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A classic cult film that is presented for the first time in a new hi-definition remastered blu-ray. Directed by Michael Reeves Witchfinder General is probably Vincent Price's finest performance in this intense 1968 film that sees Price playing Matthew Hopkins, a sadistic 17th-century witchfinder who uses barbaric methods to identify and invariably execute supposed witches. Seventeenth century England is torn by civil war as the Royalists battle the Parliamentary Party for control. This bloody conflict distracts people from rational thought and allows unscrupulous men such as Mathew Hopkins to gain local power by exploiting village superstitions and touring the land to offer his services as a persecutor of witches. Aided by his sadistic accomplice John Stearne (Robert Russell) Hopkins travels from town to town extracting confessions from witches in order to gain money and sexual favours. When Hopkins persecutes a priest, he incurs the wrath of Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy) 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. Along with Price's disciplined work, Witchfinder is also the best film by the talented and ill-fated director Michael Reeves, who was only 24 when he shot the movie. Blessed with a great feeling for English landscapes and an eye for blackly telling details (peasants roasting potatoes in the ashes of a burned witch), Reeves was an exceptionally talented and promising filmmaker, who died in 1969 from a drug overdose. The most vivid thing about Witchfinder General is the way it explicitly links paranoia and witch-hunting to misogyny, and how female sexual energy is seen by the ruling order as a threat. The final sequence is perhaps the most harrowing fade-out of any Sixties horror picture. A fantastic newly restored HD version of this uncut classic with a new documentary on witchcraft and the persecution of woman by Witchfinder Generals such as Mathew Hopkins, as well as extras on the witchcraft during the English Civil War and an interview with Vincent Price.


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