"Do sit down, Sergeant. Shocks are so much better absorbed with the knees bent."
Recently, a new version of this classic film was released. Run from it as if your life depended on it. No, seriously - avoid that film. Instead, seek out the newly released and remastered original from Anchor Bay with the incredibly talented Edward Woodward as Sgt. Howie.
He has made his way to the Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Funny thing is, everyone on the island, including the girl's own mother (Irene Summers), claims that the girl never existed. As the dedicated Howie investigates further, he discovers the truth of Summerisle.
The Wicker Man is an amazing film loaded with wonderful performances from many in the entertainment industry, but mostly with an exceptional, if somewhat short bit of work from the legendary Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle.
Lee almost stole the film with his relatively small part. His normal, overshadowing presence onscreen is carried even further here and seems so powerful that the viewer will actually think he is onscreen longer and more often then he really is. That is acting.
If you include the beautiful Britt Ekland as Willow, this film will explode on the small screen just from the talent involved. If you watch the nude, most seductive dance in film until then (not that I did. Nope. Nah.), you find one of the most intensely erotic scenes in film and one that did a lot to further the realistic feel of the movie.
Watching her and Howie clash at times added to the humor of the film.
"The Wicker Man" is an excellent example of how to create an almost perfect horror/thriller. Made on a very small budget, the movie is today accepted as one of the best of the genre of all time, even though it did not get the true recognition it deserved when it first came out.
Anthony Shaffer wrote a fantastic script, choosing to add clues as to what was actually going on in such a subtle way that it honestly takes repeated viewings to get most of them - and I still think I missed a few. He had to have done some deep research into pagan rituals to show them with such a freaky realist feeling in the film. It will leave your flesh with goose pimples more then once.
At one point, director Robin Hardy felt the movie would never be made. He was forced to work with a very small budget, a ridiculously short shooting schedule, and forced to work with a studio that was declared bankrupt just after filming was completed.