I’m not the artsy type who appreciates movies at a level above and beyond mere entertainment. Given that fact, you’d think that news of director Ken Russell’s death would pass me by, unnoticed. His films, after all, are bizarre, twisted, dark and perverse — none of which I find particularly interesting. And yet…. I have a silly story about a Ken Russell movie and me.
Back in 1988, my friend said to me, “Let’s go see a movie.” I thought that was a good idea. She expanded on it. “There’s a new Kurt [sic] Russell movie called Lair of the White Worm, based on a Bram Stoker book. Kurt Russell is the guy who was in all those Disney movies, so this should be nice.”
We went, and I think our brains exploded. Lair of the White Worm was not a Disney-style family friendly Victorian adventure movie. Instead, it was a hallucinogenic, blood-saturated, really disgusting horror movie. We should have walked out, but my friend and I were each too polite, as we thought the other might be entertained. It was only the next day at work that someone enlightened us, explaining the difference between Ken and Kurt Russell.
That movie also marked the first time I’d ever seen Hugh Grant. He’d already perfected his slightly bumbling, stuttering, upper-class role then, and was, I thought, charming.