Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy, Hilary Dwyer
Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey, Ian Ogilvy
It’s a shame that Vincent Price and Boris Karloff
aren’t around to offer their thoughts on Witchfinder General or The
Sorcerers commentary tracks, but there’ll be a chorus of fans
singing the praises of this pair of Michael Reeves discs from Metrodome.
The Witchfinder disc contains the original
“Directors Cut” (sic) version of the film (with the edits made by the
BBFC for its theatrical release reinstated) and the so-called “Export
Cut”, which contains the alternate sequences with more nudity and
violence (the version released here on VHS by Redemption, and reissued by
VCI's Cinema Club imprint), with the same dramatic drops in quality for
the restored footage). The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is generally very
good, but the film, about a sadistic roving witch-hunter, is flecked with
dirt and damage. It is, however, a big improvement on previous versions.
The Sorcerers, Reeves’ 1967 film about an
elderly couple (Karloff and Lacey) who use a machine to live vicariously
through a young man (Ogilvy) is nowhere near as well liked as Witchfinder,
but it has its own kitsch appeal and may yet attract a loyal cult
following. Metrodome’s disc, taken from the same print that’s aired
regularly on Channel 4, is constantly speckled with dirt and is also
relatively grainy, but it’s unlikely that this presentation (in
anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio) will be improved in the foreseeable future. Both
discs have robust Dolby Digital mono 2.0 soundtracks (at 224kbps).
Both discs contain a slightly abridged (23 minute)
version of the concise Eurotika documentary Blood Beast – The
Films of Michael Reeves (it even includes a frame of the advert
bumpers, where they’ve not been edited out properly!) This offers a
brief look at Reeves’ career, which ended tragically with his suicide in
1969. Both discs also contain a gallery of marketing materials, worthwhile
production notes by horror expert Kim Newman and trailers for both films.
The Witchfinder disc also contains a mediocre Witchfinder
General-inspired music video by Cathedral.