Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Original: The Wicker Man

Oh God the bees!!! Yeah we will not be sitting through any deleted scenes made famous via Youtube. I could not endure that at all. Today's film was made superior thanks to its remake with Nicholas Cage in what felt like a picture by numbers story telling. Instead we have an eerie film wrought with danger, suspense and the unknown. This is The Wicker Man.

The summer stock play of George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Made in 1973 and directed by Robin Hardy (The Wicker Man, The Fantasist and the Wicker Tree) and written by screenwriter Anthony Shaffer (Frenzy, Sleuth, The Wicker Man, Death on the Nile, Absolution, Evil Under the Sun, Appointment with Death and Sommersby) our strange little tale begins with the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan Morrison (Gerry Cowper of Bachelor Father, Frenzy, General Hospital, Telford's Change, Two People, Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Bill and EastEnders). Assigned to the case is one Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward of Sitting Target, Callan, 1990, The Equalizer, Over My Dead Body, Common As Muck, Crusade, CI5: The New Professionals, Hot Fuzz and EastEnders) as he received an anonymous letter so he heads to the Scottish isle of Sumerisle. Being a devote Christian, this island seems to take in pagan rituals of the early Celtic gods which apparently include making love in open fields, celebrating the Summer solstice with May Day traditions dancing, singing and placing toads in the mouths of children to cure sore throats.

Dear, stop whistling to the Hymns.

If he wasn't weirded out by all that going on, Howie seems to be hitting a brick wall with the islanders as no one seems to know of any Rowan including her own mother May (Irene Sunters of This Man Craig, Five Red Herrings, The Camerons, High Road, Shadow of the Stone, The Steamie, Taggart and The Crow Road) is either misdirecting him, interfering with his investigation or just in general behaving absolutely loony. Staying at the Green Man Inn, The good sergeant notices a collection of photos on the wall celebrating the annual harvest always with a young gilr referred as the May Queen. The most recent celebration's photo is oddly enough missing. Howie questions the landlord Aldar (Lindsay Kemp of The Vampire Lovers, Savage Messiah, The Stud, Sebastiane, Valentino and Jubilee) who gives the all too quick response of the picture frame broke and he has been meaning to replace it. To throw Howie further off the scent, the landlord's daughter Willow (Britt Ekland of The Night They Raided Minsky's, Get Carter, The Wicker Man, The Man with the Golden Gun, Fantasy Island, Erotic Images, Love Scenes, Fraternity Vacation, Beverly Hills Vamp, Cold Heat, Superboy and The Children) clumsily tries to seduce Howie but he spurns her advances. Not to be detered from the truth, Howie speaks with the island's leader and spiritual guide Lord Summerisle (Sir Christopher Lee of Horror of Dracula, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The City of the Dead, Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace, Horror Express, The Three Musketeers, The Man with the Golden Gun, Gremlins 2: The New Batch and Sleepy Hollow) and it is at this point Howie's danger sense should be kicking in.

Be honest.  This isn't my best wig, is it?

C'mon dude! This cat is 6'5", with a baritone voice and was Dracula, Frankenstein's monster, a Sith Lord and Saruman!!! Bad juju ahead!!! Howie may have been distracted with the likes of the local librarian played by Ingrid Pitt (Where Eagles Dare, The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula, The House That Dripped Blood, Doctor Who, The House, Bones, Underworld and The Asylum) running around ancient stones buck bare but this is only an educated guess.

Will Howie get to the bottom of this?? Is the entire island completely crackers?? Can you trust a land ruled by Christopher Lee??

From music, production to performance, this is a genuinely creepy film and its remake is a pale comparison. It is almost as if the original source material was slightly glossed over but we will make an island ran by women and the menfolk NEVER rise up and fight?   Whereas this story, the entire town seems off, mysterious and downright just spooky as Hell. A fair degree of nudity, horror erotica and creepy ass dream sequences, so you may want to skip letting the kids watch.

Keep in mind this is one of the better Horror movies I have seen in a while. The plot is solid, the story disentangles at a nice leisurely pace and the orchestral music sends shivers up and down your spine. Spoiler! There is no CGI bees added into cleaning up the print. I know. I too was disappointed.

You takin' the piss, Guv?