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July 16, 2012

The Mike's Top 50 Horror Movies Countdown: #23 - The Wicker Man

Previously on the Countdown: Number 50 - Happy Birthday to Me  Number 49 - Prince of Darkness  Number 48 - House on Haunted Hill  Number 47 - The Monster Squad  Number 46 - Hellraiser  Number 45 - The Fog  Number 44 - Creature From the Black Lagoon  Number 43 - Zombie  Number 42 - Tales from the Crypt  Number 41 - Bubba Ho-Tep  Number 40 - Phantom of the Paradise  Number 39 - Dog Soldiers Number 38 - Pontypool  Number 37 - Dark Water  Number 36 - Army of Darkness Number 35 - The Legend of Hell House  Number 34 - Poltergeist  Number 33 - The Abominable Dr. Phibes  Number 32 - The Phantom of the Opera  Number 31 - The House of the Devil   Number 30 - Evil Dead II  Number 29 - Dead of Night  Number 28 - Carnival of Souls  Number 27 - Nosferatu  Number 26 - Candyman  Number 25 - The Texas Chain Saw Massacre  Number 24 - Horror of Dracula
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.


deadlydolls said...

My third favorite film of all-time. And agreed how the pure DIFFERENTNESS of it really makes it work like nothing else.

Did you review the sequel? I didn't hate it, so long as I thought of it as a sort of experiment by Robin Hardy.

The Mike said...

Glad we agree, at least on the original. I really couldn't stand the remake, and I felt like I was trying hard to make myself like it. I may give it another go when I'm less hopeful, but for now I just remember wanting to stab the movie in the face.