Witchfinder General (The Conqueror Worm) (1968)

witchfinder general poster 1968 the conqueror worm vincent price
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Vincent Price, surprisingly violent

Cheap look to the movie

 
Movie Info

Movie Name: Witchfinder General (The Conqueror Worm)

Studio: Tigon British Film Productions

Genre(s): Horror/Drama

Release Date(s): August 14, 1968

MPAA Rating:  Unrated

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Lets find us some witches!

Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) travel the English countryside in during the English Civil War in 1645 and seek out witches.  Hopkins abuse of his power and title leads to the death of a village priest and the corruption of his niece Sara (Hillary Dwyer) who offers herself to Hopkins to save herself.  The incident ignites the rage of her fiance Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy) who sets out to end Hopkins reign of terror.

Directed by Michael Reeves, Witchfinder General was also known as The Conqueror Worm in the United States.  It was an attempt to bank on Vincent Price’s string of adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories but had nothing to do with the 1845 poem by Poe.  The movie was also the last film of the up-and-coming director Michael Reeves who died of a drug overdose shortly after the film’s release.

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Burn witch, burn!

The story of Witchfinder General is loosely based on the real exploits of Matthew Hopkins (1620AD-1647AD) who was a witchhunter in England who claimed to have a title bestowed upon him by Parliament.  He was known for getting people to confess to witchcraft through torturous techniques.  That is about the extent of the movie’s ties however.

Witchfinder General is a bit different than a lot of Price’s roles…There really is nothing supernatural going on in the movie.  Price allegedly didn’t get along well with Reeves and there were some troubles on the set of the film (Price was supposedly was forced on Reeves due to his popularity), but it is one of Price’s better roles because he shows more control than normal over his hammy acting and he allegedly acknowledged that it was one of his best performances.

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Witches use swords? Now you’re really stretching it Hopkins!

Witchfinder General is that it is pretty violent at times.  It is dark, and it ends dark.  The torture scenes are pretty strong and this led to a bit of controversy.  The movie was ordered cut by the British Board of Film Censors and multiple versions of the movie exist since some countries didn’t require the editing.

If you are a fan of Price, Witchfinder General is a bit darker and more sinister than some of his other roles.  Price always seemed to play more for camp, and this film is not as campy as some of films he is better known for.  With a unique setting, different story, and a darker look, Witchfinder General (or The Conqueror Worm) is worth seeking out!

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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