The Conqueror Worm (Witchfinder General)

Critics Consensus

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88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 17

67%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,995
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Movie Info

A corrupt opportunist commits brutal crimes in the name of God and country in this atmospheric period horror tale. In 17th century England, as a people's uprising threatens Lord Cromwell's rule, superstition still rules the land, and the Royalists use this to their advantage by inaugurating a reign of terror in the name of wiping out alleged witches and agents of the dark arts. Matthew Hopkins (Vincent Price) has been appointed "witchfinder" by Puritan Royalists, and with the help of his thuggish assistant Stearne (Robert Russell), Hopkins travels from town to town, brutally interrogating those accused of witchcraft and using fire, drowning, and torture to extract "confessions" from the accused. Of course, Hopkins' opinions can be swayed with money and other considerations, and when Father Lowes (Rupert Davies), a priest whose sympathies do not lie with the Royalists, is arrested and tortured by Hopkins and Stearne, his devoted niece Sarah (Hilary Dwyer) is able to stay his punishment by sleeping with Hopkins. Sarah, however, is engaged to marry Marshall (Ian Ogilvy), a soldier in Cromwell's army, and once Marshall learns that the woman he loves has been seduced by Hopkins -- and raped by Stearne -- he becomes determined to expose the witchfinder and punish him for his misdeeds. Witchfinder General was released in the United States by American International Pictures, who in addition to arranging for Vincent Price to play Matthew Hopkins, changed the North American title to The Conqueror Worm, after a poem by Edgar Allan Poe which was read over the credits by Price, though the story bears no real relation to Poe's work. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Cast

Vincent Price
as Matthew Hopkins
Ian Ogilvy
as Richard Marshall
Rupert Davies
as John Lowes
Patrick Wymark
as Oliver Cromwell
Wilfrid Brambell
as Master Loach
Robert Russell
as John Stearne
Michael Beint
as Capt. Gordon
Nicky Henson
as Trooper Swallow
John Trenaman
as Trooper Harcourt
Tony Selby
as Salter
John Kidd
as Magistrate
Edward Palmer
as Shepherd
Terry Martin
as Hoxne Innkeeper
Bernard Kay
as Fisherman
Bill Maxwell
as Trooper Gifford
Maggie Kimberley
as Elizabeth Clark
Peter Haigh
as Lavenham Magistrate
Hira Talfrey
as Hanged Woman
Peter Thomas
as Farrier
David Webb
as Jailer
Alf Joint
as Sentry
Jack Lynn
as Brandeston Innkeeper
Michael Segal
as Villager
Sally Douglas
as Girl at Inn
Anne Tirard
as Old Woman
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Critic Reviews for The Conqueror Worm (Witchfinder General)

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for The Conqueror Worm (Witchfinder General)

  • Jan 01, 2019
    This an insane film, that deserves the recognition it has received over the years. You look at the year it was created and you can see what work was invested in the flm to create something unique and different. Michael Reeves only had a short life, but creating Witchfinder General will be his legacy and the filmmaking world is all the better for it. The film shows its age now, but don't let that divert your attention. The film is tough to watch as the villain gets away with so much while the hero suffers. I hear a remake is in the wind, but I hope they focus on the true story and not this film. I liked the film and I feel every film lover should see a film that shaped horror films at the moment and time. 29/12/2018.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Mar 28, 2015
    A disturbing tale of corruption and witchcraft. Vincent Price plays the titular character torturing characters in the film. The story did not make too much sense but still very disturbing even by today's standard, the ending will haunt me for a long time.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 20, 2014
    Vincent Price embodies with perfection the horrors of religious bigotry (a subject that is still not outdated), but the strength and brutality of the story get a bit diluted by its lack of a clearer direction and people who keep running around back and forth searching for each other.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 26, 2011
    Considered a classic of British Horror, this period horror film does not disappoint. Stars the legendary Vincent Price as the corrupted Witchfinder. The version I saw was the directors cut. Apparently when the film originally came out most of the torture was heavily edited, but has now been reincluded. Unfortunantly the picture quality of the formerly cut footage isn't up to par with the rest of the film, and these sequences are heavily faded and blurry. Ah well, at least they were reincluded. The movie is fairly disturbing for its portrayel of how witchfinders would force accused citizens to confess. Retarded "foolproof" plans like drowning the accused and if they live that is proof of their allegiance to Satan, and if they don't then they were in fact wrongfully accused, were common place at this time. And the more things change the more they stay the same. At this time witches were public enemy number 1. Arthur Millers play the crucible compared the Salem Witch Hunts to the McCarthyist witch hunts of the 50's against communism. And now we have torture facilities like Guantanamo Bay and Terrorists are the primary public threat. In short an important Horror film thats message remains relevent and probably (unfortunantly) always will.
    Ed Fucking H Super Reviewer

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