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Overall Rating
4.38

Awesome65.15%
Worth A Look: 24.24%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 4.55%
Total Crap: 6.06%

3 reviews, 48 user ratings


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Wicker Man, The (1973)
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by the Grinch

"My gods' dicks are bigger than your god's dick!"
5 stars

'The Wicker Man' harkens back to a time when a good idea, strong script, decent cast, and skilled director were the only things you needed to make a great movie. That's still all you need, but people tend to forget.

Edward Woodward stars in this award winning film about a police investigator who travels to an isolated British isle to follow up on a missing child report. Things get more mysterious as the sgt is thrust into an environment full of more weirdos than your typical SCA convention.

The cast here is really varied and talented...You have your genre character actors like the vampiric Chris Lee, you have your naughty bits supplied by Britt Ekland and other senoritas, you've got that creepy googly-eyed guy that played Alex's parole officer in 'A Clockwork Orange', and you've got the stern Edward Woodward. Now, I love Edward Woodward...NOo, not that way...he was suave in 'The Equalizer', and he's pretty darn nifty in this as well. Nobody makes an upper-isle british accent sound as cool as Ed...I always wished I was the dork who got to be Robert McCall's sidekick instead of the dork with the Euro-fro...who could resist an Edward Woodward action scene, pumping 80's synthdrums and all? Well, there's not many 'action' scenes in the Wicker Man, but you get to see Woodward playing sleuth alot...minus MiamiVice style drum solos of course.

I'm not one for "whodunnit" mystery movies, but this one does Charlie Chan proud. Many of the Sgt's investigative scenes are reminiscent of Kolchak: the Night Stalker, only instead of that goofball Darren McGavin stumbling around in the woods with a flashlight in his slacks, you actually feel as if Woodward's character is getting closer to solving the case.

What's that? Is there Nudity, Adult Themes, and Violence? You bet your ass there is! There's more nude scenes here than you can shake a, er, divining rod at. 80% of the female actresses run around skyclad (ahem)...you've got Britt Ekland doing a skin dance, women employing strange hair removal techniques by jumping through fires buttnekkid, more gratuitous boobie shots than your typical Mardi Gras, there's even a little male nudity if that's your team mascot. Critics might accuse the nudity in this movie as a cheap ploy, but it's meant to shock you, not arouse you (although that can be a pleasant side-effect)...and I have to say, given how old this film is (1973) it did shock me on occasion...the nudity is at times threatening and disarming in its starkness...and I believe that's what the intent by the filmmakers was, not just a gimmick. It was intended to show how the values and mores of the community were quite 'different' , more freer, hedonistic, and unrestrained than our society. It's said that some celtic and nordic tribes used to strike fear in their opponents by battling completely in the nude...can you imagine anything more terrifying than a naked and erect man running towards you with yet another blunt object in his hand?...
Okay, maybe this is someone's idea of fun, but not mine, thank you.

You might think the soundtrack is nauseatingly Joan Baez, but listen closer. These aren't hemp-soaked songs about peace and butterflies, these are folk-ditties straight from a Manson Family campfire singalong. Baudy tales of lascivious sex and harvest worship overlap folky minor sustained guitar chords. A stand-out track is the eerie "Say How Do" as sung by an, um, perky Britt Ekland and the tavern boys...triphop band The Sneaker Pimps liked this song enough to cover it on their "Becoming X" cd. And never have I heard a polka song sound more ominous than in this film...imagine George Yankovich drinking goat's blood. Okay, now imagine him gargling the theme to 'Love American Style'...okay, now give me your keys, because you've had waayyy too much to drink!

There are two versions of The Wicker Man that I know of: a tightly edited 84 minute version and the original 102 minute director's version. The 84 min. version isn't necessarily an inferior cut, it's editing is tighter, it's paced better, and it will appeal to people with shorter attention spans. The cover of this version has a reclining profile of Britt Ekland (mmm..reclining). The 102 min. version has superior audio quality because it's a generation above the American edited 84 min version. It also boasts many cut scenes (one of which is a nice little symbolic soliloquy by Christopher Lee to a snail...HONEST!), but this version suffers a bit from sloppy editing, and the length may allow most people adequate time to figure everything out, and that's not good. The cover on this version features a silohuette of a crowd wearing animal masks superimposed on a creepy sun totem/symbol. The director's cut was released domestically by Media Home Entertainment...I doubt this version is easy to find and I highly doubt that Media is even still in business, but there's the 411 if you're somehow interested in all of this.

If you're still awake, I recommend seeing the 84 minute version first. If you're impressed by that, then seek out the director's cut...but be forewarned, you may have to ask every sweaty, toothless, and bipolar video vendor at your local flea market to find it

I give the Wicker Man 5 maypoles out of 5...I don't believe this could've been executed better!

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3375&reviewer=156
originally posted: 11/20/99 13:55:56
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2011 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the Fantasia International Film Festival 2011 series, click here.

User Comments

5/30/15 stanley welles intelligent, hypnotic and thrilling 4 stars
12/07/13 Pearl Bogdan Still worth watching after all this time 5 stars
5/21/12 The Big D If Christopher Lee says this is his best film, he's too modest about his Dracula movies! 2 stars
6/03/10 User Name Subtle, brilliant, and memorable, with even a few campy laughs thrown in. 4 stars
1/31/10 randy todger classic 5 stars
7/22/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Scary as hell. Keeps me awake at nights. 4 stars
8/09/08 PAUL SHORTT A CULT FILM ABOUT CULT PRACTISES 2 stars
7/29/08 David Cohen Quintesserntial "It could only have worked in the 70's" horror movie 4 stars
7/06/08 art THE ONLY TIME TO WATCH THIS IS WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING ELSE TO DO 1 stars
8/28/07 Sam A work of near-genius 5 stars
5/07/07 David Pollastrini didn't think much of it. 2 stars
4/27/07 Total Crap Strange music, strange nudity. And that ending was just crazy, CRAZY!!! 4 stars
4/08/07 Chris Redmond Superbly controlled buil-up of tension up to its macabre climax, this is classic horror. 5 stars
3/30/07 Seth Black Great Movie. One Of My All Time Favorites. 5 stars
3/27/07 fools♫gold As delightfully spiritually enlightening as a Laura Knight-Jadczyck book. 5 stars
10/01/06 Squeeek Probably the worst movie I've ever seen BORING and stupid, the movie should have been burnt 1 stars
8/28/06 Harold One of THE most disturbing endings to a film I've ever seen - 'still haunts me to this day. 5 stars
8/22/06 Zaw Good Ending!! no Fucking Hero(s)!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/20/05 Indrid Cold A unique idea, but the cheese factor and poor pacing weaken it quite a bit. 4 stars
7/28/05 Angel Beautiful sunlit horror, deals in the REAL Old Religon: death and fertility 5 stars
4/14/05 Gray folks who think Wicca is peacful see this 5 stars
1/11/05 malcolm lotsa nudity is always good. broke lots of scary movie "rules." 4 stars
11/10/04 Rusty Klichowicz Everyone should want to make movies like this 5 stars
11/06/04 james a trick ending, because there is no trick! 5 stars
4/18/04 Father Merrin Absolutly superb! The movie builds up to an unexpected tragic ending. Classic stuff! 5 stars
3/24/04 Lord Haw Haw Shocks are so much better absorbed with the kees bent. Unforgettable ending. 5 stars
3/23/04 Trannon Goble Fantastic film 5 stars
3/20/03 Jack Sommersby Tactful and intelligent -- and blood-curdlingly frightening. Top-notch directing and acting 5 stars
2/06/03 Charles Tatum One massive pile of disappointment, do NOT believe the hype 1 stars
11/09/02 Stevo Possibly the scariest film ever, maybe the best British film ever. Drastically unsettling 5 stars
7/05/02 honky harry daft as a box of spanners....but good!..oh,and i wet my pants at the scary animal people 4 stars
4/25/02 Jette Cauty Interesting and wierd 4 stars
2/02/02 JAMES MARTIN ONE COMPLETELY AWESOME MOVIE 5 stars
11/02/01 raja no 5 stars
10/16/01 Kgaard Weirdest movie I've ever seen ... and I mean that in a good way. Now on dvd, huzzah! 5 stars
8/20/01 jno This film is a MUST SEE, if you die without seeing it your life is totally incomplete! 5 stars
6/27/01 Mark Doyle Something very lovely about this film... 5 stars
6/18/01 Shauna-Aine O'Brien Brilliantly unexpected 5 stars
5/28/01 GAIL best of all British films 5 stars
5/20/01 R.W. Welch Something of a cult classic & justifiably so; not soon forgotten. 5 stars
5/03/01 the hairy man totally essential film 5 stars
2/20/01 Amy Dudley What to say?! absolutely fantastic! 5 stars
2/05/01 surfer dude69 LAME!!!! Cant believer i wasted my money on this girl movie 1 stars
1/24/01 dave Underhill One of the best films in this genre ive seen = ) glad to see i aint alone 5 stars
11/23/00 Brooke Windsor My absolute favorite 5 stars
11/10/00 Jonnysaw A wonder from beyond! I agree, see the shorter version first. You'll be drawn to watch it a 5 stars
1/16/00 perverted pixie Kinky and bonker's! Oddball music. What a gem! 5 stars
11/22/99 strike Its entertaning and the ending is very creepy. 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Jun-1975 (R)
  DVD: 22-Aug-2006

UK
  01-Dec-1973 (15)

Australia
  N/A (M)


Directed by
  Robin Hardy

Written by
  Anthony Shaffer

Cast
  Edward Woodward
  Christopher Lee
  Britt Ekland
  Diane Cilento
  Ingrid Pitt



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