Michael Reeves (October 17, 1943 – February 11, 1969) was an English film director and screenwriter. He is best known for the 1968 American International Pictures/Tigon motion picture Witchfinder General (known in the U.S. as The Conqueror Worm). He died at age 25 from alcohol and barbiturate overdose.
Reeves was born in Sutton, Surrey,and grew up in Suffolk, whose landscape made a deep impression on his best known film, Witchfinder General. His father died when he was young, but his mother was a devoted single parent. As a child he began making short films, some of which starred his lifelong friend, the actor Ian Ogilvy. As a boarder at Radley College he obsessively broke bounds to attend the cinema, and was utterly single minded about his ambition to work in film. Upon leaving school he turned up on the doorstep of his favourite director, Don Siegel, who promptly employed him as an assistant. Subsequently he worked in Italy, where he eventually directed… read more
If Rossellini and Bresson had a butt baby, and he was forced to direct a script for a B-movie studio, it would come out looking something like this. A pure exercise in geometry and color and efficiency.
Visually rough & unpolished but relentlessly, nihilistically cruel and depraved film that translates its own disgust for all human violence extraordinarily effectively to an audience unaccustomed to its bracing, naked honesty (especially for its time & genre). Revels in demystifying the hero-worship of English military history & fairytale gender relations (the failure of Prince Charming, the ceaseless horrors of war)