Thursday, March 03, 2005

Witchfinder General (1968)

I get to write at school now and my first paper, about getting jumped in L.A., got an 'A', so with that said, we have proof that stories are worth reading. I've been pretty pissed off lately, busy, and tired, but I still managed to watch some movies.

Witchfinder General is known more commonly as The Conqueror Worm here in America. I swear I once read on the back of a video box somewhere, that in this movie Hopkins goes up against a real witch for a battle of evil vs. evil. That does not happen. I expected it to, maybe I'm confused. I don't have a real tape of this movie, just a dub with no box art that I won on ebay. Yes, I've been getting ripped off left and right, who would expect movies won on ebay to not be factory issue!

It's a good movie, more complex than most gothic horrors. Before seeing this movie I was familiar with the Cathedral song based on the film from their album 'The Carnival Bizzare'. I'd like to comment on the lyrics.

Hopkins (The Witchfinder General)

She rides to the sabbath
Veiled under silver light
To make love to the devil
Necromancer of nyte
Within the mystic forest
She sets your world alight
Her coven conjure the demons
Herald the sacrifice yeah

Lucifera Vampirella
She bares the mark of the devil

Queen of the witches
Her kingdom is your hell
Black masses in the convent
Priests under her spell
The crops have withered
The sky bends upside down
Her name is Lucifera
The mutant preachers yell yeah

My name is Hopkins
I'm the witchfinder general
My impotence deceives me
You beauty turns me pale
Winds haunt the village
Satan's ghost awakes
The world falls into darkness
As she melts at the stake yeah

Matthew Hopkins witchfinder general
Your soul condemned to hell

All of the verses, except for the last one, have nothing to do with the movie. Their are no supernatural elements present. The line that mentions Hopkins being impotent probably refers to the movie Mark of the Devil, based on Witchfinder General, and made two years later. It's got an impotent accuser and is a very nasty movie with tons of explicit torture scenes and gore. Still, the Cathedral song has a bunch of audio samples from Witchfinder General and a the rock video is included on some DVD releases of the movie. I found the video online and there are some film clips in there so check it out if you want to at MetalVideos, Inc., scroll down through the alphabetical list of metal bands.

Witchfinder General stars Vincent Price, not on my list of top horror stars of all time as I tried to keep it obscure. I was familiar with him even when I was a toddler since he hosted Mystery! on Channel 2 and speaks on 'Thriller'. In Cry of the Banshee (1970), Price plays a witchfinder again, but I didn't really like that one.

Witchfinder General director Michael Reeves made three other horror movies.


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