The Lair of the White Worm

WhiteWormTitleAmanda Donahoe as Lady Sylvia Marsh
Hugh Grant as Lord Jame D’ampton
Catherine Oxenburg as Eve Trent
Peter Capaldi as Angus Flint
Sammi Davis as Mary Trent

Horror movies have always been extremely plentiful. Why? Well, for one thing you don’t need a high budget. You just need makeup for your monster (in fact, in the case of slashers with ordinary villains, you don’t even need that). Since these films tend to be built around camerawork and direction aimed at scaring the viewer, acting is not all that important, either. Finally, you really don’t need much of a plot.

In short, horror opens the door wide for cheesy, easily made movies that require little effort. That’s why there are so many of them.

Is that a giant snake or a Disneyland automoton?

Is that a giant snake or a Disneyland automaton?

The Lair of the White Worm is an example of this. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not particularly good. It is a plain, low-budgeted horror movie.

The antagonist of this film is Lady Sylvia Marsh, supernatural priestess of snake god Dionin. She kidnaps young people and sacrifices them to Dionin. That’s basically the whole plot.

Now that's a pleasant sight...

Now that’s a pleasant sight…

The acting is actually not so bad. Amanda Donahoe makes a pretty convincing religious fanatic and villainous and is quite into the role. A young Hugh Grant gives us a taste of things to come for his career. Catherine Oxenburg is alright as the primary victim.

This film is an odd combination of humor and horror. Both work reasonably well. The jokes are particularly funny. One example is where Sylvia has a victim paralyzed in her home and  is starting the obligatory evil speech about how this guy will be a worthy sacrifice when the doorbell rings, to which Sylvia says, “Shit!” and kills the victim in a quick, undramatic way.

WhiteWorm3

Interruptions really kill your thunder, don’t they?

The horror isn’t quite as well-done. Sylvia’s acting makes for a scary villainess, but the shooting isn’t nearly as refined. This movie is sometimes scary, sometimes not.

The biggest problem is that, true to form, there’s so little to the plot. Other than some kills to build Sylvia up as a dangerous character, there’s not much there. No real twists and turns. It, along with the dialogue, are about as generic as they come.

So The Lair of the White Worm is just not a good movie, though by no means bad. It would be worth a rental, but in the theater? Don’t know about that.

Overall: 6 out of 10

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