Untrue Confessions: “Witchfinder General” (1968)

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 IN THE WAY OF AN EXPLANATION: Though Matthew Hopkins, the antagonist of  Michael Reeves’ “Witchfinder General”, was a figure of genuine historic infamy, his exploits emerge in sketchy fictionalization to the extent that it might account for the film’s curious assertion of the generic “all person’s fictitious” disclaimer.

           “Witchfinder General”  (1968)

    Whenever the subject arises as to the hows and whys relating the attraction and obedient acclimationwitchfindergeneral to the rise of unhealthy societal extremes such as Nazism, it might be useful to examine the phenomenon of witch hunting and the necessary public acceptance of an open perversion of prosecutorial abuses as the norm. The results of this general public acquiescence should be the dramatic catalyst in Michael Reeves’ lurid “Witchfinder General”, though the film’s interest is decidedly more limited in its injudicious favorability to the unsavory illustration of torturous bloodletting rather than any informed dramatization which might grant the savagery a useful historical context. In “Witchfinder General”, cause is an irrelevancy, only the bloody effect is of value.

  To read the complete review, click the following link to:  https://chandlerswainreviews.wordpress.com/chandler-swain-reviews-drive-in-cinema-2/

About chandlerswainreviews

I've been a puppet, a pirate, a pauper, a poet, a pawn and a king, not necessarily in that order. My first major movie memory was being at the drive-in at about 1 1/2 yrs. old seeing "Sayonara" so I suppose an interest in film was inevitable. (For those scoring at home- good for you- I wasn't driving that evening, so no need to alert authorities.)Writer, critic and confessed spoiler of women, as I have a tendency to forget to put them back in the refrigerator. My apologies.
This entry was posted in books, Drive-In Movies, History, Movies, vincent price, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Untrue Confessions: “Witchfinder General” (1968)

  1. tashpix says:

    This was one of the very first costume horror films I ever saw. I didn’t like it then and I suspect I wouldn’t like it now, but the memory of it has certainly stuck with me.

  2. beetleypete says:

    Ah, you have unearthed one of my cinematic guilty pleasures! With a lifelong interest in the English Civil War, (I am a member of The Cromwell Association, and my dog is named Oliver after him) I will watch any film set during that period. So I went to see this on release at the cinema, and enjoyed the historical content, even if the film was complete nonsense.
    Best wishes, Thomas Fairfax.

    • Happy to hear that I’ve stumbled upon a film that provokes genuine interest, though I might suggest you tread cautiously lest young Ollie ferments a populist move among the village regulars to wrest power from you and raid the biscuit tins.
      – Henry Ireton

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