The Hugh Grant Horror Comedy Everyone Forgot, Stream Now Without Netflix

By Brian Myers | Updated

The 1990s saw the rise of rom-com actor Hugh Grant, beginning with the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral. But before the Nine Months star was a hot commodity with U.S. movie studios, the British performer starred in a screen adaptation of one of horror’s greatest novelists. The Lair of the White Worm, based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Bram Stoker, casts Grant as the Lord of an English manor that tries to unravel and reverse a centuries-old cult that worships an ancient snake.

Co-Stars A Future Dr. Who

The terror in The Lair of the White Worm begins when a visiting archaeology student makes a startling discovery at the site of a former convent in the English countryside. Near the modern bed and breakfast that sits on the property, Angus Flint (Peter Capaldi) unearths what appears to be the skull from an unknown species of giant serpent. A scholarly lad, Angus connects the dots from the discovery back to an old legend about what locals call the d’Ampton worm.

Hugh Grant Solves A Family Mystery

The d’Ampton worm is said to be a giant snake that was eventually hunted down by the ancestor of the current Lord of the Manor. James d’Ampton is well-versed in the local lore and his family’s connection to it. The Lair of the White Worm sees James (Hugh Grant) make a startling discovery that leads him to believe that the legend is a reality that continues to exist under everyone’s noses.

After James discovers a watch that belonged to the father of the two sisters running the bed and breakfast, he recalls that the man had disappeared without a trace a year before near the home of Lady Sylvia Marsh (Amanda Donohoe). The Lair of the White Worm reveals that Lady Sylvia secretly worships an ancient snake deity known as Dionin, a creature that gives her great powers.

Evil Cults And Ancient Gods

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The Lair of the White Worm has Lady Sylvia show her true colors as she breaks into James’s Manor to steal the skull of Dionin, hissing and spitting venom from her fanged mouth at a crucifix hanging on the wall. Lady Sylvia is also shown luring in victims and killing them with deadly bites from her elongated incisors, killing some and placing others under her spell.

Lady Sylvia and the giant snake are soon roaming the countryside as the snake-woman begins to amass more human sacrifices to Dionin. A horrifying sequence of events leads to James to face off with the two antagonists in a final battle to save the lives of his community and rid the world of the evil once and for all.

Features Solid Performances For A Campy Horror

The Lair of the White Worm shows solid performances from Amanda Donohoe and Hugh Grant, the latter of whom showing that he is more than capable of the two-dimensional rom coms he is later attributed for. Donohoe is especially effective as Lady Sylvia, capable of immeasurable charm and using her sex appeal and guile in ways that are convincing on screen.

Available To Stream On Multiple Services

the lair of the white worm


Director Ken Russell doesn’t disappoint either. The filmmaker who brought audiences Tommy, Gothic, and The Devils brings out every necessary detail outlined in the screenplay he adapted from both Stoker’s novel and the old English folk tale of the Lambton Worm.

Chilling makeup and special effects mastery conjure up a realistic, giant snake as well as a memorable transformation of the beautiful Donohoe into a venom-spitting heathen.

You can stream The Lair of the White Worm for free with Tubi and Roku or rent it On Demand through Prime, Vudu, Google Play, and AppleTV.