Eerie take on rural communities and their rites, juxtaposing the idyllic nature of the tight-knit island against the undercurrent of something's-not-right-here experienced by Sargeant Howie. A wonderful reflection on Paganism vs. Christianity in the modern era, too.
"Not being a horror film buff, I avoided this movie for years, thinking that it was simply a silly and compulsive cult-film fixation fest about closet-paganism run amok in the violence-saturated New Age West. A hippie-dippy witchy-woman musical that was anything but trite or predictable (but so obvious was its intention—or so I thought) that it fooled me right up until the last millisecond. Fooled again."
Robin Hardy's The Wicker Man leaves a feeling of dread and hope during its shocking climax. The film runs through sexual discovery with the town's pagan beliefs giving the audience a view of the religion. At times, it feels like Hardy just wants to show you the way of the pagans, but showing the importance of one self's belief. Leaving you with question of your own beliefs and desires.
3-4. I'm somewhat torn about this one for the fact that it's not QUITE scary until its ending. It is generally low-key, with the film mostly being absent of songs, but for the evocative folk songs sung by the townspeople. I'm also not quite sure what to make of the final result of the conflict between the townspeople, which is clearly eerie, but ambiguous about exactly what it's trying to say.
There's a lot of nice stuff here: the mystery in an isolated community, the folk songs, the cinematography is warm and likable. Unfortunately it's married to a plot which seems like a lazy slur against non-Christians. Maybe the director has warm feelings about 70s culture but can't get past the need to wed the movie to a conventional thriller plot where the "other" community must be evil for dramatic purposes.
Religions collide in a fantastic dreamlike mediation on how our ignorance of others lead us down the wrong path. Stay off the island copper. Lee seems to relish this role in bad wig and no fangs. great stuff and eerie tone throughout. The X rating in England came from seeing Britt Ekland's ass in a dance sequence worthy of one's time, Rod the Mod you lucky bastid.