Monday, May 21, 2012
CONQUEROR WORM (1968)
It's kinda weird that I've never seen this movie and yet MARK OF THE DEVIL is one of my favorite movies and I've seen it dozens of times. Coming at the movie from my perspective I think it really works as the blueprint for that later Udo Kier witch-hunting flick and while it's tame in comparison and I can imagine at the time it was released this would have been a pretty controversial film for the masses. There probably weren't a whole lot of things before this where we saw people burned alive while screaming. You also get Vincent Price but it's a different Price than in anything I've seen him in before. Not the usual stereo-typically flamboyant performance from him here it's all very somber and convincingly evil and that fits perfectly with the subject matter. He's also helped out by a real bastard of a sidekick who just can't wait to get to torturing suspects. There's also some slight nudity and some eye violence depending on which cut you're viewing. I'm pretty sure the old VHS copy I watched of this had a few bits missing so look for a nice widescreen print with the original WITCHFINDER GENERAL title if you wanna see the full picture of what was responsible for a lot of those great witchy/satany epics from the 70's. The original title of WITCHFINDER GENERAL is way cooler and the only reason AIP changed the name here in America was to try and lump this in with the Vincent Price/Roger Corman Poe flicks which this has nothing at all to do with. The director Michael Reeves went on to OD after making this which sucks because he was a talented guy and got what is considered by many people the greatest performance ever out of Vincent Price. Donald Pleasence was the original choice to star here which I think would have been interesting but way different.