#123movies #fmovies #putlocker #gomovies #solarmovie #soap2day Watch Full Movie Online Free – 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.
Plot: England, 1645. The cruel civil war between Royalists and Parliamentarians that is ravaging the country causes an era of chaos and legal arbitrariness that allows unscrupulous men to profit by exploiting the absurd superstitions of the peasants; like Matthew Hopkins, a monster disguised as a man who wanders from town to town offering his services as a witch hunter.
Smart Tags: #witch #burned_alive #torture #priest #england #folk_horror #execution_of_an_innocent_man #innocent_person_killed #suspected_witch #accused_of_witchcraft #loosely_based_on_historical_events #hit_with_an_axe #woman_on_fire #hanging_from_a_tree #sex_scene #screaming_woman #screaming_man #rape #sex #screaming_in_pain #nudity
|6.8/10 Votes: 9,271|
|6.5 Votes: 130 Popularity: 9.32|
One of the UK’s finest horror films.
England, 1645: in the midst of civil war, opportunistic witch-finder Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his sadistic assistant John Stearne (Robert Russell) travel from village to village forcing confessions from suspected witches for both profit and personal gratification. After the pair torture and execute priest John Lowes (Rupert Davies), taking advantage of his beautiful niece Sara (the lovely Hilary Dwyer) in the process, roundhead soldier Richard (Ian Ogilvy), Sara’s fiancé, swears an oath of revenge.
The last film from British horror director Michael Reeves, whose promising career was sadly cut short at the age of 25 by an accidental overdose, Witchfinder General is a brilliant account of the barbarous acts perpetrated against so-called witches during the 17th century, supposedly all in the name of God. Benefitting from Reeves’ unflinching direction and a faultless performance by Price as a man who must surely qualify as one of cinema’s most loathsome villains, the film is not only a thoroughly effective piece of sickeningly violent horror entertainment, but is also at turns a chilling lesson on one of the darkest periods in British history, a devastating indictment of human nature, a heart-warming love story, and a satisfyingly brutal revenge drama.
Price’s performance and the themes of the film
It’s hard to describe how much better this film is on DVD than it was on video. The original score is restored and it greatly enhances the ambiguous mood of the film, perfectly complementing the stunning photography (also more impressive in widescreen). The music and the more lyrical lovemaking scenes and pastoral exterior shots serve to form a counterpoint to the brutal and harsh subject matter. One is continually being lead to question: “what kind of movie is this?” and “why am I reacting this way to what I’m seeing?” It’s possible to dismiss the film as pure exploitation but that is not my belief. I think this is a great film, and if one surrenders to it I think it’s disturbing and potentially life-altering. Yet even those who feel repulsed by the story and characters will find themselves questioning the film itself and pondering its dark message about society and individuals who take advantage of others with the sanction of society.
I think that as sadistic as the film’s images might seem, it is not a sadistic film. However the film does cross into some dangerous territory by choosing relatively attractive objects for the torture sessions of Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) and his sadistic assistant Stearne (Robert Russell). No one can deny that this is a provocative movie. But the film-makers went out of their way to establish a contrast between Hopkins and Stearne — the assistant clearly enjoys torturing women while Hopkins’ situation is more complex from a certain point of view. While his friend is a sadist, in my interpretation Hopkins himself is a psychotic who has some kind of intense repressed experiences that are leading him to do what he does (this is implied in the scene he shares with the innkeeper later in the film). As for the protagonists, extra time and effort clearly went into their conception and for the most part our focus remains on them; this is very different from most of Price’s AIP/Columbia films in which the young “lead” actors are simply window dressing, whose only purpose is to make Price seem more malignant by contrast. So I would argue that the dignity of Ogilvy and Dwyer’s performances distinguishes this film from most horror/exploitation fare. I also think there’s more depth than usual to the antagonists Price’s character and his accomplice are never shown in such a way as to make their behavior seem glamorous, but we do feel that there’s enough realism here that we can even understand why, in a climate of fear, people listened to and obeyed them. The film goes out of its way to show us how society collaborated with and encouraged Hopkins in his deeds. For example, I watched this film with 2 different people on 2 different occasions and both were shocked to see the bar-keeper intervene on behalf of Hopkins’ assistant when Richard (Oglivy) tries to kill him. So the film paints a very harsh picture of society but a convincingly optimistic picture of the individual who dares to stand up to a hypocritical culture.
So much for the controversy surrounding the film’s motives people will never agree anyway and Reeves isn’t here to speak for himself. I want to talk about Vincent Price’s acclaimed performance. It’s fascinating for me to read so many comments that refer to this as his “greatest” performance and to consider the stories that would have us believe he and Reeves did not see eye-to-eye on the style appropriate to the character. First of all, I can easily imagine that this film probably felt somewhat cheaper and more exploitative when it was being filmed than it appears when all the elements are put together. This is far from an excellent production like what Price was probably used to, but it’s a case where the director had a clear concept that becomes very powerful after editing is complete. Price had appeared in quite a few exploitation films and by “hamming it up” Price managed to make such material more palatable for the audience and, one imagines, himself. But Price had never worked with Reeves before, and if Reeves truly had simply been making an exploitation/torture film (i.e. “Olga’s Girls”, “Ilsa the She-Wolf of the SS”, etc.) then performing the role in a straightforward way would be an unmitigated disaster, and an embarrassing one. For a performance like Price’s in this film to work, the director must balance all the other performers’ energy to complement it as a whole — and Reeves has indeed accomplished that here.
So was it his “greatest” performance? I would argue that it’s not nearly as difficult to pull off such a straight role as it is to really nail “camp humor,” as Price did in films like “The Tingler” and “The Raven,” because to do that one must basically give 2 performances (humorous and scary) at the same time. Now that’s not to say that just anybody could do what Price did in “Witchfinder,” but for an actor of his experience and style it was relatively easy and probably relatively dull to play (which might be part of the reason he argued with Reeves). But within the context of the complete film, one could easily argue that it’s a more powerful, disturbing, and effective performance than anything he accomplished in those less serious films. So while I don’t feel that his performance is on a “higher level” than his previous and subsequent work, I can’t deny its strength and dignity which really distinguish it from much of his work.
The whole picture has a unique look and an integrity of concept and execution which makes it a masterpiece. Its conclusion has more despair and tragedy than a film noir. The audience probably cheers as Richard attacks Hopkins but the cheering dies down to an awkward moment of horror and reflection when he just keeps hacking… and hacking . Truly one of the most disturbing conclusions in film history.
Original Language en
Runtime 1 hr 26 min (86 min)
Genre Biography, Drama, Horror
Director Michael Reeves
Writer Tom Baker (screenplay), Michael Reeves (screenplay), Louis M. Heyward (additional scenes), Ronald Bassett (novel)
Actors Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Rupert Davies, Hilary Heath
Country UK, USA
Awards 1 win & 2 nominations.
Production Company Tigon Pictures
Sound Mix Mono
Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1
Laboratory Perfect Film Laboratory (uncredited)
Film Length 2,230 m (Sweden)
Negative Format 35 mm
Cinematographic Process Spherical
Printed Film Format 35 mm