“Come, it is time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.”
Before we start, please remove from your brain any image you may have of Nicolas Cage in a bear suit or comically describing bees attacking his face. We’re not talking about the abominable Cage remake. We’re talking about Robin Hardy’s breathtaking original Wicker Man that is widely considered one of the most deeply disturbing horror films ever made. You won’t find walls splashed with blood, or eyes bursting out of sockets, but you will find a maypole and a giant statue of a man made out of wicker. Sounds scary? Well, it should.
A strict Catholic policeman visits a small Scottish island community in search for a missing girl. After being disgusted by the island’s religious views, which are at odds with his conservative Catholicism, he finally finds the girl he was searching for, only to discover that she was never really missing and the whole thing had been a ruse to get him to the island. The film ends with the policeman locked inside the wicker man, which is then set on fire to appease their god. The entire community gathers their voices in joyous song as their sacrifice burns, their gleaming smiles lit by the hellish inferno.
It’s an unrelenting examination of the insidious nature of belief. When traditions persist without question, when each generation incestuously impregnates the next with religious ideology, then reason itself is sacrificed. Without reason or rationality, the wicker men will continue to burn, and with each generation, the flames will reach higher.