A young couple moves in to an apartment only to be surrounded by peculiar neighbors and occurrences. When the wife becomes mysteriously pregnant, paranoia over the safety of her unborn child begins to control her life.
On Sunday, April 29, 1973, Sergeant Neil Howie with the West Highland Constabulary flies solo to Summerisle off the coast of Scotland. He is there to follow up on a letter addressed specifically to him from an anonymous source on Summerisle reporting that a twelve year old girl who lives on the island, Rowan Morrison, the daughter of May Morrison, has long been missing. The correspondence includes a photograph of Rowan. Upon his arrival on Summerisle, Howie finds that the locals are a seemingly simple minded lot who provide little information beyond the fact that they know of no Rowan Morrison and do not know the girl in the photo. Mrs. Morrison admits to having a daughter, seven year old Myrtle, but no Rowan. As Howie speaks to more and more people, he begins to believe that Rowan does or did live on the island, but that the locals are hiding their knowledge of her. He also begins to see that the locals all have pagan beliefs, their "religion" which centers on procreation as the ... Written by
The film was inspired by an engraving called "The Wicker Image" in Britannia Antiqua Illustrata by Aylett Sammes in 1676. Some people have doubted the historical existence of the Wicker Man suggesting that it came from Roman propaganda by people such as Julius Caesar. There is, however, undeniable evidence that the Druids and the Celts practiced human sacrifice. See more »
Despite being set in the Scottish Highlands, and the Hebrides, many of the traditions alluded to are English, rather than Scottish. See more »
[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 »
The most original and haunting British horror movie EVER. Fascinating, chilling, and utterly unique.
I've been fascinated by 'The Wicker Man' ever since I first saw it on TV in the late 1970s. I was very young then and probably didn't completely understand it, but I knew immediately that it was a very special movie, unlike anything I'd ever seen before. Twenty five years, and literally thousands of movies later, I think even more highly of it, especially now that I'm able to see the cut available on the 30th Anniversary DVD, which is over fifteen minutes longer than the version I already own on video. And, yes, 'The Wicker Man' is still unlike any other movie I've ever seen. I think this is mainly down to the brilliant script by Anthony Shaffer, who also wrote 'Sleuth' and Hitchcock's 'Frenzy'. There hasn't been anything made remotely like it since. I think it's the greatest British horror movie ever made, but the description "horror" only gives you half the story. It's also a thriller, a mystery, a Christian morality tale, and in a weird way, a musical. Christopher Lee regards it as the best movie he's ever been involved with, and describes it as one of the three or four greatest movies ever made in Britain, and I agree with him. Lee is very good in the movie as the enigmatic Lord Summerisle, but Edward Woodward is the real star. Woodward is best know for his TV work, as either 'Callan' or 'The Equalizer', depending what generation you're from, but he's superb as the deeply religious Sgt. Howie. Apparently Peter Cushing was initially suggested for the role, as was Michael York, but I really can't imagine either of then being half as good as Woodward is. The supporting cast are all superb - Diane Cilento as the school teacher, famous mime Lindsay Kemp as the publican, and especially Britt Ekland as the publican's daughter Willow. Ekland's seduction dance scene is the second most famous scene in the movie. She claims her speaking voice was dubbed throughout , director Robin Hardy disputes this, though her singing voice certainly was, and she used a (ahem) butt double. I also get a kick out of Aubrey Morris' graveyard scene. Morris is a great Brit character actor and was also in 'A Clockwork Orange', Hammer's 'Blood From The Mummy's Tomb' and sci fi trash classic 'Lifeforce'. Another Hammer alumni Ingrid Pitt ('The Vampire Lovers', 'Countess Dracula', etc.) is also in the cast as a librarian, but sadly in underused. Still, I'm glad she was involved. Inexplicably some people seem to hate this movie. I can't for the life of me understand why. It's utterly brilliant, utterly unique, and I never tire of watching it. If you've never seen it before I envy you! It's a cliche, but believe me, you have never seen anything like it before!
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