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Sgt. Howie travels to Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. He discovers that the locals are weird and unhelpful, and becomes determined to get to the bottom of the disappearance. Written by
Sean Taylor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
[Short Version only] A message from the producers thanks "The Lord Summerisle and the people of his island" for co-operating in the making of the film. This is despite both the lord and the island being totally fictitious. See more »
A police sergeant (Edward Woodward) goes to a remote island near Scotland hearing that a young girl is missing. When he gets there it seems no one has ever heard of her...and most say she never existed. He continues to search and the mystery gets deeper and deeper leading up to a very disturbing conclusion.
I saw this during it's theatrical reissue in 1980--it was the cut 88 minute version. I was disappointed. It was advertised as a horror film and the edited version leaves gaping plot holes. I just saw the extended version on the DVD and loved it!
For one thing, as I said, it is NOT a horror film. I went in expecting that and didn't get it. It's actually a thriller with strong religious and sexual overtures. There's WAY too much to get into about the religious views in this film, and the sexual element is STRONG! There's a whole circle of nude young women dancing around a fire, and an exceptional sequence in which a very erotic song is sung by a nude Britt Ekland. The mystery itself is fascinating but I really got caught up in the religious and social aspects presented in this film. Credit writer Anthony Shaffer for his script.
Also the acting is great on all counts. Woodward deserves credit for playing such an unlikable character--and STILL getting you to sympathize with him! Also Hammer stars Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt (whose part is brutally reduced in the short version) are just great! For one thing it's interesting to see them playing fairly "normal" people (instead of vampires) and they give out excellent performances. Lee especially is enjoying himself--he did the film for free! To this day he said it's his best movie--he's right.
An excellent, haunting thriller but it might be too much for some people. There's next to no blood or violence, but I do know some people who just found the ending a bit too much to handle. Still, it's a definite must-see.
A deserved cult classic.
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