BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
Witchfinder General ★★★★★
A rich, ripe piece of Gothic horror for Halloween, condemned on its release in 1968 for over-explicit violence. Since then it has acquired cult status, thanks partly to Vincent Price’s enjoyably over-the-top performance as the eponymous witchfinder. The action takes place during the English Civil War when Price and his assistant (Robert Russell) tour the country, charging local magistrates for finding and condemning witches. One they find — and whom the assistant rapes — is clergyman’s niece Hilary Dwyer, thus incurring the wrath of her fiancé, Roundhead soldier Ian Ogilvy, who sets out to wreak vengeance. This is indeed a bloodthirsty tale, not for the squeamish. Both Ogilvy and Dwyer are captured by the villains and she is tortured beforeÉ Well, that’s for you to discover. The film was made on a minuscule budget by director Michael Reeves, who died at the age of 25, just nine months after it was released. The critic Dilys Powell called it “nauseating” but it’s a fascinating piece that deserves its cult following.
Paranormal Activity ★★★★
A couple suspect their new home has been invaded by a demonic presence so they set up a video camera to catch the beastie. Perfect viewing for Halloween. But do you dare watch it alone?
An experimental drug gives loser Bradley Cooper super creative powers, but there are side effects. Who’d have thought?
Green Zone ★★★★
US Army officer Matt Damon begins to question his country’s involvement in Iraq when his mission to find Weapons of Mass Destruction (yes, those old things) proves fruitless.
[Rec] 3: Génesis ★★★★
11.40pm-1.20am Film Four
All zombie hell breaks loose at a wedding reception (we’ve all been to those eh?) in this Spanish sequel that’s full of gore, gags and deft shocks.