Wicker Man, The (1975)
A British Classic
I don't think it's any secret that most horror movies made before 2001 were pretty awesome. Most we remember, such as Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street, but there are quite a few that become forgotten by most people. One of these movies is certainly THE WICKER MAN. No, not the crappy Nicholas Cage movie from 2006. The origional WICKER MAN from 1973 is considered one of the most shocking and odd British films ever made, and is today considered a cult classic among horror fans. Of course, Hollywood had to fuck with it, coming out with that horrible 2006 remake which was almmost imediately forgotten. Not only is this a great horror film, it introduced horror icon Christopher Lee, known for his roles in DRACULA and the STAR WARS prequels, to a new generation.
PLOT: A Scottish constable travels to the isolated island of Summerisle to investigate the report of a missing girl. Once there, the constable, a devout Christian, is disgusted at the Pagan religion of the residents and even more confused at the claims that the girl never existed.
REVIEW: This is definately one of the best foreign horror films I've ever seen. It really broke the boundaries for that time, even got an X rating, and didn't care what the rating systems thought. I love the fact that it accomplished so much without any gore or "jump scares" that Hollywood seems to love these days, and simply relied on the plot and shocking twists to scare us.
The screenplay by Anthony Shaffer is great, giving incredible character development and beleivable dialouge. Robin Hardy's direction, while not the best I've ever seen, is very good. He really crafts a unique film here, although at times the pacing is slow, and there are some dull moments. However, he certainly put alot of suspense in the movie, so I give him props.
The characters in THE WICKER MAN are very beleivable. Willow, the landlord's daughter, was very charming, although she's not in the film alot. Constable Howie, the film's protagonist, is kind of a dick. I mean, I respect the fact that he just wants to find a missing girl, but he's just completely ignorant of anyone's religion that isn't Christianity. Of course the islanders' religion is odd (not as odd as Scientology, though), but don't be a douche to people because they don't beleive the same things you do. Still, I did feel for the guy at the end. My favourite character was actually the film's antagonist, Lord Summerisle. He doesn't actually appear until about 50 minutes into the movie, but shit, did he leave an impression! Definately one of my favourite villians right there.
The acting is fantastic in this. Edward Woodward was very believable as Constable Willow. He really did a great job at playing a religiouse prick, and his performance at the last scene was so good, I forgot he was acting. Diane Cillento was good as the schoolteacher, altough she wasn't in the film too much.
The best actor, hands down, is Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle. He doesn't show up until about 50 minutes into the movie, but damn does he leave an impression! The guy's a marvelous actor, and he really puts everything into this character. His performance at the final scene was just chilling, as well. Lord Summerisle is certainly my favourite performance of his.
WRAP UP- Overall, THE WICKER MAN is a classic British horror film that every horror fan should see. Wait, now I have to review that damn remake....NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!