Roundhead’s Revenge

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Vincent Price delighted horror and B-movie fans for generations with his deliciously campy performances…but in this picture he got to play someone truly scary (and real): witchhunter Matthew Hopkins, a corrupt, heartless bastard who oversaw the torture and murder of accused “witches” at the hands of his slimy, sadistic lackeys during the English Civil War of the 17th century. While soldier Richard Marshall (Ian Ogilvy) is away, Hopkins coerces Marshall’s sweet fiancee Sara (Hilary Dwyer) into sleeping with him by accusing her uncle of witchcraft. She gives in to his twisted whims…and he has the uncle executed anyway. You know that when Marshall finds out, it’s not going to be pretty. And indeed, people were shocked by Witchfinder General’s brutality at the time…but of course, most audiences are seeking escapism, not realism. It’s a pity that this was director Michael Reeves’ (who died at age 26) last picture (He directed only two others and did some 2nd unit direction on Castle Of The Living Dead…She Beast, an oddball little film that is almost a parody of Black Sunday…where else are you gonna see Barbara Steele and Mel Welles in the same picture? And The Sorcerers with Boris Karloff) because it shows so much craft, passion and potential for even greater work…

 

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