We strongly recommend getting the just released ARTISAN remastering of “THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM”. While we’re frequently disappointed at this studio’s decision to release films without letterboxing, this is an instance, where, even without 16:9 enhancement, they deserve credit.
To begin with, Ken Russell’s “THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM” is fun! While it still offers some visually kinetic moments, Russell has appropriately pulled in the reigns on his penchant for creating acid-like impressions, and has made this horror film, loosely based on Bram Stoker’s tale, accessible for the masses. It’s actually one of Russell’s better films. Sure, it’s camp, but at least when there are laughs, they’re intentional this time!!!
A large portion of the film is set in “real-time”, creating a well-paced atmosphere, and even bigger shock value. When an archaeologist uncovers the skull of a giant snake, he’s certain a cult of snake worshipers exist. The archaeologist and his rich friend, Hugh Grant suspect the one most likely to be in charge of the snake cult is Lady Sylvia Marsh. Marsh is played by Amanda Donohoe, and she’s perfect, exuding both sexuality and danger, within the same scenes! Woe be to the poor traveler or young male youth, unlucky enough to stumble upon her lair, as is the case in one chilling scene early on in the film. Lady Marsh has big, evil plans, including a virgin sacrifice to a giant snake. This also gives good reason for Catherine Oxenberg to appear, and she, even with little to do, is fine.
“THE LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM” succeeds grandly at what it aspires to do, …entertain!
ARTISAN has presented the film with its proper 1.77:1 aspect ratio. It’s not anamorphic, but the image is solid. Colors appear consistently sharp. While colors aren’t ever vibrant, it’s obvious Russell wasn’t going for that color scheme, and they’re never muted. Contrast is excellent, offering deep blacks and grays for better detail in dark moments. Fleshtones appear natural.
ARTISAN has presented a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. There’s little in the way of surround, but there’s plenty of separation within the front soundstage. Dialogue is always intelligible and free from distortion.