Pagan worship on a Scottish Island. Christopher Lee in a Dress, Britt Ekland dancing naked, Edward Woodward as the Christian Cop, Maypoles, cemeteries, spooky kids, innuendo, animal masks and a missing girl. These are the things that make The Wicker Man a fine film. I’m not even going to mention the dramatic climax, as there is more to this film than the ending. The basic plot revolves around a message sent to the mainland, a young girl is missing. Sergeant Howie (Woodward) takes a trip to the island to investigate the disappearance only to be met with blank expressions and closed doors. The locals are weird and insult Howie’s Christian beliefs by rubbing his nose in Pagan craziness. It soon becomes apparent that there is something very dangerous taking place on Summerisle.
The Wicker man is unlike anything ever made. It’s available in various editions, edited with a butchers knife; all versions have inconstancies in plot and continuity. This makes the film all the more special. It’s a magical feeling watching this film, which captivates the viewer and mesmerises with every scene, every line of script, every creepy smile and deep belly laughter. Maybe it’s the unwinding plot as Howie investigates as a detective, questioning and demanding some truth. The music is incredible too, adding an extra layer to this film, pagan folk; the Ekland scene is known as one of the most famous cinematic moments, but what makes it so is the music, haunting Howie, doubting his religion during Willow’s song. Gently Johnny is also a highlight.
The cast is an outstanding collection of talent. Christopher Lee, and Edward Woodward, arguably both their best cinematic performances. Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt and Aubrey Morris to name a few. A near perfect script by Shaffer (Frenzy & Sleuth) this film could be closer to a theatrical play than a film.
I’ve heard people mention that this film is not a Horror. Nonsence. This movie captivates pure evil, the like I’ve never seen since. I don’t know if it’s the contrast of Pagan/Christian belief, good vs evil, but balanced in a way that is believable. The residents of Summerisle see thier actions as natural and normal. I think it’s this innocence of evil which makes my spine tingle.
Rest in Peace Eddie.