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12.12.2017
Witchfinder General (1968)
Movie Review by Professor Corpse Rot
03.16.11

Witchfinder General (1968) After completing an impressive line of titles in collaboration with Roger Corman, Price continued on with his career. In his next title, Witchfinder General, he had the opportunity (if you could call it that) to work with Michael Reeves. Reeves was a very confident, if not arrogant, film director who originally wanted Donald Pleasance (most notable in his role as Dr. Sam Loomis in the numerous Halloween titles later in his career) to play Matthew Hopkins, or the Witchfinder General. AIP financiers stepped in and chose to provide Vincent instead, causing a great deal of friction to exist between the seasoned actor and the young director. This wasn't the last of the disputes between Price and Reeves. During one documented instance, Reeves made a ludicrous suggestion on the set, and Price objected with the line, "I've made 87 [sic] films. What have you done?" Reeves responded with: "I've made three good ones." Even though Price and the director battled frequently on the set, when he had the opportunity to view the movie he began to see why Reeves acted the way he did. He submitted a ten page letter praising the film. Reeves wrote Price back, "I knew you would think so." Years after Reeves's death, Price said, "...I realized what he wanted was a low-key, very laid-back, menacing performance. He did get it, but I was fighting him almost every step of the way. Had I known what he wanted, I would have cooperated." Witchfinder General is hardly a masterpiece, but Price delivers the role of a cruel-hearted man - an interesting display given the film's hostile dynamic. This film also goes by the title The Conqueror Worm which is a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. Reeves was slated to direct the The Oblong Box in 1969, which included Price as the lead, but died during pre-production. He died at the age of 26 from an accidental barbiturate overdose.

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