Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Witchfinder General Review
It was bound to happen, I finally ran into something produced by the British Film Industry. Well, to be fair this was a joint venture between British Film Productions and American International Pictures so it's not necessarily all Britain's fault. Witchfinder General was made in 1968 and starred none other than Vincent Price. This low budget film doesn't look as low budget as some of the movies that you see going straight to dvd these days.
The plot of this film follows a witch hunter in the middle of 1645 trying to hunt down evil doers and those that are demon possessed. What we end up seeing is how the hunt turns frightening when the obsessed hunter starts to kill people that are not witches at all!
There isn't a whole lot of gore in this film, but you get about as much as you could expect for the era that this film is made. You get some nice fight sequences, which I enjoyed. Aside from the final sequences and death of the hunter, this film is a slow moving ride with not a whole lot going on in terms of horror. There are a few moments to break up the monotony, but overall this is a dry dialogue driven horror film.
For those looking for some gratuitous nudity in film, you get some here, although it is very very tame. The R rating is definitely deserved as you see 1960's female nudity, which trumps anything new that I've seen in recent years.
Visually the film looks like a medieval epic, and I liked it for that. I liked the way the film seems to be dated and higher budget than it really had, and the editing brings everything together nicely.
Is it a scary film? Not really. It's kind of mild, and nothing harder than you might see on a Goosebumps show from the late 90's. I was falling asleep at one point in the film, but I woke myself up and suffered through. I can't say that this is a great film, but Vincent Price did make me laugh a few times, despite his serious tone. This film, for what it is, is ok, but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're absolutely a huge Vincent Price fan or a fan of collecting classic horror films. I love the movie posters for the film, more than the actual release. It's not the worst film I've ever seen, but it's far from the best.
It's interesting to note that the director was made into a villain upon the release of this film. There are some torture scenes that are mild in today's standards but in 1968? It was enough to get film critics to nearly ban the film. While the United States let the full film play, the UK got a censored version. Some have called this one a cult classic since the director died from drugs at the age of 25. Many have come out to say that this is one of the greatest horror films of all time, but those are some real idiots...or maybe they're just glorifying something that they haven't seen in a while.