I saw the original Wicker Man in the mid-seventies. It was by far the most gut-clenching film I’ve ever seen. From here::
The Wicker Man is a cult 1973 British film combining thriller, horror and musical, directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt and Britt Ekland. Paul Giovanni composed the soundtrack, a recording cited as a major influence on neofolk and psych folk artists.
The original Wicker Man film focused on an island population of pagans that included both men and women — all of whom were engaged in determining what was to befall the “hero.” I remember that the film was steeped in a ancient eroticism as the members of that island population struggled to find their balance between all of those natural forces of opposites.
The new Wicker Man is devoid of male-female tension and eroticism of any kind; the pagan population is totally female (except for a few drones). The new version attributes only to women the chthonic spirit that the original movie rightly attributed to all people who followed the pagan ways. The unspoken message to us in these times is “watch out when those women take over” especially those females who find personal strength in the mythic histories of their gender. They are dangerous. They will destroy you.
The primal darkness in all of us is a powerful and dangerous force. The original Wicker Man captured that terrifying power. The new Wicker Man is a weakened and distorted version of what was once a truly horrifying tale.
(Side note: The star of the original Wicker Man was Edward Woodward. In the new version, the name of the “hero” is Edward Woodward.)
I don’t know if you can rent the 1970s Wicker Man, but you can buy it here.
It’s worth the price.