Run time: 94 mins
The Wicker Man has had an enduring fascination for audiences since its release in 1973. This unique folk-horror masterpiece still casts a spell.
Longer than the shortest cut, but still shorter than the longest, this restored "final cut" of the British classic about a puritanical policeman chasing his tail on a pagan island contains no surprises for Summerisle regulars, but newcomers will be in for a treat. When a young girl mysteriously disappears, Police Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) travels to a remote Scottish island to investigate. But this pastoral community, led by the strange Lord Summerisle (a creepy Christopher Lee) is not what it seems as the devoutly religious detective soon uncovers a secret society of wanton lust and pagan blasphemy.
The old weaknesses remain in this version (the risible dubbing and body-doubling of Britt Ekland, Hardy’s often clunky direction) but the strengths are overpowering; Woodward’s towering performance, Anthony Shaffer’s brilliantly nasty script, Paul Giovanni’s weirdie folk music, and one heck of an ending, all combine to create a chillingly memorable experience