This week we watched The Wicker Man (1973) which can be found streaming on Netflix, and it lives up to the hype. On this episode, we are joined by Ben Warrington with his recommendations for movies to stream during quarantine, and we also read comments and questions from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Intro – (0:09)
- Synopsis – (05:25)
- Review – (8:19)
- Score – (11:15)
- Spoilers – (20:23)
- Final Recommendations – (57:22)
- Ben’s Picks for Quarantine Horror Streaming – (59:14)
- It Came From Social Media – (1:31:00)
- Outro – (1:47:22)
The Wicker Man is about a wicker man. No, it’s actually about a scottish constable, Sargeant Neil Howie, played by Edward Woodward who is called to investigate the disappearance of a little girl off of the secretive and secluded Island SummerIsle. The main thing that you need to know about Sargeant Howie is that he is tired of your shit. The main thing you need to know about SummerIsle is that this Island Fucks.
As Sergeant Howie investigates the disappearance of Rowan Morrison, it becomes quickly apparent that the islanders are not to be trusted. They have shifty eyes from the outset, and even worse, they are Pagans! The devout Christian Sergeant Howie is ill equipped to face the strange rituals and attitudes found to be taught and practiced on the island. These blasphemous rituals include singing and dancing around the maypole and … premarital sex!
As the mystery of the missing girl gets unraveled, Howie learns about the agrarian origins of the island and its reliance on the old gods to provide a plentiful harvest. Sometimes the old gods demand sacrifice. Just sayin.
The Wicker Man focuses on the true horror, feeling uncomfortable around weird people.
This movie is a classic for a reason, it is very discombobulating, and you experience the confusion that Sargeant Howie does. Anyone with a conservative christian upbringing might not have as extreme reaction to the Paganism as Howie, but the feeling of discomfort about sex and blasphemy is probably familiar.
The darkness at the root of this island is felt throughout, but isn’t overt. Mostly it’s a feeling of being toyed with and mocked. The island is like a bunch of Mean Girls.
The enduring legacy of the film is it’s conclusion and I don’t want to spoil it for those that haven’t seen it. All I can say is it made me feel lots of emotions, almost like a religious experience
Expand for Spoilers
I pretty much knew the plot of the Wicker Man from the Radiohead music video for Burn The Witch, and also heard that the ending of Midsommar was very similar, but I was genuinely effected by the ending of The Wicker Man.
The pacing of the film really lulls you into a false sense of security. You know pretty much from the get go that these islanders are acting suspicious, but the immediate conclusion is that they are covering for someone in the village that commited the murder.
However, as we see the islanders, especially the landlords daughter Willow, continue to fuck with him, it seems like there might be a larger conspiracy. Along the way, there is enough clues revealed, that it feels like the secret is that Rowan is alive and going to be sacrificed.
The conclusion arrives, and it is revealed that Sargent Howie was the target all along. They had specifically researched him and identified him as the ideal sacrifice to the gods for a plentiful harvest. He was:
- An Adult Male
- A Virgin
- He comes with the power of a king in that he is a police officer
- He is a Christian
- He is a fool
When it is revealed that the method of sacrifice is to have Howie burned alive in a wicker man, it is genuinely terrifying. The camera stays with Howie as he sees the fire licking up at him in his final moments. It was deeply affecting.
If you want to delve into the classics, I would definitely add this to the list. If you watched Midsommar and want more of that.