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A bewigged Vincent Price goes full-on evil in The Conqueror Worm, based on the life of England's self-proclaimed "Witchfinder General" Matthew Hopkins. Hopkins and his assistant, John Stern, ride through spectacular location shots around England, looking for disciples of the devil to torture and burn. (Indeed, the devil must be at work, for the skies are bright blue even though people keep saying it's nighttime.) Nevertheless, Hopkins and Stern seem to have a knack for picking on the innocent, notably the fiancée of young soldier Richard Marshall. Price turns in another top performance, delicately mixing false piety and sadism with a dash of lecherousness. Can Hopkins be stopped? Will Marshall risk desertion to save his love? Why are those women just sitting around the inn topless? The answers to these questions and more await you in The Conqueror Worm. --Ali Davis
Top Customer Reviews
(UK Title: Witchfinder General) is a fierce horror film with historical implications to the failure of Christianity and witch hunts. The film will leave the audience with distaste for the action of humankind that was sanctioned by Christian Church. In the end, Witchfinder General offers a satisfactory cinematic experience that gives a cause for the audience to ponder our past, current, and future actions.
The story is based on the real life times and crimes of the lawyer and Witchfinder General - Mathew Hopkins, who set about destroying alleged witches across England with the full power of the law. This film depicts the various acts of torture and trials conducted on witches making it an extremely important historical document (as a note the Western influence comes from the gallant long countryside horseback riding shots, mobs in the villages and things like gallows being erected in the same vein as the cowboy movies in the USA of that era. It WORKS extremely well!) It is also certainly the best rendition of such grim persecutions to date on the screen (US viewers should think Salem Witch Trials x 100).
There is an interesting plot involving a young soldier whose fiancée's father - a priest, is put on trial for witchcraft while the soldier is away.Read more ›
While keeping to the letter of the law, Price and his henchman certainly break the spirit with their cruelty and sadism. THe plot revolves arounf two young lovers, RIchard and Sara, caught in Hopkins web. Sara's uncle, a priest, is accused of witchcraft and is tortured and jailed. Sara, to save his life, seduces Hopkins but eventually is also accused of witchcraft and jailed and tortured. Richard vows revenge against Hopkins. Several more people are burned, hanged, tortured, etc. before the inevitable end.
The film is violent and disturbing. I'm not sure if it's disturbing because it is violent or because it is not violent enough since the real actions that took place would have been more horrific and evil than what could be displayed on film.
It's an upsetting film. Price is good as the zealot who hides behind the law for carrying out his evil intentions. John, his henchman, is a sadist who simply enjoys torturing people and gets away with it. The film is authentic in its portrayal of English life during the Civil Wars with its harsh cruelty, depravity, breakdown of social order, etc.
Most recent customer reviews
The movie itself was OK, what I didn't like is that it arrived in PAL(European ) format, which makes it unplayable on a North American DVD player. Read morePublished 4 months ago by PETER JOHNS
As with any movie coming out of a less edit-heavy, production conscious tradition, one must allow it to have lapses in logic or continuity in places. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2010 by Bruggadung
I can only say that it is a great movie and the only way to make it better would be for it to be presented on widescreen on DVD.Published on Sept. 6 2002 by James Nelson
I saw this movie when I was just 13 or 14 and I have to admit, it was pretty darn scary. This may have been what we now call a "sleeper" ~ I'm not sure what made me go to... Read morePublished on Oct. 3 2001 by Madison
The rating is for the film itself, not this version.Perhaps Price's best performance.This film merits a 'restoration' on DVD.Use the orginal title.Lose the narration. Read morePublished on July 28 2001 by Paladin
Oh dear the ravages of time have rendered this worm very weak. I saw it as Witchfinder General in the UK years ago and the audience cheered when the revenge hit the floor. Read morePublished on June 8 2001 by timothy evans
Vincent Price shines in this film that takes us to beautiful, peaceful outdoor scenes, and then takes us to disturbing, ugly scenes of man's inhumanity to the weak and helpless. Read morePublished on March 13 2001
All of the stops were pulled out from this nearly forgotten horror classic, set during the English Civil War. Read morePublished on Feb. 28 2001
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