Published on April 9th, 2014 | by James Lomond

Watch Peter Capaldi In Lair of the White Worm

Guardian journalist, Peter Walker has flagged up one corker of a cinematic train-wreck featuring our incumbent Time Lord. Peter Capaldi starred as a young Scots Archeologist in 1988’s semi-comedic horror flick, Lair of the White Worm from director Ken Russell. I haven’t seen it. But the trailer left me speechless.

Walker sums up the plot:

…[it] revolves around an ancient monster, as much dragon as snake, which intermittently emerges from its cavern in the Derbyshire hills to feed on humans, and is hunted down by an alarmingly young-looking, floppy-haired Peter Capaldi and Hugh Grant.

He is very clear – it’s atrocious but he loves it anyway. From someone with a soft spot for Time and the Rani I can see where he’s coming from. It’s clearly bonkers, hyper-camp nonsense on a shoestring (sound familiar?) with baffled actors either playing it straight or abandoning all hope and just having a laugh.

The Guardian features a tidied-up modern trailer, but I prefer this one complete with the zany song detailing the local legend of the White Worm. You’ve gotta love a film that sets these lyrics to folk-rock:

“Now the worm got fat and good and growed an awful size, with great big teeth and a great big mouth and great big goggle eyes…”

Check it out:

Forgive me a little musing but there’s something a bit Who about the whole thing – mysterious skulls, ancient monsters haunting moors and modern-day scientist heroes battling local lunatics. This is straight out of Hinchcliffe era Doctor Who – you even wonder whether one Alan Barnes had this in mind when he penned Big Finish’s Trail of the White Worm set in the “wilds of Derbyshire”…

The whole film is available on YouTube (as you can see at the top of the page) and a sneak-peek tells me that fans of Kinda will enjoy the dramatic climax. Be warned though, if you go looking for other Ken Russell material there is some weird, saucy stuff out there that should come with a parental advisory warning. Have fun on the Derbyshire hills!


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8 Responses to Watch Peter Capaldi In Lair of the White Worm

  1. avatar TonyS says:

    When Pater Capaldi was announced as the next Doctor, instead of watching The Thick of It, I watched Lair of the White Worm. It is not a train wreck. It is a somewaht caricatured Ken Russell film but great fun. I watch it quite often… but only for the articles!

  2. The Lair of the White Worm is a classic… if you’re straight, male and a fan of Amanda Donohoe. I have very fond memories of it from my student days, and I’m delighted that you’ve posted a YouTube link as it’s not currently available on DVD. Starburst’s film critic Alan Jones gave it a rave review at the time. It’s Ken Russell campery at its finest. “Ooh, me spotted dick!”

    The song that you mention is actually an old folk song from North East England, based on the legend of the Lambton Worm (look it up). I vaguely recall that they changed the name to the D’Ampton worm for that scene and took out all the Geordie-isms. Hmm, must watch the film again to remind myself…

    • meheheh. I bought it on youtube. And I’m a girl.

      OH. MY. GOD.

      Camp. camp. camp. AND suicidally hilarious win.

  3. avatar lozzer says:

    I remember watching this late one night in the 90′s. I was surprised then at how much I enjoyed it. If you like Hammer Horror, Doctor Who and other such nonsense, which we all clearly do – then you’ll find something to love in this film. It’s no more bonkers than much of what we get in Doctor Who.

  4. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    We forget that Capaldi used to be in a rock band— that is him singing the theme.

  5. avatar Al says:

    What’s amazing is Lair of the WW (which I saw years ago and, yeah, if you are a Donohoe fan, watch it for sure) is an adaptation of a Bram Stoker novel. Which probably goes a long way towards explaining why we only know Stoker for Dracula.

  6. avatar TonyS says:

    The novel of Lair of the White Worm isn’t too bad. Neither is Jewel of the Seven Stars (filmed as Blood From The Mummy’s Tomb, among others). But Dracula just blows them both out of the water.

  7. avatar Alan Barnes says:

    ‘you even wonder whether one Alan Barnes had this in mind when he penned Big Finish’s Trail of the White Worm set in the “wilds of Derbyshire…’

    Rumbled! *Love* this film. Like pickled earthworms in aspic, not to everyone’s taste, but I love it.

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