An English policeman's search for a missing girl brings him to a remote Scottish village, which he soon realizes is harboring a dark secret.
The Wicker Man (1973)
Directed by Robin Hardy
Written by Anthony Shaffer
Starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento,
Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters
Based on the novel Ritual by David Pinner
The Wicker Man is one of the most oddly unsettling horror films of the twentieth century. It messes with the audience's heads, taking it through various detours along the way before arriving at a truly shocking conclusion. While the Wicker Man itself is terrifying, the combined talents of Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee help bring this bizarre film into iconic territory.
The idea of Pagan rituals creeps me out. Any group of people willing to sacrifice another human being in the name of their god is scary and The Wicker Man adds to the scare factor because it seems possible and has likely happened before somewhere in the Scottish isles. The film does an outstanding job of keeping the audience in suspense until the last few minutes, where the true motives of the village are finally revealed.
The sudden outbursts of song, the creepy homemade masks, all of it helps craft The Wicker Man into a classic horror thriller that looks harmless on the outside but harbors darkness within. Horror aficionados would do well to check this film out.