Sunday, August 16, 2009

Witchfinder General (1968)

Witchfinder General (1968)
Starring Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins,Witchfinder General.
Directed by Michael Reeves.
86 mins. Colour
DVD from MGM (Midnite Movies Collection)

"LO! 't is a gala night/Within the lonesome latter years./An angel throng, bewinged, bedight/In veils, and drowned in tears,/Sit in a theatre to see/A play of hopes and fears,/While the orchestra breathes fitfully/The music of the spheres."
"Out-out are the lights-out all!/And over each quivering form/The curtain, a funeral pall,/Comes down with the rush of a storm,/While the angels, all pallid and wan,/Uprising, unveiling, affirm/That the play is the tragedy, 'Man,'/And its hero, the Conqueror Worm."
Known as The Conqueror Worm in the US (AIP was trying to tie the film into their popular Edgar Allen Poe films)a few lines of Poe added at the beginning and end and you all of Mr. Poe's involvement.
Set during the times of the English Civil War the film follows Matthew Hopkins on witch finding duties of cruel torture and executions of the "guilty". The film can still shock after 41 years and dosen't flinch away from the horrors of the times.
This is one of my favorite Vincent Price films and seems his too, he under plays the character of Hopkins (who was a real person and Witchfinder). Excellent direction by Reeves and a great English cast : Ian Ogilvy, Nicky Henson, Rupert Davies,Bernard Kay, to name a few.
I recommend this film highly. Not sure if the DVD is still in print but grab it if you can.

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