In Elizabethan England, a wicked lord massacres nearly all the members of a coven of witches, earning the enmity of their leader, Oona. Oona calls up a magical servant, a "banshee", to ... See full summary »
A young woman is driving alongside a lake. She has an accident and the car plunges into the water. Her body is then possessed by the spirit of an 18th-century witch who was killed by local ... See full summary »
The great hypnotist Professor Montserrat has developed a technique for controlling the minds, and sharing the sensations, of his subjects. He and his wife Estelle test the technique on Mike... See full summary »
Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the brutest torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died ... See full summary »
Simon Cordier is a well-respected magistrate who visits a condemned prisoner, Louis Girot, just before the man's execution. Girot again pleads his innocence insisting that he has been taken... See full summary »
Reginald Le Borg
England is torn in civil strife as the Royalists battle the Parliamentary Party for control. This conflict distracts people from rational thought and allows unscrupulous men to gain local power by exploiting village superstitions. One of these men is Matthew Hopkins, who tours the land offering his services as a persecutor of witches. Aided by his sadistic accomplice John Stearne, he travels from city to city and wrenches confessions from "witches" in order to line his pockets and gain sexual favors. When Hopkins persecutes a priest, he incurs the wrath of Richard Marshall, who is engaged to the priest's niece. Risking treason by leaving his military duties, Marshall relentlessly pursues the evil Hopkins and his minion Stearne. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
When the camera zooms in on Hopkins on horseback at the start of the opening titles, a wooden telegraph pole and wires can briefly be seen in the background on the left. See more »
[United States Conqueror Worm versions]
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."
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Controversial At The Time But Disappointing When Viewed Today
It's impossible to comment on Michael Reeves movie WITCHFINDER GENERAL without mentioning the outright condemnation it received from critics on its initial release , or rather the condemnation of the " sickening and cruel violence " . Watching it today I'm slightly puzzled as to what peoples problems were at the time but then I thought about it . In 1968 no one had seen the gory video nasties from the 1980s and Vincent Price was best known for starring in rather camp horror B movies , so I guess you'd have to live in the context of 1968 to understand the controversy
There's another thing and that is it's always billed as a "horror film" when broadcast on television but was WITCHFINDER GENERAL originally marketed as a horror film in 1968 ? Stylewise it is similar to a Hammer horror - The cast are composed of familiar television faces , there's day for night filming , the budget is rather similar to a Hammer movie at the time etc but is it meant to be a bio pic ? was it originally intended as a historical drama ? Unfortunately this where the movie fails because there's not much in the way of historical truth , Matthew Hopkins did indeed exist , he wasn't a mythical figure he was a cynical murdering mercenary who condemned people as witches in order to make a load of money but he didn't meet his fate as shown here . It's believed he emigrated to America when the resentment in England got too much for him and carried on torturing suspects
There are a couple of good aspects to the movie . First of all Vincent Price gives what is regarded as his best performance and it is fairly impressive though he could have played the role in an even more cynical manner and parts of the script do pick up on the ridiculous trials of the time such as if a suspect is thrown into a river and drowns they're not a witch ! But even if you watch the restored version ( That's the version where the picture quality drops during violent scenes ) you still find yourself asking why it was so controversial in 1968
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