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The Wicker Man (1973)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Robin Hardy

Starring:
Edward Woodward/Sergeant Howie
Christopher Lee/Lord Summerisle
Britt Ekland/Willow
Ingrid Pitt/Librarian
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Tightly wound Sergeant Howie (Wooodward) hits the Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the dissapearance of a little girl. Once there he finds himself appaled by the "hedonistic" lifetsyle of the islanders while being sucked into a dangerous web. What's Howie in for? It sure aint a continental breakfast!
THE LOWDOWN

Do sit down, Sergeant. Shocks are so much better absorbed with the knees bent. - Lord Summerisle

The Wicker Man had a rough ride till it reached its “Cult Classic” status. The initial US distributors of the film had little faith in it, so they snipped out 12 minutes and buried it on the big screen under Don’t Look Now as part of a double bill. Its through time and word of yapper, that the film found the respect and the audience it deserves. Shit, to this day the GREAT Christopher Lee still proclaims it to be the best flick he was ever in.

Now, I had never seen this baby (I know shame on me, I should be shot on sight) but in light of the "now playing" “Neil Labute” remake, I decided to make that “wrong” right. So I bought the Theatrical Version DVD, threw it in the player and hoped for the best. Thankfully I got the best! Wicker Man was a heavy hitter, even by today’s standards. It was a very odd film, one with a peculiar, sexually charged and all around hypnotizing aura about it. The aspect that really cranked my timer is that I was thrown into the lead protagonist’s shoes, to go through the same warped ringer that he was put through. I saw what he saw and knew what he knew at the same as he did. That made for an engrossing sit down, granted a slow burn and subtle one, but extremely intoxicating nonetheless.

The peculiar mood of the island and its “smile in your face stab you in the back” in-habitants also upped the “they got me by the balls” factor. You see the folks here were all about random sex and hedonistic pleasure, which for a horn dog schmuck like me is far from threatening. The same could be said about the serene setting at hand. The beautiful sea side island, with nature in full bloom was at first glance nothing to get the willies about, even whislt being overcast. Looked like a small paradise to me, even more so when you add the peeps’ “gangbang” attitude to it. I’D MOVE THERE! And it was that un-assuming demeanor that made the film all so much upsetting. It didn’t look or feel like a horror movie but yet I knew it was one. Throughout, I had a cloud of dread floating above my vacuous head and I kept anticipating it to pour down on me. That constant nagging feeling made for quite the unnerving experience.

Add to all that top notch performances by Woodward and Lee, nudity galore (Britt Ekland was to die for), a compelling “duel of religions” subtext, a uber distinctive way of communicating some bits via gripping musical numbers and a finale that definitely uppercut me and sent me to the mat and you get a bitter pill that was ahead of its time. The Wicker Man was the real deal and it lived up to its glowing rep for me. Granted it’s not a film for everybody, but if you’re craving an under the wire, innovative, arousing, daring and sucker punching injection, Wicker with this Man, the bastard won’t let you down!

GORE
There wasn’t any gore in the film, but I got real queasy at one point as to what the film was suggesting.
ACTING
Edward Woodward (Sergeant Howie) was outstanding as the righteous and very Christian Policeman. I couldn't help but like him and root for him the whole time. Christopher Lee (Lord Summerisle) was a delight as the happy go lucky yet underlying menacing leader of the pack. I wanted to nail both Britt Ekland (Willow) and Ingrid Pitt (Librarian). Sexy and on the bal acting wise. Tops!
T & A
Ahhh the 70’s, a time when sex exploded on the scene and the screen. Wicker Man was no exception; we get mucho tits and ass with the highlight being hottie Britt Ekland shaking those boobies and ass in her room as part of a dance of seduction. Hey, I would've fallen for it in a heartbeat!
DIRECTING
Robin Hardy gave us a visual treat by maximizing his gorgeous locations while tapping into the “evil” that lies beneath through strategic shots. He also put out skills when it came to gradually sucking us in via an inconspicuous pace and a particular atmosphere. Flower power meets horror! That’s the best way I can describe what this novel flick looked and felt like.
SOUNDTRACK
The flick put out an infectious LSD spiked, somber and definately odd score (by Paul Giovanni). We also get some swell song and dance bits that warmed by tip-toes.
BOTTOM LINE
Wicker Man has influenced many films over the years. The fun Kelly Preston starring Spellbinder and the recently released Population 436 come to mind but on my checklist of films to cherish, its stand atop of the hill on its own like the King F*ck that it is. Expertly written, superbly shot and tightly acted, The Wicker Man was a one of a kind trip, one laced with a disconcerting mood, sexual energy, strong themes and a cap-off that ruined me. Hopefully the remake will measure up, either way; I’ll always have this Idol to worship.
BULL'S EYE
Britt Ekland's butt shot was really a body double. The bit was shot after she was done with her role while being pregnant.

Britt Ekland was a Bond Girl in The Man with the Golden Gun, again starring alongside Chrsitopher Lee. Christopher Lee acted in this film for free.

The flick was shot in Dumfries and Galloway in the South West of Scotland
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+0
8:12AM on 09/06/2006

Good movie, great ending

Woodward's horror at the end was so genuine, it really sent the film over the edge to greatness for me.
Woodward's horror at the end was so genuine, it really sent the film over the edge to greatness for me.
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12:34AM on 09/06/2006
It's good to see that Arrow FINALLY got off his ass to review this gem. I'd have to say, I agree completely. It's one of those rare films that just stays with you in the back of your mind.
It's good to see that Arrow FINALLY got off his ass to review this gem. I'd have to say, I agree completely. It's one of those rare films that just stays with you in the back of your mind.
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