The Wicker Man (1973)

Article 2442 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-8-2007
Posting Date: 4-19-2008
Directed by Robin Hardy
Featuring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento

A policeman arrives on Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a girl. He finds the residents are extremely uncooperative and given to pagan rituals. He begins to suspect that the girl is being held as a human sacrifice in their upcoming May Day rituals.

There are many who consider this cult horror movie to be an absolute classic, but there are also quite a few out there who consider it highly overrated. Me, I’m captivated by it. Part of it is the plot itself; it’s written by Anthony Shaffer, who also gave us the script for SLEUTH, and this has at least one great plot twist that recalls that movie. Part of it is the interesting characters and the fine acting; this is certainly one of Christopher Lee’s best performances. But I think what I like best is the use of music, dance and nudity to establish the settings, situations and atmosphere. In many movies, these elements come across as gratuitous; in this one, they transport us to a different world, one which Edward Woodward’s Sergeant Howie is singularly ill-suited to deal with. The cast also features Britt Ekland (whose nude scene is especially effective) and Ingrid Pitt. The jarring images and the great dialogue linger in the memory. In short, I align myself with those who consider it a classic. I’ve not seen the 2006 remake of the movie, but from what I’ve heard, the less said about that one, the better.



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