Date watched: Wednesday 21st June 2017
Format: Unbelievably – Cinema!
Year of release: 1973
First time watching?: No
From IMDb: “A police sergeant is sent to a Scottish island village in search of a missing girl whom the townsfolk claim never existed. Stranger still are the rites that take place there.”
This is one of my favourite movies. I prefer the Director’s Cut, but the version we got to watch in the cinema was the original theatrical version, which is fine. A friend and myself went to a local cinema that was doing a Sing Along for the movie, complete with a goody bag filled with themed sweets and audience participation. It was such good fun. I love this movie, but it’s been difficult trying to sell it to people who’ve never even heard of it.
The bulk of the movie is centred around Sergeant Howie’s search for the missing Rowan Morrison, and constantly being bombarded by the island’s pagan beliefs which completely contradict Howie’s valued Christian upbringing. Edward Woodward carries this slow burner of a movie well, and for those (very few) who know nothing of the ending (we did have a Wicker Man virgin in our screening the other night) even many years later it still packs a pretty good punch.
The real hero of this movie of course is Christopher Lee back in his prime. He cited his role as Lord Summerisle as one of his greatest, and it’s easy to see why.
This movie is a cult British classic, and still stands today as one of the UK’s greatest horror movies (even though it isn’t that scary). The songs featured add a unique characteristic to the film, especially if you stop and really listen to the lyrics.
If the event organisers that did our Sing Along are doing a screening anywhere near you, make the effort to go. It was so much fun to sing along with our Pagan hymn books, and the audience participation was well thought out and made for a really fun evening. Otherwise, just watch the movie. If you’re given the choice though, go for the Director’s Cut. In my opinion it just flows better, and the film makes a lot more sense watched this way.
Also, avoid the horrendous remake with Nicholas Cage. I watched five minutes and it is excruciatingly painful.
My rating: 8/10