One the best Vincent Price movies ever made! This has become a new personal favorite Price film for me. Honestly everything about this movie, was amazing. And now after watching this masterpiece for Halloween i`d like to be a Witchfinder.
Beginning with the films story, it is a masterpiece the story revolves around a couple characters really, but one being Matthew Hopkins the Witchfinder General played stunningly good by Vincent Price. But this Matthew Hopkins character uses his power as a witch hunter, basically just goes from village to village torturing "confessions" of witchcraft out of people before killing them and then getting paid by the city Magistrate for his services. So he`s just exploiting peoples fears and torturing and killing innocents just so he can get paid a big sum of money. But you want to know what also`s really scary about this whole thing? Crap like this really happened in the 16th Century England! I never really thought much about those mock witch trails until I saw this. It really shows the whole narrative in a scary and brutal light. The whole idea of this movie was so real and terrifying to me, I was completely in awe of it.
Then the movie gets even better, it has a sub plot of this solider who's out to kill Hopkins, because Hopkins and his partner raped his wife, while also torturing and then hanging her uncle because he was suspected so how of being in league with witch's and dark magic. The finale of the movie were they confront each other was insane, not what you would expect at all. To add on to all that this movies packed with awesome scenes, like were they literally lower a girl accused of witchcraft into a fire while shes tied to a crucifix, and have her just get engulfed in flames, all the while her husband screams her name while being forced to watch her burn to death. Then there is the finale that is just mind blowing I won`t spoil it but i`ll give you the last lines spoken in the movie" Let God forgive us". And then just all the torture scenes are just so brutal and scary.
Now as for the acting, Vincent Price was absolutely brilliant in his role as the Witchfinder general. He was sinister, evil, and just the epitome of cruelty. Even Price considers this one of his best performances. Yep without a doubt no one could have played the role better then him, which is interesting because the director originally wanted Donald Plesance to play the role of Matthew Hopkins. Not that I don`t like Plesance ,but I don`t think he could have played the role half as good Price did.
The rest of the cast was pretty brilliant also, you had Robert Russel as Prices assistant who just loved to inflict pain upon people. Ian Ogilvy as the soldier out for revenge against Prices character, his act reminded me of Jack Nicholson character in Roger Cormans 1963s movie ''The Terror". And then Hilary Heath Ian`s wife that's raped.
So in Conclusion this is now one of my new personal favorite Vincent Price movies. It is absolutely amazing, filled with groundbreaking acting and stunning scenes, that shock and terrify you senseless. The sets, and costumes are authentic and add deeply to the dark atmoshere of the picture. And Finally Michael Reeves direction gives it a whole new feel, of psychological terror. So if your fan of horror movies, Vincent Price, or just good movies in general, Witchfinder General is a absolute must see. Plus thanks to this movie I now have a great idea for a Halloween costume.