The terrifying cult classic Witchfinder General is getting a remake…
Michael Reeves’ 1968 cult horror film Witchfinder General (known as The Conqueror Worm in the US) has had several generations looking over their shoulders in the dark. Now Nicolas Winding Refn and Rupert Preston have acquired the rights to revive Reeves’ infamously disturbing classic.
Based on the Ronald Basset novel detailing the gruesome history of 17th-century English witch-hunter Matthew Hopkins, Witchfinder General gives a harrowing account of his reign of terror. ‘Evidence’ of a witch could be anything from a stillbirth to a drought to a circle of women gathering in the forest (presumably to worship the devil) to after nightfall. Hopkins would use almost unspeakable methods of torture to wring a confession out of suspected witches, and the violence shown in the film was considered scandalous for late 60s cinema.
While heavily censored following outrage in the UK, Witchfinder was a hit at US drive-ins and grindhouses, which is how it -and its director, who died tragically young – gained cult status.
The new take on Witchfinder General will go into production next year, on the heels of Refn’s The Neon Demon and Maniac Cop remake.