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Witchfinder General (1968) – Classic Review

Witchfinder General - WideMade in 1968 this is, in my opinion, one of the finest horror movies ever put on celluloid. Co-produced and released by British Tigon Productions, directed by Michael Reeves with a screenplay by both he and Tom Baker (no, not that Tom Baker) and based on the novel of the same name by Ronald Basset which in itself is a heavily fictionalized account of the Matthew Hopkins story.

Witchfinder General - Vincent PriceSet in 1645 during the height of the English Civil War it tells the brutal tale of the lawyer and self-styled Witchfinder General, here played by Vincent Price in a career defining performance.   Along with his assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) he delivers brutal and murderous acts upon those accused of witchcraft in the villages he visits.  The film also stars a young Ian Ogilvy in an early role as a Roundhead whose fiancé has been brutally raped by John Stearne  whilst her father is tortured and killed for witchcraft.

Criticized and censored at the time of its release for its brutal violence it has been recognised since as a defining point in horror and garnered a large cult following, mainly because the director Michael Reeves died a year later at the young age of 25.

So why should you watch it? As well as containing some genuinely chilling moments and plenty of gut wrenching and bloody acts of violence this is a film in which Vincent Price himself felt he delivered his finest performance and I personally place this as one of the greatest British horror movies of the last 50 years.   Watch this movie and remember that not all monsters are supernatural.

Witchfinder General - Movie Poster

Witchfinder General (1968) - DVD Cover

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