6.9/10
7,112
139 user 125 critic

The Conqueror Worm (1968)

Witchfinder General (original title)
Unrated | | Biography, Drama, Horror | May 1968 (UK)
A young soldier seeks to put an end to the evils caused by a vicious witch hunter.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Horror thriller set in 17th century England about the children of a village slowly converting into a coven of devil worshipers.

Director: Piers Haggard
Stars: Patrick Wymark, Linda Hayden, Barry Andrews
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A European prince terrorizes the local peasantry while using his castle as a refuge against the "Red Death" plague that stalks the land.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Hazel Court, Jane Asher
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A man's obsession with his dead wife drives a wedge between him and his new bride.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Elizabeth Shepherd, John Westbrook
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Aristocrat Julian Markham keeps his disfigured brother, Sir Edward, locked in a tower of his house. Sir Edward occasionally escapes and causes havoc around the town.

Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Rupert Davies
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In the countryside of England, the Duc de Richleau a.k.a Nicholas welcomes his old friend Rex Van Ryn that has flown to meet him and Simon Aron, who is the son of an old friend of them that... See full summary »

Director: Terence Fisher
Stars: Christopher Lee, Charles Gray, Nike Arrighi
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

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 »

Director: Gordon Hessler
Stars: Vincent Price, Essy Persson, Hilary Heath
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the sixteenth century, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to clarify the strange circumstances of his sister's death after she had married the son of a cruel Spanish Inquisitor.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, John Kerr
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Charles Dexter Ward arrives at a small village to visit the house he inherited from his ancestor who died there 100 years ago.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Debra Paget, Lon Chaney Jr.
Comedy | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A Shakespearean actor takes poetic revenge on the critics who denied him recognition.

Director: Douglas Hickox
Stars: Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Upon entering his fiancée's family mansion, a man discovers a savage family curse and fears that his future brother-in-law has entombed his bride-to-be prematurely.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Mark Damon, Myrna Fahey
Comedy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Three tales of terror involve a grieving widower and the daughter he abandoned; a drunkard and his wife's black cat; and a hypnotist who prolongs the moment of a man's death.

Director: Roger Corman
Stars: Vincent Price, Maggie Pierce, Leona Gage
Horror

A witch hunter in 17th century England is responsible for the death of hundreds of women. A remake of the 1968 film, 'The Conqueror Worm'.

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Richard Marshall
...
John Lowes
Hilary Heath ...
Sara (as Hilary Dwyer)
...
John Stearne
Nicky Henson ...
Swallow
Tony Selby ...
Salter
...
Fisherman
Godfrey James ...
Webb
Michael Beint ...
Capt. Gordon
John Trenaman ...
Harcourt (as John Treneman)
Bill Maxwell ...
Gifford
Paul Ferris ...
Paul (as Morris Jar)
Maggie Kimberly ...
Elizabeth
Peter Haigh ...
Lavenham Magistrate
Edit

Storyline

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 <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There's lots of screaming when there's this much at stake! See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

May 1968 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Matthew Hopkins: Conqueror Worm  »

Box Office

Budget:

$175,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

A completely new score was written for the US video release by Kendall Schmidt. See more »

Goofs

The film, set in 1645, talks of "Cromwell's Roundheads" and depicts Cromwell as commander-in-chief and leading the Army at the Battle of Naseby. In fact, Oliver Cromwell was not a founder member of the Parliamentarian ('Roundhead') movement. He was still only second-in-command at the time of Naseby (under Sir Thomas Fairfax), and would not become commander-in-chief until 1650, and even then was still subject to the will of Parliament. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[United States Conqueror Worm versions]
Matthew Hopkins: [voiceover] 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."
See more »

Connections

Featured in Movie Macabre: The Conqueror Worm (1982) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Probably not as gruesome as the real thing, but gruesome enough.
27 October 2002 | by (Northfield, MN) – See all my reviews

Matthew Hopkins was a self proclaimed Witchfinder who started his career in 1644 in Essex, England. In a three year career he is estimated to have killed between 200 and 400 "witches". The Witchfinder General (The Conqueror Worm) is a movie based on his success as a prosecutor of witches.

Witchfinder General is an interesting movie in that it is part horror, part melodrama, part historical epic. Vincent Price has one of his finest and most effective roles ever as Matthew Hopkins in this 1968 British Classic. The movie was renamed The Conqueror Worm for U.S. audiences to try and take advantage of Price's fame from Roger Corman's Edgar Allen Poe inspired series of movies. Except for reading part of the poem The Conqueror Worm during the ending credits, the movie has nothing to do with Poe.

The basic story is common enough for this sub-genre of horror movies: There is an abusive official who accuses and prosecutes alleged witches for his own personal gain and personal power trips. There are two other fine British films from this time period that deal with the same subject matter, The Devils by Kurt Russell and Mark of the Devil starring Herbert Lom. All three are well made and effective, but Witchfinder General is the darkest of the bunch. The tortures are all brutal and unnerving to watch and there is a lot of screaming in this movie. Price plays Hopkins as overbearing and cold bloodedly cruel. He allows a woman to submit to him sexually to prevent someone from being killed, then tortures and murders the guy anyway, and then later has her tortured and murdered for being a witch. What a guy!

The director of this movie was the young and upcoming Michael Reeves who unfortunately committed suicide in 1969, not long after this movie was released. There was a well known feud of sorts between Reeves and the star, Vincent Price. At one point Price is reputed to have said to the 25 year old director: "I have made over 70 films, what have you done?" with a reply from Reeves: "I have made three good ones". Perhaps the tension between director and star helped to make this the dark and humorless film that it is. Even 34 years after it's release, it still holds up as a beautifully made movie that hardly looks of feels dated at all. The period movies that Price was making with Roger Corman a few years before this film was made, while still excellent in many respects, are obviously a product of the 60's.

Unfortunately this movie has not been released in the U.S. on dvd. There is a British release that includes a documentary on Michael Reeves, but for now in America all we have is the MGM midnight movie video release. This film also appears on AMC now and again, and in fact, I just watched it on that channel yesterday.


57 of 62 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?