The Wicker Man * Robin Hardy * 1973

Posted in arthouse, drama, thriller on by .

I don’t think I had heard of this film before Looking For Europe (see book reviews section) kept refering to this “neofolk film”. I am not too fond of old (horror) films, that may be why. But since you can get this film very cheaply from CD Wow even in the director’s cut version, I decided to get it and have a watch.
Sergeant Howie receives a letter of a missing girl on the remote “Summerisle” somewhere in the North of the UK. There this very Christian police officer finds people living in “the old way”, worshipping “the old gods”. Actually their religion is more like the neopagan wicca faith of Gerald Garder (1884-1964) and co. Girls dancing naked in a stone circle, jumping over bonfires for fertility, May-poles representing phallusses, etc. This is mixed with folkloristic elements, such as sword-dancers, cultic processions and the like and at the end the famous Celtic way of punishing criminals /slash/ fertility rite. The film is stuffed with hippieish folkmusic, so I suppose this ‘old ways’ and musical elements made the film popular among ‘neofolkers’. Well, the film is alright. I am not too happy with the way the ‘old religion’ is portrayed but it is a film right? Not very horror by the way, maybe except the last scenes that are fanatically sampled by Blood Axis on the first album. According to Looking For Europe some of the songs in the film have been covered by neofolk artists, but I didn’t recognise any of the songs. Even the Iron Maiden song (and mcd) “The Wicker Man” doesn’t sound familiar after seeing the film. Like I said, a nice film to see some time.
Oh yes, the lack of inspirition from Hollywood now also concerns “The Wicker Man”. A new version with Nicholas Cage as sergeant Howie is scheduled for later this year……….
29/1/06 -3-
The remake is reviewed here.

One comment

  1. About the neo-folk versions of the songs: Nature and Organisation (by Michael Cashmore, Rose McDowall etc.) performs Willow’s song from the soundtrack on the album “Beauty Reaps the Blood of Solitude”. But there it is called The Wicker Man Song.

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