“Come. It is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.”
Long before Nicolas Cage had a bonkers date with bees, the original Wicker Man offered an entirely different and no less entertaining trip to Summerisle.
Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward, whose role in Hot Fuzz cements Edgar Wright’s debt to this film) arrives via plane to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a missing girl. The residents of the island claim she doesn’t exist.
They’re, uh, lying.
But that’s fine! People lie, it’s what they do, and look at these Scots break out into fervent song and drink! That’s what Scots do. (Having been to Scotland, it is indeed what Scots do and I’m eternally jealous.)
These are sincere folk! And besides, Howie’s a conservative cop, a tight-ass Brit, a colonist. Loosen up and enjoy the May Day Festival, man.
Absorb that liberal/conservative commentary, be swayed by the gyrating summons of the very naked Britt Ekland… Give into the pleasures of Castle Anthrax, Howie.
It’s tempting, but when these islanders begin engaging in gloriously weird sexual rituals surrounding seeds and the planting of said seed… that’s when Howie knows he’s happened upon one of those classic cult islands.
Bummer, dude. At least he’s stumbled upon the type of ATMOSPHERE directors could spend their entire careers trying to craft and never quite capture. There’s that wondrous wig upon the glorious head of Sir Christopher Lee’s Lord Summerisle. The psychedelic folk soundtrack by Magnet, a band formed solely for the film composed by Paul Giovanni (“Of that feather was a bed, and on that bed there was a girl, and on that girl there was a man…”). A harshly beautiful Scottish isle. I mentioned Britt Ekland, right? Sigh.
Robin Hardy, you magnificent bastard, you did it.
I know you’re skeptical. But join me… in The Wicker Man cult. As Lord Summerisle himself intones, “One should always be open to the regenerative properties.”
If you’re open, The Wicker Man is now streaming on Amazon Prime.