The Lair of the White Worm (1988)

Thirty-four years ago, the film The Lair of the White Worm premiered and quickly gained cult following.

Title: The Lair of the White Worm
Directed by: Ken Russell
Screenplay by: Ken Russell
Based on: The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker
Produced by: Dan Ireland, William J. Quigley, Ken Russell, and Ronaldo Vasconcellos
Starring: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis, and Stratford Johns
Cinematography: Dick Bush
Edited by: Peter Davies
Music by: Stanislas Syrewicz
Production Company: White Lair
Distributed by: Vestron Pictures
Release date: September 14, 1988
Running time: 93 min.
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Budget: $2 million[1]
Box office: $1,189,315

Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi) is a Scottish archaeology student excavating the site of a convent at the Derbyshire bed and breakfast run by the Trent sisters, Mary (Sammi Davis) and Eve (Catherine Oxenberg). He unearths an unusual skull which appears to be that of a large snake. Angus believes it may be connected to the local legend of the d’Ampton ‘worm’, a mythical snake-like creature from ages past said to have been slain in Stonerich Cavern by John d’Ampton, the ancestor of current Lord of the Manor, James d’Ampton (Hugh Grant).

When a pocket watch is discovered in Stonerich Cavern, James comes to believe that the d’Ampton worm may be more than a legend. The watch belonged to the Trent sisters’ father, who disappeared a year earlier near Temple House, the stately home of the beautiful and seductive Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe).

The enigmatic Lady Sylvia is in fact an immortal priestess to the ancient snake god, Dionin. As James correctly predicted, the giant snake roams the caves which connect Temple House with Stonerich Cavern. Lady Sylvia steals the skull and abducts Eve Trent, intending to offer her as the latest in a long line of sacrifices to her snake-god.

Before Lady Sylvia can execute her evil plan, Angus and James rescue Eve and destroy both Lady Sylvia and the giant snake. However, Lady Sylvia bites Angus before she dies, and Angus finds himself cursed to carry on the vampiric, snake-like condition, after he finds, to his shock, that the snake anti-venom he used was actually a new form of arthritis medication he got by mistake. When Lord D’Ampton invites him for a dinner celebration, Angus sinisterly smiles and accepts his offer.

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