THE WICKER MAN (1973)
posted 00/00/2008

Directed by:
Robin Hardy

Starring:
Edward Woodward ... Sergeant Howie
Christopher Lee ... Lord Summerisle
Diane Cilento ... Miss Rose
Britt Ekland ... Willow

Country: UK
Runtime: 88 min
AKA: Anthony Shaffer's The Wicker Man
         
   

I’m not sure I was prepared for what I was about to see. I knew that this was a cult phenomenon with a shocking twist, but I wasn’t a big fan of British Horror or Christopher Lee. To be quite honest with you I was hooked from the beginning where we see a sea-plane traveling to a Scottish island. As soon as our police officer sets foot on the island this mysterious thriller catches fire and manages to keep on burning till the last frame.

Wicker Man is about a police sergeant called in to investigate the disappearance of a young girl on a Scottish island. Finding the girl is made close to impossible due to the inhabitants of the island being Pagan fanatics. There is everything from boisterous song and dance to sexual aberrations and bizarre rituals. One can’t seem to deny that the whole town knows a lot more than what they are saying, which isn’t much. Sergeant Howie, a practicing catholic soon becomes deeply disturbed by the sheer lunacy of the villagers.

My favorite scene is when he is about to go to bed in the town inn where he is staying. The bartender’s daughter, Willow (played by the lovely Britt Ekland), performs a beautiful seductive dance in the nude inside her room which is next to Howie’ s. She jiggles both front and rear all the while singing and calling to Howie to join her. The cool thing is that neither one exits their room yet you see the magnetic pull of the ritualistic dance. I have never seen anything like it. After witnessing other oddities like a group of couples having intercourse by the beach, a naked girl crying by a tombstone at night, a store that sells foreskins and the frequency of these people to break into song, Sgt. Howie is taken to see Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee).

On the carriage ride there Howie is taken aback (once again) by yet another pagan dance rite. Ok, we get that this town is SUPER religious. I swear that the chapter breakup on the DVD is one ritual to another. Anyway in this rite young naked girls in a circle take turns jumping through a fire pit in the center. The purpose for this, as Christopher Lee tells us, is so the girls may become impregnated by the flames and have miracle babies or some crap like that. Personally the whole idea of flame broiled vagina does seem curiously kinky. Then Lord Summerisle goes on about how his family were charismatic farmers and scientists. It all boils down to the harvest and appeasing the nature gods. I think all they want is a reason to have group sex and songs.

The nightmare continues as the villagers grow less cooperative and more peculiar. The big May festival is here and all the freaks are out in their animal costumes. It’s like a carnival of depravity. This reminds me a lot of Herschel Gordon Lewis’ film Two Thousand Maniacs. I recommend you check it out if you like this one. Howie suspects that a human sacrifice (the missing girl) will culminate the festivities and he means to stop it from taking place. He ambushes a villager, puts on his costume and manages to merge into the crowd of cultists.

What happens next is what everyone talks about and no one forgets. I certainly wouldn’t want to ruin that for you, although it's quite obvious. Jose had seen the film earlier and kept quiet like a good movie pal should. I really enjoyed this film. It deserves still more success than what it has. This is one of the types of horror that chills my bones the most because it’s so plausible. I think it was even based on true accounts. Either way I don’t think I will ever set foot anywhere near a Scottish isle!

- Jorge Antonio Lopez

 

comments powered by Disqus

Strictlysplatter.com is owned and operated by Jorge Antonio Lopez. All original content is Copyrighted © 2008 by its respective author(s). All Image files
are used in accordance with Fair Use, and are property of the film copyright holders.