Cine-literate and single-minded, Michael Reeves took on exploitative film production companies, the British censors, and even Vincent Price to create a unique vision of savage poetry and lacerating despair: Witchfinder General. He died aged 25 in 1969, between the end of Swinging London and the collapse of the British film industry - an apt candidate to represent all that could have been. This critical biography claims Reeves as the great, lost auteur of British cinema and traces his conception of film back to his childhood and formative experiences. Benjamin Halligan examines Reeves's films in the context of the times, citing The Sorcerers and Witchfinder General as foreshadowing and critiquing the psychedelic and revolutionary zeitgeist. Reeves's earlier work on the fringes of the freewheeling European exploitation cinema is also covered, with particular emphasis on his Revenge of the Blood Beast. Drawing on recollections from colleagues, friends and family, many speaking here for the first time, draft scripts, correspondence and original documentation pertaining to the controversial censorship of Witchfinder, and Reeves's struggle with his own private demons, Halligan creates a complete picture of this elusive, driven figure and his films. He speculates on what Reeves would have gone on to achieve, and why this should still matter.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
List of illustrations
Displaced Person English
Preparing to shoot interiors in Lavenham Courtesy
This is a Don Siegel shot
The Sorcerers happening
On the set of The Sorcerers Courtesy of Simon Clark
Tracking with the village mob for the precredit hanging
This is England Vincent
actor American International Pictures Austen Baker BBFC Bennett Betty Blood Beast BOUM boys British cinema British Film Brookman brutality budget camera cast Christopher Lee Chuck Compton Corman crew death Deke despite director Don Siegel early Euan f1lm film production film-making Final screenplay footage friends Hopkins Hopkins's horror film Ian Ogilvy idea interview with author Intrusion John Karloff King's Mead Klinger Lavenham letter London look Maslansky Matthew Hopkins Michael Reeves Mike's Monserrats movie night noted Oblong Box once opening Paul Philip picture Pink Floyd Pirie Polanski psychedelic Radley realised recalls Reeves's remains remarks are taken Revenge Richard role Roscoe Roscoe's Sara Sara's scene screaming screen script seems sequence shoot shot Soho Sorcerers Stearne studio subsequent remarks talk Terror for Kicks things Tigon Tom Baker Tony Tenser torture Trevelyan Vardella villagers Vincent Price violence wanted witch Witchfinder young zoom