The Wicker Man (1973)

DailyView: Day 173, Movie 255

Earlier this year in the DailyView, I watched the 2006 remake of this movie that starred Nicolas Cage. It was one of the worst films that I have seen during the DailyView. Although it does share some story parts in common, the original 1973 version is considerably different in tone and execution.

Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), a puritan police officer, received an anonymous letter begging for help in finding a missing 12-year old girl on the island of Summerisle off the coast of Scotland. When he arrived on the island, Sgt. Howie encountered a group of people preparing for their May Day celebration. Sgt. Howie was obstructed, lied to and misled about the whereabouts or the fate of the girl Rowan,

Howie discovered the grave of Rowan, he had to receive the permission of Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) to exhume the casket. Sgt. Howie’s Christian beliefs were at odds with much of what he saw happening on the island, and he felt that it was vitally important to find Rowan before it was too late.

This The Wicker Man is much more about Christianity vs. Paganism than the Nic Cage version.

The 1973 movie made these people on the island feel much more cult-like than the more recent film. The songs that they sang were about as creepy as you are ever going to hear.

While the endings were pretty similar, this version’s ending was a hundred times better, with the fright factor being much higher and making the entire thing serious whereas the Cage version was ridiculous from the start. Watching the island people sway back and forth singing as the Wicker Man burned would have been a frightful surprise if I had not seen the other version already. Even with the knowledge of what was going to happen, The Wicker Man 1973 was so much more effective in creating a mood of fear and uneasiness.

The final shot of the 1973 film is an amazing shot of the sunset and it is simply a beautifully constructed image.

It really is amazing that one of the best British horror movies ever made was remade into one of the worst movies ever made.

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