Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Cinema - Big Christopher Lee Loses Fangs, Dons Kilt in The Wicker Man


Lord Summerisle doing his darnedest to make sure next year's harvest is bountiful

Robin Hardy's 1973 weirdfest The Wicker Man has pretty much everything you'd want in a movie, what with pagan cults, public fornication, creepy gravediggers, Christopher Lee in a kilt, and Britt Eklund's behind.

An English police sergeant is sent to the obscure private island of Summerisle to investigate a report of a missing child. He gets zippo cooperation from the natives, except for the landlord's daughter Willow, who tempts him with a nekkid pagan dance. Alas, he is too darn Christian to hop out of his pajamas and take advantage of the situation, preferring to clench his jaw instead.

Gradually he figures out that the islanders have abandoned Christianity for a form of animism - a setup conceived of and perpetuated by the Lords Summerisle, including the current one, played by Christopher Lee in one of his fine non-fanged roles.

Another Hammer Films alum, Ingrid Pitt, plays the evil librarian, but keeps her clothes on.

Sgt. Howie eventually finds the girl he's looking for, before the islanders sacrifice her in a muddleheaded attempt to increase the harvest, but the joke ends up being on him.

The movie is full of musical interludes, and normally I'd be utilizing the fast-forward feature of the DVD player.

But technology failed; the clicker went phut, and I had to experience the full film.

And it's a good thing, too, because all these singing children dancing around the Maypole and half-clad nymphs doing the Hokey Pokey over an open fire in the island's mini-Stonehenge truly make this a horror film.

This is not working out quite the way Sgt. Howie planned

Eight breasts. One landlord's daughter dancing nekkid. The fine - no, unparalleled - architecture of Britt Eklund's rear end. Christopher Lee with his hair flying all over the place. Beach orgy. Toad sucking, for medicinal purposes. Gratutious Olde Englysshe folk songs given sinister pagan import. Constipated British policeman. Actual plot, competent writing, better than competent acting, and general air of professionalism.

An exploitation movie you could show in an art house. Or in your house.

A hearty four coils.


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