Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Cult Classics: The Wicker Man

Ah, yes, this gut-buster:

No, wait. Wrong one*. That's the remix of the remake starring -- who else? -- Nicolas Cage, who landed one of the film's five Razzie nominations. Ugh.

*And it's not this Wicker Man, either.

But let's focus on the positive! If you're lucky enough to see/to have seen the 1973 original ... then you're pretty damn lucky.

Dubbed a horror movie, it's not so much that as a twisted, vivid nightmare -- one that follows a pious Scottish cop (Edward Woodard) who shows up on a nearby island to search for a missing girl. Only the islanders are a wee bit strange, and very ... very ... musical. Oh, and pretty sexual too. Basically, they're pagans of some kind, led by Saruman himself, Christopher Lee (above).

What sounds like the setup for a classic Evil People Doing Evil Things movie plays almost completely the opposite. At first, the film's theme song -- yes, it has a theme song -- feels horribly out of place ... and then you understand why it's there, as you follow the religious Woodard's journey through a world that's pure anathema to him.

Oh, and then there's the ending, where everything comes together in the most devilishly clever way possible.

Jeez, writing this, I just want to see it again.

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