The Wicker Man
Directed by Robin Hardy
Not the Nic Cage version!
Sargent Howie comes to Summer Isle to investigate the disappearance of a little girl. The island is totally pagan, and of course, he is in for much more than he expects. I’ve seen this movie several times over the years and I adore it, but it had been at least two years, maybe longer. I couldn’t resist the chance to watch it again if I’m honest.
Can we please talk about how amazing the sequence with Willow trying to seduce the policeman is? Not only is she stunning and the song is bewitchingly pretty, the dancing seductive and absolutely gorgeous.. but there are some fascinating deeper meanings to the sequence. If he had given in and slept with her, against his personal beliefs, he would have been spared from his final destiny.. in a total switch from most horror movies: if he’d slept with the hot girl he wouldn’t have died.
Further from that it’s an amazing image of a sexual woman pursuing what she wants with no shame or hesitation. Of course, in context he’s ‘evil’, a temptress, but the way Britt Eckland performs the scene, it’s pure. How unusual is it to have a female character, honestly and joyfully portrayed as sexual and happy to go after what she wants?
The beetle in the desk, always goes around and round the same way… the little girl is warning the policeman too, that if he looks at things the same way he always has he will surely end up in the trap that is set for him.
The film plays on a few basic human fears: fear of the unknown, personified by the police Sargent himself – his utter distrust for the people around him and his refusal to understand what they are doing, where they’re coming from. People in masks… oh god, don’t even mention people in creepy masks to me, just popping up silently and watching. It’s so unbelievably creepy – knowing someone is there, watching, and having no idea who it is or what they want.
And of course the fear of being alone, abandoned. The Sargent is alone in a strange place with no friends, no one to turn to when things go bad. Pretty visceral stuff, non?
Also I really love the folk music soundtrack. Pretty and catchy soundtracks for the win.
Does it make me love the people?
Yeah it does, in a weird way. I dunno if I can explain why.. except that the Summerislanders all seem so calm and cheerful, and the Sargent is so earnest and righteous. I dunno, probably the wrong kind of movie to ask this about heh.
Bechdel test: No, I don’t believe so. The women speak of course, but always in conversations with either Lord Summerisle or the Sargent or both.
Best line: “The little old beetle goes ’round and ’round. Always the same way, y’see, until it ends up right up tight to the nail. Poor old thing!”
State of Mind: Fuck yeah. Love this film.