notes from
the MUCK . . .

How does your garden grow? With muck, muck and more muck! I spent much of today finishing the final muck box and then shifting muck from one box to the next. The first box, which the Big Lad is enthusiastically pointing out, has been rotting down for two years now and once we’d removed the top quarter of unrotted material, we found we’d hit the pay dirt.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Wicker Man

Have you seen the original "The Wicker Man?" As a horror movie enthusiast, I often browse the horror section of my local video store, and have been doing so since I was about 8 years old. "The Wicker Man," being something of a classic of the genre, was always something I passed by on the shelves in my quest for something to rent. "There's that weird Wicker movie," I would think.

It took 16 years before I finally decided to rent this staple of my perusals. I don't know why I waited so long. It's kind of a weird title, I guess, and the cover of the box is a little bizarre. I think I finally decided to check it out when I came across a recent edition with a blurb from the Village Voice about how great it is.

Did I like it? I don't really know. Mostly, it left me feeling unsettled. The strangest part for some reason is that scene where the town is singing in the bar. It's all so goddamn demonically jolly. The long naked song and dance seduction scene is also a memorable moment.

Anyways, now there's a remake. Director Neil LaBute ("In The Company of Men," "Your Friends and Neighbors") has rewritten and filmed a version starring Nicolas Cage and Ellen Burstyn. Watch the trailer here.

This one definitely looks slicker than the 1973 version. That could be a good thing, since the original feels so disjointed to me. The gloss could also take away some of the rawness that made it so effective.

Here's a plot summary from Amazon, in case you're interested:

Typically categorized as a horror film, The Wicker Man is actually a serious and literate thriller about modern paganism, written by Anthony Shaffer (Sleuth) with a deft combination of cool subjectivity and escalating dread. (Despite this promising directorial debut, British filmmaker Robin Hardy didn't make another film until The Fantasist, a little-seen thriller released in 1986.) We're introduced to the friendly but mysterious residents of Summerisle (located off the west coast of Scotland), where the isolated community enacts rituals that seem, at first, to be merely unconventional. When called in to investigate an anonymous tip about a missing child, mainland police sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) is treated as an outsider, and the ominous Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) has the inside advantage. As the repressed policeman is taunted by the island's sensuous atmosphere, his investigation leads to increasingly disturbing implications.

With phallic symbols and soothing music at every turn, Summerisle is a pleasant haven for those who perform the pagan rituals of Lord Summerisle's maverick ancestors. These earthy ceremonies are presented with alluring authenticity, and the island's tempting eroticism is fully expressed by the landlord's daughter (Britt Ekland), who fills Howie with barely suppressed carnal desire. (Sirens took a comedic approach to a similar situation in 1994.) And yet the mystery of the missing girl remains, with clues that hint at a darker reality beneath the colorful local customs. When that reality is ultimately discovered, Howie becomes the crucial element in the islanders' most elaborate ritual, which is where the film's title comes into play. It may not be horror, but it is horrific, and this makes The Wicker Man an unforgettable film.

In it's own way, it might make a nice double feature with "The Da Vinci Code."