I was very happy to see that this month’s Final Girl Film Club was The Wicker Man (do I really have to write “the original” or can we please all forget that the remake ever happened)?
I was happy about this choice because The Wicker Man is in my top 5 favorite movies of all time. I saw this for the first time about 4 years ago and it completely blew me away.
Sgt. Howie, a pure and down-right moral man, travels to the island of Summerisle looking for a missing girl. His noble intentions are not welcomed within the townsfolk and they give him the run around on the existence of the missing girl. He is left to believe that she died but his strong-will drives him to find out the truth.
Summerisle is ruled by pagans, where free love and teaching kids about sex is an every day thing. Sgt Howie, an ex-priest and still virgin, isn’t down with their practices. He’s like the teacher at the dance that makes sure you’re not dancing too close to your date. As he tries to push his “right” ways on everyone, they are trying to break him down to just give in a little.
An example, and one of my favorite scenes, Willow, the landlord’s daughter tries to use her beauty and charm on Howie to get him to flirt with the “dark” side. It doesn’t work though, Howie’s got a job to do and he isn’t going to let some hot naked chick get in his way. It’s too bad that his unbreakable spirit is his one downfall in this case.
The late and great Edward Woodward took on the role of Howie and brought a stern and believable force to the character. It’s important that the audience know that Howie is set in his ways from the start and Woodward gives us that. We know from the beginning that he’s going to go above and beyond to find this girl and he won’t give into any distractions.
Christopher Lee, who plays Lord Summerisle, has the same strong beliefs but on a completely different spectrum. He wants to do everything he could to help the people on the island and he strongly believes that Howie is the key to that.
I guess I’ll take a minute to bring up the remake. It was a complete mess from the original story. Cage’s performance and take on the role seemed like he was sleepwalking through the whole thing. He wasn’t convincing me at all. The island was turned into a breeding ground for man-hungry chicks. So basically, it was awful.
The Wicker Man is an amazingly brilliant occult thriller and the end still gives me the chills every time I watch it.