It must be stressed that despite the fact that it was produced in 1973 and stars both Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland, The Wicker Man is not a Hammer Horror film. There is no blood, very little gore and the titular Wicker Man is not a monster made out of sticks that runs around killing people by weaving them into raffia work. Edward Woodward plays Sergeant Howie, a virginal, Christian policeman sent from the Scottish mainland to investigate the disappearance of young girl on the remote island of Summer Isle. The intelligent script by Anthony Schaffer, who also wrote the detective mystery Sleuth (a film with which The Wicker Man shares many traits), derives its horror from the increasing isolation, confusion and humiliation experienced by the na? Howie as he encounters the island community's hostility and sexual pagan rituals, manifested most immediately in the enthusiastic advances of local landlord's daughter Willow (Britt Ekland). Howie's intriguing search, made all the more authentic by the film's atmospheric locations and folkish soundtrack, gradually takes us deeper and deeper into the bizarre pagan community living under the guidance of the charming Laird of Summer Isle (Lee, minus fangs) as the film builds to a terrifying climax with a twist to rival that of The Sixth Sense or Fight Club. --Paul Philpott
This controversial British cult classic, considered by its producer upon completion to be one of the worst films ever made, has been little seen since its brief theatrical release even though it is now regarded as a classic of British cinema. Edward Woodward stars as Sergeant Howie, a police officer sent to Summerisle, a secluded island off the coast of Scotland, to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan. When he arrives there, he finds a very tight knit community, one mistrustful and hostile to outsiders--none of them seem willing to even acknowledge the disappearance of young Rowan. Soon Howie begins to realise that the town belongs to some sort of pagan cult, one given to unbridled sexuality and possibly human sacrifice. Seeking an audience with the oddly civilised Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), Howie hopes to get to the bottom of the mystery, but instead finds something more shocking than he could have ever imagined.
A true cult classic that paints a disturbing portrait of an almost prehistoric, multi-deity worshipping society given to Bacchanalian excess and bizarre rituals, THE WICKER MAN is a truly unsettling experience. Erotic and mysterious, the film evokes the primal urges that underlay modern society through its unforgettable imagery and story.