OBITUARY: Tony Tenser

Article excerpt

ALTHOUGH he will be remembered in British culture as the man who burned witches, his flair for selling wicker chairs in Southport should not be overlooked.

For, during a career making films, many of which appealed to men not accustomed to seeing women's flesh in the flesh, as it were, the man had a simple philosophy.

"I would rather be ashamed of making a film that was making money than proud of a film that was losing it," he said in a contemplative moment.

Surprisingly, the film regarded by his critics as his best was not a financial success when it was made in 1968.

However, The Witchfinder General, starring Vincent Price as Matthew Hopkins, the religious maniac who delighted in torturing women suspected of dallying with dark forces, is now a favourite among fans of horror movies, settling on the couch on Friday night with a curry and cans of lager.

In these parts, however, Tenser was better known for The Haunted House of Horror (1969), featuring Frankie Avalon, Mark Wynter, Jill Haworth and Richard O'Sullivan, which was shot at the Palace Hotel, Southport.

The psychopathic killer is now regarded as rather less frightening than the film's stab at 1960s fashion.

In the same year, Tenser also used the hotel for what the critics judged to be one of the worst British films ever made, What's Good for the Goose, starring Norman Wisdom and some nudie actresses. …