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The Wicker Man

UK 1973
produced by
Peter Snell for British Lion
directed by Robin Hardy
starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Walters, Aubrey Morris, Irene Sunters, Walter Carr, Geraldine Cowper, Ian Campbell, Jennifer Martin, John Sharp, Richard Wren, Tony Roper, Donald Eccles, Myra Forsyth, John Hallam, Lesley Mackie, Kevin Collins, Fiona Kennedy, Roy Boyd, Penny Cluer, Andrew Tompkins, Bernard Murray, Ian Cutler, Peter Brewis, Michael Cole, Alison Hughes, Ross Campbell
screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, based on his novel, music by Paul Giovanni

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Available on DVD !

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To investigate an anonymous missing persons report concerning 12-year old Rowan Morrison (Geraldine Cowper), inspector Howie (Edward Woodward), a deeply religious and prudent man, comes to Summerisle, a privately owned island off the Scottish coast, where the mores seem to be loose (with people fornicating in public spaces and strolling around in the nude and that sort of stuff) and the whole populace doesn't seem to be believing in the Christian God at all, instead a Midieval cult of the Old Gods prevails, that also involves sacrifices - as Howie will soon find out.

When Howie starts questioning people, he has to find out that nobody seems to know Rowan or has even heard her name. Even May (Irene Sunters), who Howie believes to be Rowan's mother (and she is, too) denies having ever even heard of her. Still, Howie is convinced that something sinister is going on and thus is unrelenting ... until in the register of the local school, he finds a first mention of her - for which schoolteacher Miss Rose (Diane Cilento) finds a rather unconvincing excuse, that she has passed on to another level of existence and is thus no more ... she has a grave, though ...

Eventually, Howie gets an audition with the owner of the island, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), and asks for permission to open Rowan's grave - which Summerisle gives him rather surprisingly. In Rowan's coffin though, Howie finds not a litle girl but a dead hare ...

Eventually, Howie reads up on the island and its ancient rituals, and all this leads to a shocking conclusion: That Rowan is to be sacrificed to the Older Gods on Mayday for better crops - and Mayday is today. Immediately, he wants to fly back to the mainland to return with reinforcements, but his plane has been sabotaged, so he decides to join the Mayday celebrations in the guise of Punch the fool (while Christopher Lee is disguised as a woman) - and ultimately, he really meets Rowan when she is about to be sacrificed - but he helps her escape, only to finally realise the whole thing, the kidnapping of Rose and everything, was a trick to trap him, a virgin fool who has come here out of his own will, and make him this year's Mayday sacrifice.

The end sees him plead to the islanders and call upon their common sense and decency, but to no avail - he is ultimately burned alive for the sake of the community ...

Britt Ekland, as the innkeeper's (Lindsay Kemp) sexy daughter, does a sing-and-dance-routine in the nude.

 

A fantastically weird and creepy film that doesn't work so much because of its far-out story but its genuinely other-worldly, even surreal and sometimes also darkly comical atmosphere that's closer to a nightmare than to horror genre mainstays. And in that respect, even the occasional sond-and-dance-routine thrown in (quite unusual for a horror film, don't you think ?) makes perfect sense.

A deserved classic. Recommended.

 

In 2006, the film was remade as a Hollywood-production (what ?), directed by Neil LaBute and starring the vastly overrated Nicholas Cage.

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD