TV raised Angela Englert, so she’s a lot like one of those Junkion robots from the Transformers movie, including the Weird Al soundtrack. She loves genre stuff. She hates Oscar bait. Her party trick is reciting Dr. Loomis’s lines from the Halloween movies. You can follow her inevitable downward spiral on Twitter, @mechaangela.
This is a movie about sex. That’s not too surprising; most human endeavor is about sex – getting it, having it, cleaning up afterwards so you don’t get itchy or divorced. But this movie is really about sex a lot, more than most in fact, and it doesn’t try to be cute about it. If anything it tries to be cute about not being cute about it being about sex. But I digress. This movie is about sex.
We open on a yawning cavern in the face of a mountain with splashy script titles in Hammer Horror red (pantone 762) after someone hit the “horror movie soundtrack demo” button on a Yamaha keyboard. Nothing else happens for a couple minutes, but so mood, much ominous. This is clearly a very important hole.
Next, a Scottish Egon Spengler shouts for joy; in about 85 minutes, you’ll recognize this is Peter Capaldi, TV’s Doctor Who, but not yet. He’s too dewy and friendly. Peter is playing Angus, student archeologist and for my money, the real hero of this film, no matter if Hugh Grant is on the cover because he’s more handsome and famous. Angus dug up a huge skull of some kind, dinosaur maybe, and he’s never seen a horror movie because he’s really happy about it. Angus tells sisters Eve and Mary, who run the bed and breakfast he’s apparently excavating, and then they go to a party, like you do.
At the party, an ersatz Dexy’s Midnight Runners tell us the local legend of the D’Ampton Wyrm in song, while the locals act out the ritual killing of the wyrm — i.e. dragon, i.e. big-ass snake – with raucous line dancing antics. Hugh Grant joins the cast as James, the young lord of the manor, descendant of Sir John D’Ampton what slew the worm of legend. Then our couples pair off, and we follow Angus and Mary as they take a scary misty shortcut through the woods back to the bed and breakfast.
Mary relates to Angus how her parents disappeared taking this very shortcut home from the pub on a night very like this. (Boo!) Angus senses weakness and zooms in for the snog. Mid-snog, they catch sight of a long, silvery car snaking its way through the dark with dimmed headlights. Mood’s gone, Angus. They arrive back at the bed and breakfast to discover policeman Ernie, who’s pretty much the Andy and the Barney of this sleepy village, waiting with Mary’s Dad’s watch, recently discovered in Stonerich Cavern. That’s that hole we looked at for a couple minutes earlier.
At this point, Ernie goes to check out where Mary and Angus saw the spooky car. Strange cars at night must be a local ordinance violation or something. He’s instantly bitten by a snake and surprised by Lady Sylvia, Amanda Donohoe eating the scenery with fork and knife and a lot of tongue, who has returned to her estate after wintering…somewhere, doesn’t matter. Anyway, Lady Sylvia is wicked and sexy and would straight up short out Beavis and Butthead with all her dirty double entendres. She treats Ernie’s snakebite with her mouth.
The next day, Lady Sylvia sneaks into the bed and breakfast and steals the skull while Mary and Angus are searching for remnants of Mary’s dad, and I guess all the other guests are antiquing or something else pastoral and English. On her way out, she takes a moment to projectile spit venom onto a crucifix. When James finally brings Eve home after a night of “dancing,” Eve touches the venom and has a bad trip like gangbusters, full of over-saturated colors and Roman soldiers raping nuns.
Lady Sylvia, it will surprise no one, is the immortal vampire-like priestess of an ancient snake god cult that venerates the D’Ampton Wyrm, and she’s back to get the skull Angus found and sacrifice some dim blondes while she’s at it. You have to admire how fast she got on that skull getting thing. She must get snake god skull unearthing alerts directly to her inbox. (If I were Lady Sylvia, that would be a dirty joke.)
First though, there’s a fun scene where she seduces a boy scout with sacrificial results. Then she meets James, who seems a little suspicious, but then maybe he’s just mesmerized by her thigh high boots. That scene kind of meanders into her kissing him. Make with the snakes, movie. Come on.
James goes home and pretty much has clues to the entire mystery waiting for him in his luxurious bedroom suite. It’s like his house is one of those point and click computer games from the 90’s. Then he has a Skinimax-grade dream featuring Mary, Eve, and Lady Sylvia that doesn’t actually involve nudity, but somehow would be less sexual if it did. James wakens with a clue and…probably something else. He does have his randy butler give him his coffee in bed.
I won’t spoil the rest of it, but there’s plenty of snake charming, snake handling, snake spitting, snake splitting, snake biting, and snakebite sucking as James and Angus work to save their girlfriends from the mystery of Stonerich Cavern and its white worm. If you’re iffy on snakes, there’s only two actual snakes in it. One is unseen and the other is a pretty cute FX monster. It’s loads of fun, with plenty of dark humor, dirty wordplay, leather lingerie, and satisfying gory bits. For a movie with so much biting, it really, really doesn’t. You should check it out.
Watch the trailer to “Lair of the White Worm”