Really weird fantasy film

I remember seeing it as a kid (mid 90s, colour).  I don’t remember much, but I do remember a few details.

1. There was a worm or bug that would burrow into people through the foot, and work its way through their body until it finally killed them.

2. When people were about to die, they would hear the sea singing to them (I seem to recall that everyone present could hear it, not just the person dying. Also not sure if that was death in general, or just death by foot-worm).

3. There were doctors who would operate on people with “magic” gloves that would allow them to reach into people’s bodies without making incisions – there was some sort of training involved, and one of the main characters failed to save someone’s life because he couldn’t get the gloves to penetrate the patient’s skin.

4. It was set in a Victorian-esque setting, with horse drawn carriages

5. There was a firm divide between an area of permanent darkness and an area of light (can’t remember if the light area ever experienced night, but the dark one would never get day)

6. There was a scene where a king (or some such prominent royalty/courtier) was assassinated by having one of the aforementioned worms inserted into his food while he was sleeping (incidentally, this is the reason I cannot to this day sleep without my feet covered. As a kid this movie freaked me out, so no matter how hot it is, my feet must be covered.)

7. I remember a conversation in a carriage about weather balloons.  I think that was near the beginning, and I have this idea that the main character is from a “normal” reality and this magical place is just as weird to him as it is to the audience.


Thank you for any help.

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