Saturday, May 26, 2018
MATTHEW HOPKINS, WITCHFINDER
Used often to describe THE CONQUEROR WORM (UK title: WITCHFINDER GENERAL), the term "disturbing" hits as close to the mark as anything. Bleak, sadistic and fatalistic, Tigon's 1968 film reflects the despair of the human soul when faced with being accused of a witch by someone who has total power over the decision... and the fate of the victim.
Vincent Price plays Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder (a role that the director originally wanted Donald Pleasance to play), a dark, imposing figure whose duty is to seek out and punish the witches that seem to have sprung up like poisonous mushrooms all over the English countryside. Never has Price been so sinister -- or deadly.
The real Matthew Hopkins was responsible for about 100 witch trials (and subsequent executions). His story is told, along with the behind-the-scenes making of WITCHFINDER GENERAL in the June 2018 issue of FORTEAN TIMES.