This introductory chapter provides an overview of Michael Reeves's Witchfinder General (1968), which occupies a unique place in British cinema. Based on the 1966 novel by Ronald Bassett, the film stars Vincent Price as the title character. On the one hand, it is frequently cited as a landmark film, well-regarded, influential, and critically acclaimed. Critic Julian Petley describes it as ‘one of the towering achievements, not simply of British horror but of British cinema tout court’, while David Pirie suggests it ‘brings UK horror to some kind of maturity’ and compares director Michael Reeves to the poet John Keats. However, for many critics, it remains a disreputable work with a troubled history. Nevertheless, both Witchfinder General and its director continue to resonate, being frequently discussed, studied, and referenced.
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