The Wicker Man
(1973, Dir. by Robin Hardy.)
Why It's Here:
Another one of those movies that stands out by being completely different than most everything else under the sun, The Wicker Man is serious business. In fact, there might only be one or two horror movies out there with a more harrowing finish than this one. It's not just a gimmick film either - the first two acts are engrossing and confusing in all the right ways. Edward Woodward steals several scenes from genre favorites like Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee with his puritan performance, and the script by playwright Anthony Shaffer doesn't waste a moment.
The Moment That Changes Everything:
It isn't until the final moments that we really understand just how powerful The Wicker Man really is. I'm not even saying the final twist, I'm saying the actual final moments. Edward Woodward makes the movie work in a lot of ways, but the final things we hear from him hammer home just what this movie is.
It Makes a Great Double Feature With:
In the realm of movies where nothing is normal and the characters seemed to be trapped in their own personal hell, you might also find The Exorcist author William Peter Blatty's The Ninth Configuration. I'm not sure it really has anything to do with The Wicker Man, but I know that both movies are really unique and really worth seeing. If you want a night of deep thought (and some confusion) this double feature could exist.
What It Means To Me:
The Wicker Man is a hard movie to define. And it can not be replicated - just ask anyone about the remake and the (even-worse-than-the-remake) sequel. I talk a lot about movies being one of a kind or unique - seriously, they're the biggest cliches I use (I think) - but The Wicker Man really can't be compared to anything else. It's a horror/musical/comedy/religio-drama/work-of-freakin'-art that stands alone completely. It is the only film of its kind, and its kind is pretty amazing.