Jan 222017

The Lair of the White Worm is a fun and uber-campy horror-comedy from the 1980s that might not be well written, even for camp, and could’ve used some tightening of the story, yet it’s hard to say it wasn’t at least entertaining.



The Lair of the White Worm
— Collector’s Series —


Genre(s): Horror, Comedy
Lionsgate | R – 94 min. – $34.97 | January 31, 2017

Date Published: 01/22/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Ken Russell
Writer(s): Bram Stoker (novel); Ken Russell (screenplay)
Cast: Amanda Donohoe, Hugh Grant, Catherine Oxenberg, Peter Capaldi, Sammi Davis
Audio Commentaries, Featurette, Interviews, Theatrical Trailers, Still Gallery
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 30.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIE — 3.5/5

Plot Synopsis: James D’Ampton (HUGH GRANT) returns to his country castle in England. Legend has it that James’s distant ancestor once slayed the local dragon — a monstrous white worm with a fondness for the sweet flesh of virgins. The young lord dismisses the legend as folklore, until archaeology student Angus Flint (PETER CAPALDI) explores James’s property and unearths a massive reptilian skull and a pagan snake god’s ancient site of worship. When James’s virtuous girlfriend, Eve Trent (CATHERINE OXENBERG), suddenly disappears, James and Angus set out to investigate the foreboding cavern said to be the worm’s lair, where a centuries-old mystery begins to uncoil.

Quick Hit Review: I’ve heard of The Lair of the White Worm but never got the chance to see it until now. It’s a fantastic blend of 1960-era horror (especially with the sexual component) with campy comedy and while there’s very little mystery to the story, and a script (loosely based on Stoker’s book and written by director Ken Russell) that wasn’t focused very well, the fun factor makes the film so entertaining. The cast, which includes a young Hugh Grant and current Doctor Who Peter Capaldi, not to mention a trio of lovely ladies headlined by the sultry and seductive Amanda Donohoe, all turn in great performances knowing exactly what kind of movie they’re in.



This is the sixth movie in the Vestron Video Collector’s Series and comes with a glossy slip cover. The selection of features aren’t bad, but it is a shame they couldn’t get interviews with the cast members other than Sammi Davis (would’ve been especially nice to hear from Peter Capaldi or Hugh Grant).

Audio Commentaries:

  • Screenwriter/Producer/Director Ken Russell
  • Lisi Russell with Film Historian Matthew Melia

Both commentaries, including one by Ken Russell which has been missing on a variety of previous releases, offer varying perspectives on the movie with Russell giving anecdotal stories while Lisi Russell, Ken’s widowed wife, recollects on her husband with Melia serving as a decent moderator.


  • Worm Food – Special Effects Artists Geoffrey Portass, Neil Gorton and Paul Jones (27:08; HD)
  • Cutting for Ken – Editor Peter Davies (9:32; HD)
  • Mary, Mary – Actress Sammi Davis (15:42; HD)

Each of the interviewees chat about their experiences not only on the project but working with Ken Russell and just the character he was.

Trailers from Hell (2:45; HD) – Producer Dan Ireland comments over the trailer for The Lair of the White Worm.

Lastly, we get the Theatrical Trailer (2:11; HD) and a Still Gallery (2:59; HD).


VIDEO – 4.25/5

The Lair of the White Worm is presented in its original 1.78 widescreen aspect ratio and given an AVC-encoded 1080p high-definition transfer. For the most part, this is a fine looking video with good pops of color and sharp, well defined, detail throughout. If there was a flaw, there were some very minor instances of dust marks which I only noticed while getting screen captures, otherwise it’s nothing too evident.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The disc comes with a respectable DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track with crisp and clear dialogue levels throughout and when the horror picks up, especially during the finale, there is an appreciable amount of depth. It appears any hisses or pops were removed. As a movie of its age, this is a nice sounding lossless track.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Overall, The Lair of the White Worm is a fun and uber-campy horror-comedy from the 1980s that might not be well written, even for camp, and could’ve used some tightening of the story, yet it’s hard to say it wasn’t at least entertaining. This “Collector’s Series” Blu-ray released by Lionsgate offers up very good video/audio transfers and a fine selection of bonus features.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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