The Wicker Man (1973)

DVD Cover (Anchor Bay Special Edition)
Genres: Horror, Police Detective Film, Supernatural Horror
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Robin Hardy Robin Hardy
Edward Woodward Edward Woodward
Christopher Lee Christopher Lee
Diane Cilento Diane Cilento
Britt Ekland Britt Ekland
Ingrid Pitt Ingrid Pitt
Movie Connections:
The Wicker Man
> The Wicker Man (1973)
> The Wicker Man (2006)

7.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 23, 2007
There are many people out there who probably don't even know there was a film called "The Wicker Man" that didn't feature Nicolas Cage giving one of the worst acting performances in the history of film. There are many people out there who probably think a police detective spending ninety minutes beating up women is what the screenwriter originally had in mind. There are people out there who probably need to run to their local video store and rent the 1973 original, "The Wicker Man", directed by Robin Hardy. Not only is it one of the creepiest and most bizarre horror films ever created, but also a stern testament to the fact that most films need not be remade.

Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is called to the island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a missing girl, Rowan Morrison. Almost immediately, he is greeted by pleasant hostility from the locals. They claim to have never heard of a girl named Rowan Morrison, confusing Howie and forcing him to remain on Summerisle until he can solve the investigation. He travels to the town school, where he finds the name "Rowan Morrison" in the school registry. Some villagers say she is dead and buried. When he attempts to exhume the body, he finds nothing but the corpse of a rabbit. Sergeant Howie eventually meets Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), the very mysterious and very powerful leader of the island. As he deals with the Pagan rituals and methodologies of this island and the strange and awkward villagers, Sergeant Howie finds himself thrust into the most dangerous of games, where he himself might be at risk of never making it back to the mainland alive.

You will never see another horror film quite like this one. Take, for example, the sequence where the local girl sings to Sergeant Howie through the walls of the inn -- a musical number in a horror film. The original score by Paul Giovanni is atmospheric, upbeat and absolutely inappropriate -- but it works. That music is what helps make the whole film feel disjointed...in a good way. We don't know what to think. We're constantly waiting for something to happen and constantly waiting to see how the mystery unfurls. To say the ending of the film is a shock would be an understatement. It's like we've been waiting for ninety minute for something exciting to happen and then director Robin Hardy does not disappoint. "The Wicker Man" features one of the best endings in the history of cinema -- an ending so shocking, so climactic and so perfect that it could never be achieved again, especially in a remake that does everything the wrong way and wants to be congratulated.

There are just so many eerie sequences in this film. My favorite is when Sergeant Howie is rowing out to his plane, ready to leave the island, and we see the villagers watching him, wearing various animal masks. This is an image that burns itself into your head. And I can't count the number of films that one shot has inspired. Edward Woodward is fantastic as Sergeant Howie, carrying the film on his broad Shakespearean shoulders. Christopher Lee, in a smaller role, is quite threatening in a very quiet way as Lord Summerisle, and then he gets the last few minutes of the film to go crazy. "The Wicker Man" deals with ideas and practices not known to most audiences at the time, with the Pagan rituals and sacrifices. What makes "The Wicker Man" even scarier is that they want us to believe these practices go on right under our noses. And they very well could. "The Wicker Man" is one of the best horror films ever made. Period. 10/10.
Tristan #1: Tristan - added 05/23/2007, 12:39 AM
Originally I found this movie very boring. But I think I was too young for it, because when I bought and rewatched it about 2 months ago, I absolutely loved it.
cky2kendall #2: cky2kendall - added 05/23/2007, 10:26 AM
I never saw the remake, but then again I think a movie like this can't be remade. It's just so eerie, I hate watching it because I get genuinely creeped out by it. Truely a horror film which has stood the test of time and still manages to scare to this day. Good review.

Ginose #3: Ginose - added 06/08/2007, 12:53 AM
Remake wanted to make me punch babies.
Third greatest ending ever filmed.
Excellent acting (Christopher Lee's grandest performance)
All around, a damn-fined horror film, one of the greatest. 9.7/10
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