Typically categorized as a horror film, The Wicker Man is actually a serious and literate thriller about modern paganism, written by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth) with a deft combination of cool subjectivity and escalating dread. (Despite this promising directorial debut, British filmmaker Robin Hardy didn’t make another film until The Fantasist, a little-seen thriller released in 1986.) We’re introduced to the friendly but mysterious residents of Summerisle (located off the west coast of Scotland), where the isolated community enacts rituals that seem, at first, to be merely unconventional. When called in to investigate an anonymous tip about a missing child, mainland police sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is treated as an outsider, and the ominous Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) has the inside advantage. As the repressed policeman is taunted by the island’s sensuous atmosphere, his investigation leads to increasingly disturbing implications.
With phallic symbols and soothing music at every turn, Summerisle is a pleasant haven for those who perform the pagan rituals of Lord Summerisle’s maverick ancestors. These earthy ceremonies are presented with alluring authenticity, and the island’s tempting eroticism is fully expressed by the landlord’s daughter (Britt Ekland), who fills Howie with barely suppressed carnal desire. (Sirens took a comedic approach to a similar situation in 1994.) And yet the mystery of the missing girl remains, with clues that hint at a darker reality beneath the colorful local customs. When that reality is ultimately discovered, Howie becomes the crucial element in the islanders’ most elaborate ritual, which is where the film’s title comes into play. It may not be horror, but it is horrific, and this makes The Wicker Man an unforgettable film. —Jeff Shannon
Robin Hardy (born 10 October 1929) is an English author and film director. His most famous directorial work was The Wicker Man, and his latest project is a film adaptation of his book Cowboys for Christ, which has been retitled as, The Wicker Tree. Hardy now lives in London and Somerset. -— Wikipedia
The Wicker Man (1973) (director)
The Fantasist (1986) (writer and director)
Forbidden Sun (1989) (writer)
The Wicker Tree (2011) (writer and director)
Very uneasy film in the sense that in presents us this island and these people who act rather savage and 'pagan' yet don't see it as being wrong. That idea of the uncanny. I'm 17 years of age and it shows how genius this film is , that it does not feel dated or the desired effect of the uneasy is as strong as ever. Great music and a wonderful portrayal of British country and landscape.
A slightly perverse byway down an alley rarely trodden in film which skilfully intersperses all manner of bits and pieces (pagan rites, folk music, the unerring eeriness of the British landscape, exploitation nudity, a religious zealot, etc.) onto a straightforward police procedural investigation. The original double-bill release with Don’t Look Now can hardly be bettered for surface detail and introspective delights
Hardy’s got a sequel to The Wicker Man, but Nicolas Cage has another idea.
"Ingrid Pitt [site], Hammer horror's favourite heroine, has died aged 73 in south London," reports Catherine Shoard in the Guardian. "The
An extraordinary eerie and strange movie. A policeman is send to a remote island to investigate the disapperance of a young girl, only the become entangled into the web of a paganistic cult.
I finally watched this uncut on Turner Classic Movies Underground (in HD, I might add) and I really enjoyed it. I thought it was a bit dated and corny to begin. A funny thing starts to happen though… read review