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 before… 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.
9.00-11.00pm Film Four
If dad dying isn’t enough, Mia Wasikowska and mum Nicole Kidman have to contend with creepy Uncle Charlie (Matthew Goode) when he arrives for the funeral.
The aliens are coming! Thankfully they’re targeting the young and good-looking people of LA, first. It’s good, cheesy fun for those who like Cloverfield (and cheddar).
The Eagle ★★★
Channing Tatum looks a bit bogged down as a Roman soldier on a personal mission into Scotland, but Jamie Bell and Mark Strong perform their duties well.
American Mary ★★★★
11.00pm-1.05am Film Four
If you wince at the thought of getting your ear pierced, this Soska twins horror ride will leave you squirming. Katherine Isabelle is the debt-strapped trainee surgeon who delves into the strange and sexualised world of body modification.
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