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"Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Old 09-28-21, 09:20 PM
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"Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge



Witchfinder General (1968)




Selected by Gobear


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These "October Horror Movie Challenge" threads are for the discussion of the films in the 31 FILM SUBSET list.

The plan is for everyone to watch this film on the October day in the thread title, and to start discussing it the morning of the following day.
You may start discussion early if you want, but the preferred plan is for this to be as much of a group exercise as possible, with all of us viewing it "together" and discussing after.

Of course, you are totally encouraged to participate in these threads even if you haven't watched the movie on the designated day.
Even if you haven't watched it in years, or are not participating in the Horror Challenge, please feel free to chime in.



Spoiler tags aren't always used in here, so if you have yet to see the film BEWARE OF POSSIBLE SPOILERS.

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2021 DISCUSSION | 2021 LISTS

Old 10-05-21, 01:32 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Although this is really an historical drama, AIP marketed it in the US as The Conqueror Worm in an attempt to link it to Roger Corman's Poe films. Matthew Hopkins really existed and killed more than 100 people condemned as witches between 1644 and 1646. Hopkins was able to weaponize the fear and ignorance of the common folk to victimize the helpless and amass wealth and power for himself. Fortunately, such amoral conmen do not exist in our enlightened age. I watched this on Blu-Ray; it's in the first Vincent Price set from Scream Factory.

Last edited by Gobear; 10-05-21 at 07:50 AM.
Old 10-05-21, 02:01 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

The links above are for Bay Of Blood. I can't find this streaming anywhere. It's not on Shudder.
Old 10-05-21, 05:45 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by TheBigDave
The links above are for Bay Of Blood. I can't find this streaming anywhere. It's not on Shudder.
Yeah, the link still takes you to a page for it. So I suspect it was provided by Shudder when the list was compiled but has since left.
I got the link from the streaming guide linked in post 1:
https://www.shudder.com/movies/watch...dca8de990d0853

Doesn't work for me.

Last edited by exharrison; 10-05-21 at 05:52 AM.
Old 10-05-21, 06:00 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by TheBigDave
The links above are for Bay Of Blood. I can't find this streaming anywhere. It's not on Shudder.
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Old 10-05-21, 07:46 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I wasn't happy with the quality of the above Youtube video posted. It was pretty splotchy for me for some reason.

I found it also on my Roku on some app called Movieland.TV Movieland.Tv | TV App | Roku Channel Store | Roku

It was a little darker but not splotchy and had the uncut version.

I enjoyed this...or at least thought it was pretty good. Hard to completely enjoy something like this when you know it is based on fact and hundreds of people lost their lives to this crazy fucker.

This was a first time watch for me. Price was more subdued than usual which worked well. The scenes of torture, though not really graphic, were still tough to watch and the main actress has a scream that could seriously wake the dead. Price's partner is very good at being slimy and the acting is solid. But damn...those army uniforms! If those are based on the real thing, then I feel sorry for those soldiers.

Good flick!

My rating: *** out of *****
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Old 10-05-21, 10:04 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
I wasn't happy with the quality of the above Youtube video posted. It was pretty splotchy for me for some reason.

I found it also on my Roku on some app called Movieland.TV Movieland.Tv | TV App | Roku Channel Store | Roku
I should have known people in the challenge would find various sources to watch this. How did you even find this Roku channel?
Old 10-05-21, 10:49 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Just did a search on my Roku for Witchfinder General. Easy peasy.

Check this link as well if you don't have your Roku available for checking: Stream Movies, TV, Sports & More - See What's On | Roku

It is rare you can't find something but quality can very greatly. As well as having ads or not. I have been pretty lucky so far with various titles. Older titles seem to be easier to find than newer ones.

And even if the search brings up nothing, it still can be buried on tons of various channels on the Roku. A lot of them don't advertise what they have (not to mention all the "hidden" channels out there on Roku that you have no idea even exist). It is a true rabbit hole. Do some googling and you will see what I mean.

There is also an excellent app called "Just Watch" that will show you various options on quality streaming channels though many of them require subscriptions or rental fees. But it will tell you if the movie is available in HD or 4K. But even it is not always exhaustive.
Old 10-05-21, 11:06 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I've used both Just Watch and Reelgood for searching multiple options. For some reason, I assumed all those small channels weren't part of Roku's search. I thought it was just those they had a partnership with. Lesson learned!

And yeah, I think at one time in a previous challenge, we had a post with a ton of those hidden channels. I still have one or two of those enabled from those days for the weird content to just click over every once in a while.
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Old 10-05-21, 04:43 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I watched the Blu-Ray from the Vincent Price Collection Blu-Ray set. I'm a bit confused about different versions though. I just assumed this version was uncut, although it's missing scenes (like nudity) that I know I remembered seeing before.

This is one of those movies that I didn't like so much as a kid, but grew on me a lot more when rewatching as an adult. Probably because selling it as a horror movie is misleading (especially an Edgar Allen Poe horror movie). Though the brutal tone makes it certainly qualify as a horror movie to me, and can be argued to be Price's most "horrific" movie.

The backstory of this one is interesting (I should probably listen to the audio commentary). Especially with the director (Michael Reeves) and Price absolutely hating each other on set. It was so bad that Reeves told the actor playing the young soldier to "really lay it into him" at the end, in an attempt to legitimately hurt Price. Though to Price's credit, when he saw the finished cut he wrote to Reeves saying he appreciated what he was going for and the performance he was able to get out of Price.

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
But damn...those army uniforms! If those are based on the real thing, then I feel sorry for those soldiers.
Well, the British were the "Redcoats" after all! Looking up some explanations for why the British always wore red I see some interesting ideas. My favorite is that an advantage of wearing red is that blood blends right in ... so you don't suffer the demoralization of seeing your own troops injured.

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Old 10-05-21, 06:55 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

This was my least favorite of the challenge so far. I think I watched it last year for the first time and now it’s a subset pick. I don’t foresee myself watching it again.
Old 10-05-21, 09:59 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
I
I enjoyed this...or at least thought it was pretty good. Hard to completely enjoy something like this when you know it is based on fact and hundreds of people lost their lives to this crazy fucker.
*
Totally agree with this. I love Vincent Price and the 60's in horror. I do really like this film. But there is an uncomfortable element watching it because of the true history behind it--it makes me uneasy. And Price is so horribly, realistically evil in this. Good film despite this squeamish reaction. This is my second viewing, but I didn't remember much about it except for Price's character.
Old 10-06-21, 01:13 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I enjoyed this one a LOT more than I expected to, as I don't generally cotton to historical dramas. However, the film really ends up as a revenge film, and I'm usually down for any film featuring a character who's been unjustly treated and works to even the score.

My subset film rankings for the Challenge thus far:

1. Slither
2. Witchfinder General
3. A Bay of Blood / The Spiral Staircase (averaged together)
4. Silent Madness
5. Road Games
6. The Severed Arm
Old 10-06-21, 05:27 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I wish Michael Reeves had not passed away so young and directed more It would have been interesting to see what he would have done after Witchfinder and She Beast.
Old 10-06-21, 09:46 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

I've seen this film a number of times. Always a solid viewing. Price is great in it and is more understated than usual, as mentioned. While the main title obviously makes more sense, I first saw this on cable years ago with The Conqueror Worm title attached to it, so it's always difficult for me to not think of it as Witchfinder General.
Old 10-06-21, 09:49 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
Just did a search on my Roku for Witchfinder General. Easy peasy.

Check this link as well if you don't have your Roku available for checking: Stream Movies, TV, Sports & More - See What's On | Roku

It is rare you can't find something but quality can very greatly. As well as having ads or not. I have been pretty lucky so far with various titles. Older titles seem to be easier to find than newer ones.

And even if the search brings up nothing, it still can be buried on tons of various channels on the Roku. A lot of them don't advertise what they have (not to mention all the "hidden" channels out there on Roku that you have no idea even exist). It is a true rabbit hole. Do some googling and you will see what I mean.

There is also an excellent app called "Just Watch" that will show you various options on quality streaming channels though many of them require subscriptions or rental fees. But it will tell you if the movie is available in HD or 4K. But even it is not always exhaustive.
Originally Posted by exharrison
I've used both Just Watch and Reelgood for searching multiple options. For some reason, I assumed all those small channels weren't part of Roku's search. I thought it was just those they had a partnership with. Lesson learned!

And yeah, I think at one time in a previous challenge, we had a post with a ton of those hidden channels. I still have one or two of those enabled from those days for the weird content to just click over every once in a while.
Any of those hidden channels worth adding? I've seen purported lists, but the few that looked interesting weren't able to add or had been removed. I didn't see anything else that really stood out.
Old 10-06-21, 10:04 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Not many that I have found unless you are looking for some porn on Roku. But I really haven't dug very deep and it is a pretty deep well from what I have seen. Hell, I don't have time to watch the legit shit I own.

I have seen some cool channels with various fan films and stuff like that but they can probably also be found on Youtube. Haven't really cross-checked it.
Old 10-06-21, 10:28 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Witchfinder General is one mean spirited film, which is why I think it's considered horror rather than just historical drama. I enjoy historical films like this and wish there were more antiquated setting horror films because the visuals feel more unique/important. It seems like a missed opportunity to not better explore the depth of the historical inspiration and instead let the incomparable Vincent Price ham it up onscreen (the backstory seems fascinating but overlooked in favor of schlock and screen presence). This film must have inspired a number of others because it feels like mean spirited witch finding it a subgenre of it's own (Pit and Pendulum, The Reckoning, etc).

Last edited by Undeadcow; 10-06-21 at 10:33 AM.
Old 10-06-21, 12:11 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by rbrown498
I enjoyed this one a LOT more than I expected to, as I don't generally cotton to historical dramas. However, the film really ends up as a revenge film, and I'm usually down for any film featuring a character who's been unjustly treated and works to even the score.
Although despite the movie having a "happy" ending, with the young lovers surviving and the villains getting a fitting comeuppance, it still feels bleak. The Captain just laying into Hopkins over and over with the axe. And the way the movie ends with a freeze frame on Sara screaming. You get the sense that the psychological scars aren't going away any time soon, and there probably won't be a "happily ever after".
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Old 10-06-21, 12:47 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Spiderbite
I enjoyed this...or at least thought it was pretty good. Hard to completely enjoy something like this when you know it is based on fact and hundreds of people lost their lives to this crazy fucker.
I was thinking just this as I was watching it. This is my second 'burn the witches' movie, and they have been triggering some real apprehension in me as I watch them. I'm working my way through the Vincent Price Collection I, and I enjoyed hating Matthew Hopkins for all the right reasons. First time view for me, and I'm hopefully heading into lighter fare with The Abominable Dr. Phibes, which is next.
Old 10-06-21, 03:47 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by brainee
Although despite the movie having a "happy" ending, with the young lovers surviving and the villains getting a fitting comeuppance, it still feels bleak. The Captain just laying into Hopkins over and over with the axe. And the way the movie ends with a freeze frame on Sara screaming. You get the sense that the psychological scars aren't going away any time soon, and there probably won't be a "happily ever after".
The original script had the two soldiers shoot both Price and Ian Ogilvy, but they only had one gun on set, so they improvised by having Ogilvy go insane. In no way is that a happy ending--it's clear that the young couple have both been driven into madness. Witchfinder General is an incredibly bleak film, but it also gave Price an opportunity to act in a dramatic role rather than his usual hammy melodramatics, e.g. The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Theatre of Blood.

In college I was part of the backstage crew of our theater department, so when Vincent Price came to Hanover to perform his one-man Oscar Wilde play, I and the rest of the theater crew had a chance to meet him and listen to him discuss his career before the show. He was friendly, interested in us, and he was everything we had hoped he would be. He was a genuine delight.
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Old 10-07-21, 02:27 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Gobear
In college I was part of the backstage crew of our theater department, so when Vincent Price came to Hanover to perform his one-man Oscar Wilde play, I and the rest of the theater crew had a chance to meet him and listen to him discuss his career before the show. He was friendly, interested in us, and he was everything we had hoped he would be. He was a genuine delight.
Very cool.

Old 10-24-21, 10:11 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Enjoyed this, and as mentioned above the creepiness increases knowing it was based on facts.

Stealing rbrown’s subset ranking idea:

The Phantom Carriage, 8/10
The Spiral Staircase, 8/10
A Bay of Blood, 7/10
The Frighteners, 7/10

Road Games, 7/10
Slither, 7/10
Witchfinder General 7/10

Silent Madness, 5/10
The Severed Arm, 4/10

Last edited by Trevor; 10-25-21 at 08:42 PM.
Old 10-24-21, 10:15 AM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by Trevor
Enjoyed this, and as mentioned above the creepiness increases knowing it was based on facts.

Stealing rbrown’s subset ranking idea:

1 - The Phantom Carriage
2 - The Spiral Staircase
2 - The Frighteners
3 - A Bay of Blood
3 - Road Games

3 - Slither
3 - Witchfinder General
4 - Silent Madness
​​​​​​​5 - The Severed Arm
There sure are a lot of ties in your ranking system. ​​​​​​​
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Old 10-24-21, 01:53 PM
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Re: "Witchfinder General" Reviews/Discussion - 2021 Horror Challenge

Originally Posted by clckworang
There sure are a lot of ties in your ranking system.
Eh, I go with a 10 scale pretty much, and might differentiate them later. But with thousands of movies seen, can one really have them literally ranked?

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