| 86 MINS | COLOUR | TIGON |
Set in 1648, under Oliver Cromwell, the film tells the tale of Matthew Hopkins, a sadistic and psycopathic witch hunter.
Matthew Hopkins travels the countryside with his ruthless sidekick, John Stearne, and uses his power as a witchfinder to accrue wealth and gain sexual favours. He seeks women and forcibly extracts confessions of witchcraft from them, executes them, and then is rewarded with money from grateful townspeople in ridding them of demonic forces.
When Hopkins crosses paths with John Lowes, the priest of a small town, he tortures him for being a warlock. Sarah, John Lowe's neice, offers herself to Hopkins and Stearne in exchange for her uncle's life, but instead Stearne rapes her and then kills her uncle.
Richard Marshall, Sarah's fiance and a soldier in Cromwell's army, hears of this and swears bloody vengeance on Hopkins.
Hopkins and Stearne enter the village of Lavenham after hearing that Sarah is there. Marshall rides to the village with a group of his soldier friends, but unbeknown to him, Hopkins has set a trap to capture him. Hopkins and Stearne frame Marshall and Sarah and take them to the castle to interrogate them as witches.
No matter what deadly tortures Hopkins tries, Marshall refuses to confess to witchcraft, still threatening to kill Hopkins. Marshall manages to break free from his bonds and strikes Hopkins repeatedly with an axe. Marshall's soldier friends arrive on the scene and shoot Hopkins to put him out of his misery. Sarah screams uncontrollably, over and over.
SpinningImage: Not the most enjoyable horror film ever made, but certainly one of the most thought-provoking.
BritishHorrorFilms: Quite possibly the greatest british horror film ever made.
RottenTomatoes: With no supernatural elements to speak of, it is as much an historical drama as it is a horror film.
Matthew Hopkins: They swim...the mark of Satan is upon them. They must hang.