Playing on our fears of “the other”, director Robin Hardy’s psychosexual horror, first released in 1973, has now attained classic status. Brilliantly scripted by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth) and impressively staged on location, the film stars Edward Woodward as the devoutly Christian policeman, Sergeant Howie, who travels to a remote Hebridean island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. As his efforts are hampered by the islanders’ wall of silence, Howie’s prudish disapproval of these neo-pagan worshippers turns to outrage – not least when he is “tempted” by the pub landlord’s free-spirited daughter (Britt Ekland) and given an audience with the mysterious Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee). The Wicker Man does have some stilted moments, but it still manages to pack a bizarre, disturbing punch.
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