Wicker Man, The (1973)

Sergeant Howie has received an anonymous letter concerning a young girl missing on Summerisle. Within the opening credits Howie flies to the remote island in search of answers.

 

From his very first encounter with the inhabitants of Summerisle the Sergeant realizes he's had root canals easier than gaining their cooperation. For every questions asked he receives a confident lie. When truth is accidently discovered more lies and manipulation are applied.

 

Slowly but surely Howie catches a small glimpse of the twisted games being played. A devout Christian, virgin, and believer of all things holy, Sergeant Howie uncovers a plot to sacrifice the missing girl to the gods of harvest ensuring  better crops next year. Unknown to the lone officer, sometimes a plan is only plan leading to bigger plans. Sometimes the hunter becomes the hunted.

 

The Wicker Man is no doubt a very twisted tale dabbling in the uncompromising Christian faith and underground pagan worship of "old gods".

 

First of all I was surprised the film was in color. Ha...second of all I was surprised when a scene broke out into song and dance. Not so much as a musical would but these elements were boldly incorporated through drunken bar scenes and ceremonial hymns. The characters would prance and kick through a routine riding the thin directorial line between ridiculous and ingenious. It worked well...I was just surprised.

 

The acting was good for the most part. I understand the director used a lot of the locals from the town in his scenes. Fortunately they blend in flawlessly amongst the other talent. This is the first movie I've seen Christopher Lee act in where he was so young. He did as expected... a perfectly creepy job with his confident boom of a voice and tall giraffe like strides.

 

The movie was good. I think I just expected so much more. I remember feeling as I was watching that I would disappointingly rate it a 2 or 2.5. I was enjoying it but it just wasn't taking me anywhere I expected to go. Finally, the last scene of the The Wicker Man blew my socks off. Finally I got that impactful disturbing scene I was looking for. Finally I began to feel something. In interviews the filmmakers kept saying they were trying to create a new kind of horror movie, one that broke out of the cliches. I think the last thirty minutes hits the nail on the head.

 

The Wicker Man is no doubt a classic that demands respect. I guess I just expected a little more from a film that's been haunting my queue for so many months... even years.

Reviewed by: shea
7 Comment(s)
any comparissons with the Nick Cage version? gooder? badder? I think Nick should redo his own redone version of wicker man, but this time ride a motorcycle into Summerisle with a flaming skull for a head... It's ok Elanor. It can be fixed.
Shea said...
I never saw the Cage version...i assumed everyone was in global agreement that is sucked.

Some movies just dont need to be remade and this is definitely one of them.
Andy said...
It is time to keep your appointment with The Wicker Man.
* (asterisk) (http://suchastheyare.blogspot.com) said...
I hear where you're coming from, and the film has undoubtedly dated. Unfortunately, too, the last image is seen everywhere, so it's not so much of a surprise, perhaps.

When I saw it, back in 1986/87, I had never heard of it and it showed up as the first movie in a series on TV under the banner "Moviedrome", presented by Sid & Nancy director Alex Cox.

I was so not expecting that ending. It was so out there and scary and ... just ... insane! Glad you liked it some, though, and I hope you get the chance to see it a few more times.

One question: which version did you watch, the short one (85 mins) or the director's cut (101 mins)?
Shea said...
I would have loved to be in the theater with you that day A-man.

I watched the shorter one. Did I miss much?
* (asterisk) (http://suchastheyare.blogspot.com) said...
Fact is, the longer version is far superior. In the short version, Howie spends just one night on the island. In the long version, it's two nights. Some great songs are cut out of the short one, too, and quite a few nice scenes.

The whole history of the movie is totally fascinating. Try to get hold of the book Inside The Wicker Man for a groovy read about how film production companies can fuck up your movie!

You were but a babe in arms when I was watching it for the first time. Awww.
Shea said...
Well I am sure I will see this one again eventually(couple years) and it will be a nice treat to see a different cut.

werd.