Saturday, October 11, 2014
31 Days of Halloween - Day 11 - Movie 2
Vincent Price's movies have always been the audio visual equivalent of comfort food for me. Even at a young age I recognized for all of his on screen villainy, there was a sly sense of humor, almost a wink to the audience to let them know it was all in good fun. Witchfinder General (1968) is a whole different animal. Set during the English Civil War, a time when the country was in upheaval, lawlessness reigned and unscrupulous men took advantage of the situation to carry out their own nefarious plans. A young soldier (Ian Ogilvy) and his fiance (Hilary Dwyer) find their lives irrevocably changed by self-appointed witchfinder, Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his sadistic assistant (Robert Russell).
This movie is extremely unpleasant and brutal, lingering on the tortures brought upon the innocent by Hopkins and his assistant. Price is not cuddly, or winking at the audience in this one. He is absolutely loathsome and irredeemable as Hopkins. This is one of his finest performances in one of his best movies, but this is no light romp through decaying manors and technicolor dungeons. This is an ugly movie that does not shy away from bringing its dark subject matter to light.