The Wicker Man (1973)

A puritanical policeman investigates the disappearance of a girl from a Scottish island community in this eerie psychological horror which has become a cult classic.

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“The Citizen Kane of horror movies.”
Cinefantastique magazine, 1977

Until the final moments of The Wicker Man, it is impossible to say conclusively what is afoot on the remote Scottish island where Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) has come in search of a missing child. Despite a pervasive eeriness, the suspicion remains that any wrongdoing could be only in his mind.

Anthony Shaffer’s screenplay is bold in its deferral of information, mature in its comparison of Christianity and paganism, and downright devastating in its final twist. The film was originally pushed out in a butchered cut as a B feature to Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, but its reputation as a stand-alone classic is now assured. Its influence goes beyond cinema: modern folk musicians have cited the evocative soundtrack as an inspiration.

The countryside of old, weird Britain has featured in several cult and quirky features, such as A Canterbury Tale (1944), Witchfinder General (1968) and Blood on Satan’s Claw (1970).

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