Whether you consider it ‘The Citizen Kane of Horror Films’ or something that is a genre unto itself, The Wicker Man is an undeniably unique folk tale with dark humor, songs, sex, and an ending that completely bypassed being just “great” and dives headfirst into legendary status. Kickstarting a renewed fascination with pagan festivals – Burning Man and Beltane, among others – and old world charms, Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer’s occult mystery is more about the power of religion as a means for brainwashing and manipulation rather than its cinematic portrayal of beliefs, rituals and sacrifices. Plagued with distribution, editing, and production problems, the film persevered and gathered acclaim thanks to career-defining performances by Christopher Lee and Edward Woodward, and an incredible amount of support from the Hammer actor.
In 2006, an unintentionally hilarious American remake came and went, along with a companion novel to the original film written by Hardy, entitled Cowboys for Christ. The book’s name is more suited for the adaptation, now named The Wicker Tree, because it hints at the playful and often ridiculous nature of the cult classic’s spiritual successor. READ MORE