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MOVIE REVIEW: The Wicker Man (1974)

REVIEW SUMMARY: A cult (art-house?) horror story of pagan god worship.


BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A police officer is called to a remote island west of Scotland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. During his investigation, he finds that the island’s inhabitants worship the pagan gods of the sun and earth, and that the May Day celebration (and sacrifice?) is just days away.


PROS: October is horror-movie month for me. This year’s line-up included the likes of Scanners, Kill Baby Kill and Sleepy Hollow. Since I’d never seen the original film The Wicker Man, I also added that to my list, and am so glad that I did. While not so much a horror story as it is mystery and suspense, this movie really delivers.

The story in short is that a police officer from the mainland, Sgt. Howie (Edward Woodward) gets called to investigate the disappearance of a young girl from a remote island west of Scotland. The inhabitants all worship the gods of the earth and sun, and Howie, a devout Christian, is offended by the open sexuality exhibited by the community. It is even taught to the youngest children in school! The May Day celebration is fast approaching, and Sgt. Howie thinks that the girl may be in danger of begin sacrificed if he doesn’t find her first. But curiously, no one even knows who she is, or who reported her missing.

Christopher Lee plays Lord Summerisle, the grandson of the man who originally founded the island, and seems to be orchestrating the bizarre behavior of the residents.

In 1979, the Wicker Man won the Saturn Award for best horror film. There is considerable nudity in the movie, so you’ll definitely not want to watch the film with children present.

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