as he watches the catfight. I didn't make that up. It really is exactly what happened.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say there weren't any stewardesses in the original Bram Stoker story.
Eventually the good guys manage to defeat the snakepires, of course. How do they do it? You won't even believe it when if I tell you, because it sounds like the kind of crap I'd make up, but I'll tell ya anyway.
of all, they play snake-charmer music, copying a
plot from an old Batman episode. Hugh Grant has some
old 78s lying around Stately Hugh Manor, which is
not illogical. What is surprising is that he just
happens to have about a zillion high-powered
amplifiers lying around. Apparently he was expecting
to host a Metallica concert in his back yard. That
Bram Stoker really was a visionary! Of course,
Stoker himself preferred AC/DC, and he would often
argue in the Astral Plane with Nostradamus and
Dionne Warwick and the other psychics who preferred
Metallica or The Dead.This plan works temporarily,
but the snakepires have a counter-plan. They
hoodwink Stately Hugh's butler and commandeer the
record player. Those fiends!
good guys then need to find another way to generate
snake-charming music. They elect to use bagpipes.
You see, there's this Scottish archeologist visiting
Stately Hugh Manor. He has his pipes and his kilt
with him on his archeological expedition. Scotsmen
never travel without those things. The snakepires
can't attack as long as the pipes are keening the
greatest snake-charming hits of Roger Whittaker. Or
maybe the snakepires just hate bagpipe music. I know
if I were a snakepire, I would give a wide berth to
bagpipers. I know this because I already give them a
But the good guys are not content to simply charm the snake and his faithful snakepires. They need a way to defeat them. Although they are in the rural English countryside, they somehow come up with a mongoose to release in Lady Snakepire's estate. I didn't make that up. About 15 minutes or so after Stately Hugh and the bagpipe-playing archeologist found out about the snakepires, they had rustled up a snake-destroying mongoose.
Oh, yeah, and the bagpiping archeologist also happens to have some grenades. I guess he's a bagpiping paramilitary archeologist. He drops one of them into the mouth of the White Worm when it comes up to eat a virgin, and there you have it.
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