Vincent Price in Witchfinder General (dir. Michael Reeves, 1968).
The gifted and doomed young director Michael Reeves, inspired by American filmmakers like Don Siegel, shot this seventeenth-century sado-horror story in the style of a western, with plenty of horses and chases and barroom brawls. It looks fantastic, especially in its restored state with crisp, vibrant colors: the reds especially, which anticipate the gorgeous satellite-film hues of Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. Also restored is the Greensleeves-esque score by Paul Ferris, which was replaced by a shapelessly "trippy" electronic soundtrack for re-releases of the American version, titled The Conqueror Worm in an attempt to capitalize off of American International's recent spate of successful Poe adaptations.
This may be Vincent Price's most chilling performance ever, largely because Reeves, who was angry that he couldn't cast Donald Pleasance as the witchfinder Matthew Hopkins, effectively bullied Price into not acting like the guy who talks spooky to little kids at Halloween while handing them candy. He's straightfacedly restrained throughout the film, but unable to conceal his simmering anger at Reeves, which of course makes him terrifying.
Labels: Michael Reeves