Witchfinder General remake lands John Hillcoat as director
“For almost 20 years, Rupert Preston has not only been one of the main distributors of my films,” Refn said. “He has also been one of my closest partners in entertainment. It is with extreme pleasure that both Rupert and I can incorporate John Hillcoat into our group as director for our production of Witchfinder General. It gives me enormous satisfaction to produce John’s vision and bring the retelling of this classic British film to a new audience.”
Hillcoat was equally enthusiastic about the announcement. “I’m drawn to the dynamic departures behind this remake. The idea of a world pushed to extremes where fear preys upon all, unleashing religious fanaticism, rival factions, tribalism, heretics, and witch hunts… feels strangely familiar in today’s world.”
The original Witchfinder General was based on Ronald Bassett’s historical novel. Set in 1645 Norfolk, England, the film starred Vincent Price, Ian Ogilvy and Hilary Dwyer. It was a fictionalized study of real-life witch hunter Matthew Hopkins and the heinous crimes he committed during the English Civil War. Torture and violence featured heavily in the original film, which stirred controversy both in the U.K. and in the U.S. While it wasn’t much of a box office hit, it lived on in drive-ins and grindhouses on repeat, eventually gaining a cult status among horror fans.