Monday, 14 April 2014

Film Review: The Wicker Man

The Wicker Man (1973) 95min

(Figure 1: 1973 'The Wicker Man' Poster)

The Wicker Man (1973) is a British horror film directed by Robin Hardy, and has now been considered as a cult classic. The story centres on Sergeant Neil Howie who arrives to a Scottish island on an investigation about a missing girl called Rowan Morrison, of whom the locals claim to have never existed. Howie's investigation spirals out of control when he discovers Lord Summerisle is leading a suspicious cult of sacrificial intentions after experiencing a years bad harvest, to which eventually leads to Howie's gruesome demise.

Christopher Lee in The Wicker Man

(Figure 2: Lord Summerisle Preaching)

Throughout the film it is made extremely clear that Howie and the islanders have complete opposite views about religion and belief. Howie is a Christian and the islanders have decided to follow the Pagan route. Donato Totaro links Howie's path within the film to the Oedipus complex; “Where Howie’s blind walk toward his fate is likened to Oedipus’ march toward his prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother”  (D. Totaro, 2006) What Totaro could be trying to say here is that the Pagan gods could be seen as the mother and Howie as the father. Howie is constantly trying to change and disprove the islanders beliefs in which it could be seen as trying to separate the mother from it's child. However, the people on the island want to become closer to their gods and can only do so by killing the farther, Howie.

(Figure 3: The Wicker Sacrificial Statue)

Another view that has been seen within The Wicker Man is greatly written by Adam Covell in his film review which states; "The Wicker Man can be seen as the signpost of a dying generation of thought. It’s more than just a cult film. It’s the poster-boy of an entire catalogue of film, television and literature, providing a set number of criteria that, though not always followed by the films before and after it, came to represent a whole innovative, unnerving and intelligent sub-genre." (A. Covell, 2013) What Covell is saying is that the film did not only influence and represent the horror genre during the 1970's, but of time where cult groups were on the rise and the view on women had also began to change.

(Figure 4: Howie in the Fool's Outfit)

To conclude, The Wicker Man has been an unchanged view on what is seen judgement on religion, while yet still keeping its true realism. "The conclusion is chilling, disturbing and perfectly in keeping with what has taken place before." (K. Turan, s.d) The film also resembles Howie's character, despite any situation and the decision from right and wrong, he will always cling and believe in his God.


Turan, Kenneth (s.d) The Wicker Man Film Review URL At:,0,7717150.story#axzz2jEyeTTsa (Accessed 14.04.2014)

Covell, Adam (2013) The Wicker Man Film Review URL At: 

Totaro, Donato (2006) The Wicker Man Film Review URL At: 

Illustration List:

Fig. 1. The Wicker Man' Poster (1973) From: The Wicker Man Directed by: Robin Hardy [Poster] United Kingdom. British Lion Films. URL: (Accessed 14.04.2014)

Fig. 2. Lord Summerisle Preaching (1973) From: The Wicker Man Directed by: Robin Hardy [Film Still] United Kingdom. British Lion Films. URL: (Accessed 14.04.2014)

Fig. 3. The Wicker Sacrificial Statue (1973) From: The Wicker Man Directed by: Robin Hardy [Film Still] United Kingdom. British Lion Films. URL: (Accessed 14.04.2014)

Fig. 3. Howie in the Fool's Outfit (1973) From: The Wicker Man Directed by: Robin Hardy [Film Still] United Kingdom. British Lion Films. URL: (Accessed 14.04.2014)

No comments:

Post a Comment