The Wicker Man (1973)

I have a friend from my ritual space that sums up this movie better than I do: the film is not about Paganism versus Christianity. It’s about free will and consequence.

That is the root of this movie, and part of what makes it creepier. At no point in this film is anyone actually locked into their roles. At any point someone could say, nope, I’m going home, and just leave. Up until the finale, all people involved could say actually, I don’t feel like doing this, I’m going to go have a beer and sit this one out.

There is no actual villain to this movie unless you count a universe that leaves a person willfully blind to the path that they’re on. The viewer, as the detached eye, can see where this is headed but can’t do anything about it. The residents of the island know that this is one giant web, but the outsiders don’t have that luxury-even as everyone is being told that it is right along. All that anyone has to do is take a left turn instead of a right and end up somewhere completely different.

The actual mechanics of how we reach the end of the story are irrelevant when you realize that the person who holds the power is not the victimizer, it’s the victim, but the victim is too blinded by their own sense of self-righteousness to allow themselves to be aware of that. Too often we force ourselves into the middle of situations that we don’t understand and our pride is much too strong to allow ourselves to see that. Why doesn’t the cop just call for back up? That right there alone should be an indication of the thought process at play.

And don’t let anyone fool you: Christopher Lee in a dress is going to be one of the most terrifying images you’re ever going to see in a horror piece. Not because of any gendered statement. Because this is Dracula. in a dress, and it just feels…natural.


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