Horror 101 Podcast – Episode 32: The Witchfinder General

Episode XXXII: The Witchfinder General – April 7th, 2014

“There’s lots of screaming when there’s this much at stake…”

Join the Horror 101 team as we visit the 60s to present a very dark film starring Vincent Price. The Witchfinder General is a dramatisation of the real Matthew Hopkins, a 17th century British heretic slayer. In a time when country folk superstition was a powerful factor in politics, men like Hopkins thrived on their fears and many paid a hellish price from the whims of evil men. This is a film laced with savagery and debauchery. We’ll discuss why this is Price’s most severe performance and how him and his director Michael Reeves were always at odds during it’s production. How did a film with such a meager budget become such a sensation and pave the way for the morbid, dour films which followed it’s path in the 70s.

SHOW HIGHLIGHTS:

1:40 The year is 1968 (the drunken coin toss)…
4:00 Matthew Hopkins in the year of 1645…
5:04 The opening gallows…
6:00 The oath of a naive fool…
7:30 Here comes Vincent Price (queue the horns!)…
9:15 Either you drown or you hang (a most fair test)…
10:45 We’ve never seen Vincent Price like this…
13:35 It’s very much like an Old Western (Fuck you sheep!)…
15:37 The ridiculous accusations…
16:45 Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight…
18:00 The film begins and ends….with screaming.
20:00 The influence of Witchfinder General…
22:38 The last film of Director Michael Reeves…
24:27 The camera of John Coquillon (revisiting Changeling)
26:56 Scoring the film and final thoughts…
31:00 Conclusion

The Witchfinder General (1968)
Directed by: Michael Reeves
Based on the novel by Ronald Bassett

Starring:

Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins
Ian Ogilvy as Richard Marshall
Hilary Heath as Sara (as Hilary Dwyer)
Robert Russell as John Stearne
Rupert Davies as John Lowes
Patrick Wymark as Cromwell
Tony Selby as Salter

Director of Photography: John Coquillon

All video, pictures and audio used from The Witchfinder General is copyright © 1968 by Tigon British Film Productions and American International Productions

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