|Fig 1. 'The Wicker Man' (1973)|
Even if viewers already know what is going to happen, The Wicker Man expertly manipulates the audience to feel uneasy. It is the final act of the film that is truly horrifying when the intentions of the villagers are revealed. Our protagonist Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward), a Christian police officer, is burned alive (alongside several animals) as a sacrifice to appease the Pagan gods so the island's crops don't fail as they did the previous year. It is disturbing to think that some small talk about the lack of apples Howie had earlier with Willow (Britt Ekland) is actually the cause of his horrific demise.
|Fig 2. Summerisle Apples|
On top of that, the merry sounding folk songs that are sung throughout the film end up being anything but innocent and cheerful. "The movie also excels in the fact that several elements of the picture could have been laughable but instead helped to add to the nauseating and uncomfortable atmosphere of the film...these musical interludes performed by different characters actually help to immerse the senses into the world of this strange little island, helping to create a suffocating and intoxicating atmosphere," (Doyle, 2015). The lyrics of the songs give hints to the true nature of the island.
|Fig 3. Women Dancing and Singing|
The Wicker Man leaves the viewer guessing even after the credits roll. The film concludes with our protagonist being burned to death in The Wicker Man, "a resolutely downbeat finale that's as far removed from a happy ending as it's possible to get...it's a movie that'll burn its way into your unconscious and give you nightmares for many years to come," (Russell, 2001). Now the viewer is left guessing: Do the police come looking for him? Do the villagers get caught and punished? Do their crops return? If not, is Lord Summerisle sacrificed or does he manipulate his way out? Unfortunately, no one will ever know.
Calhoun, B. (2013) "The Wicker Man": The Cut May Be Final, But The Film Is Still Incomplete At: http://www.rogerebert.com/balder-and-dash/the-wicker-man-the-cut-may-be-final-but-the-film-is-still-incomplete Accessed on: 5/4/2016
Dalton, S. (2013) The Wicker Man: The Final Cut: Film Review At: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/wicker-man-final-cut-film-635790 Accessed on: 5/4/2016
Doyle, K. (2015) In Memory of Christopher Lee - An Analysis of The Wicker Man (1973) At: http://www.thefilmagazine.com/in-memory-of-christopher-lee-an-analysis-of-the-wicker-man-1973/ Accessed on: 5/4/2016
Russell, J. (2001) The Wicker Man (1973) At: http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/12/17/the_wicker_man_1973_review.shtml Accessed on: 5/4/2016
Figure 1. The Wicker Man [Poster] At: http://crypticrock.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/wicker_man_poster_01.jpg Accessed on: 5/4/2016
Figure 2. Summerisle Apples [Film Still] At: http://screenmusings.org/movie/dvd/The-Wicker-Man/pages/The-Wicker-Man-449.htm Accessed on: 5/4/2016
Figure 3. Women Dancing and Singing [Film Still] At: http://screenmusings.org/movie/dvd/The-Wicker-Man/images/The-Wicker-Man-254.jpg Accessed on: 5/4/2016