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Horror » » »
The Conqueror Worm
Witchfinder General

1968       Vincent Price

Teaser Storyline for "The Conqueror Worm"

In 1645, after Cromwell's victory at Naseby, England is torn apart by lawlessness and anarchy.

Marauding bands of army deserters roam the land to ravage and plunder, sparing none in their orgies of looting and rape.

One of these is the notorious Matthew Hopkins (VINCENT PRICE) and his brutal henchman, Stearne (ROBERT RUSSELL). Inspired by his pious master, Hopkins seeks to lend legality to his roguery by posing as a witch-hunter, extracting money from credulous magistrates for his services in denouncing alleged witches.

Innocent and guilty alike are first tortured into "confessions" by the sadistic Stearne and then hanged, drowned or burned at the stake by Hopkins, in return for gold.

His gaunt, avenging figure stalks the land, smelling out Papists and idolators, of both sexes, and putting them to indescribably horrible deaths.

At the height of his reign of terror, Richard Marshall (IAN OGILVY), a handsome young Cornet in Cromwell's army, is given leave to return home to the village of

Brandeston, in Suffolk, to visit his betrothed, Sara (HILARY DWYER), who lives with her uncle, John Lowes, (RUPERT DAVIES) the village priest.

He finds the vicarage pillaged, the priest dead following inhuman torture. Sara has submitted to seduction by Hopkins in a vain effort to save her uncle. White-faced, he takes her into the ruined church and makes her his wife, at the same time, swears an oath to track down Hopkins and kill him.

Finding that Hopkins has moved on, Richard sends Sara to friends at Laveham, and sets out in pursuit of the man.

Meanwhile, Hopkins and Stearne continue their torturing and burnings. Word reaches them that Richard is hot on their trail. Then, in a bloody meeting with soldiers, Stearne is wounded and Hopkins-escapes, leaving Stearne to fend for himself.

Stearne makes his way to a wayside inn where Richard comes upon him and a savage fight ensues from which Stearne manages to escape with his life. Richard despairs of overtaking the fugitive Hopkins and decides to return to his unit.

Surprisingly he is pardoned for desertion by Captain Gordon (MICHAEL BEINT) for saving his life at the Battle of Naseby. To his further bewilderment, he is promoted to Captain and presented to Cromwell himself (PATRICK WYMARK). and given a special assignment. He is ordered to take a small troop and go in search of the fugitive King.

He wants to follow Hopkins but his friends persuade him his duty is to search for the King. At Aldeburgh, a fisherman tells them the King escaped to sea in a boat the previous day and reports witch-burnings at Lavenham, where Hopkins and Stearne, who has rejoined his partner in crime, were resuming their foul occupation.

Relieved of his obligation to pursue the King, Richard and his troop ride full speed to Lavenham. They arrive in the midst of a new outbreak of burnings. Sara is still safe. The wily Hopkins has purposely left her alone as bait to bring Richard into his grasp.

The lovers are re-united, but Stearne and his cut-throats break into Sara's lodgings. They are hauled off to the castle and thrown into a dungeon. Here. Hopkins embarks on systematic tortures to make Richard confess to witchcraft, thus enabling him to be legally put to death.

Failing in this, Hopkins resorts to torturing Sara before Richard's eyes, but she beseeches him to remain staunch. Dumbly, Richard has to submit to watching his beloved undergo unspeakable cruelties.

Troopers stumble across the half-dead body of a young husband who has just seen his pretty wife burned at the stake and has been beaten by Hopkins' men. With his last breath, he tells them Sara and Richard have been seized and taken to the castle.

In the torture chamber. Hopkins orders the sign of the cross to be branded on Sara's back in boiling grease to make Richard denounce himself. Hopkins takes the crucible and is about to spill the first searing cupful when the troopers break in.

In the desperate fight Hopkins perishes in a death more horrible than he had devised for his victims.




Item Details:
1-Sheet Folded




The Conqueror Worm

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CAST of "The Conqueror Worm"

Matthew Hopkins .......................... VINCENT PRICE
Richard Marshall .......................... IAN OGILVY
John Lowes .......................... RUPERT DAVIES
Sara .......................... HILARY DWYER
John Stearne .......................... ROBERT RUSSELL
Horse Dealer .......................... WILFR1D BRAMBELL
Captain Gordon .......................... MICHAEL BEINT
Trooper Swallow NICKY HENSON
Trooper Harcourt .......................... JOHN TRENAMAN
Trooper Gifford .......................... WILLIAM MAXWELL
Salter .......................... TONY SELBY
Priest .......................... BEAUFOY MILTON


CREDITS for "The Conqueror Worm"

Executive Producer .......................... TONY TENSER
Produced by .......................... LOUIS M. HEYWARD
Directed by .......................... MICHAEL REEVES
Screenplay by .......................... MICHAEL REEVES and TOM BAKER
Production Manager .......................... RICKY COWARD
Assistant Director .......................... IAN GODDARD
Director of Cinematography .......................... JOHNNY COQUILLON
Art Director .......................... JIM MORAHAN
Sound .......................... PAUL LE MARE
Film Editor .......................... HOWARD LANNING

An American International Release
In Colorscope by Perfect

RUNNING TIME 87 MINUTES







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