The film that Cinefantastique founder Fred Clarke called, “The CITIZEN KANE of horror,” is back, newly remastered and in an edition that its director has dubbed the “final cut.” In THE WICKER MAN, a devoutly religious Scottish policeman (Edward Woodward) travels to an island-bound agricultural community to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. What he finds is a society reverted back to its pagan traditions, a challenge to his faith via the island’s lord (Christopher Lee), temptation in the form Britt Ekland, and a mystery that suggests the missing child may have fallen victim to the island’s curdled superstitions.
Happy to commemorate the impending rediscovery of a horror classic, Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons welcome theofantastique.com‘s John Morehead in a discussion that examines the film in the context of the time it was made, weighs its impact now, and explores the tortured distribution history that’s led to confusion about what cut could be deemed the official one. Plus: What’s coming to theaters next week.
A story as relevant as yesterday’s headlines, or too late a tale? Some thirty years ago, Cinefantastique hailed Robin Hardy’s THE WICKER MAN as “the CITIZEN KANE of horror,” lauding the Anthony Shaffer-scripted story of a god-fearing police detective trying to solve a mystery within a community of Scottish pagans for its bold eroticism and cunning narrative. Now, Hardy has taken his own novel, Cowboys for Christ, and brought it to the screen as THE WICKER TREE, billing it as a “reimagining” of his original triumph. Cinefantastique Online‘s Steve Biodrowski and Dan Persons take a look at this tale of a couple of present-day evangelical missionaries who find they may have bitten off more than can chew in trying to convert the “heathens” of a Scottish village, and discuss how the film fares in its three-plus decade transition. Plus: Oscar 2012 nominations, and what’s coming to theaters and home video.