The Wicker Man (1973)

wickerman_4Starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland, Ingrid Pitt, Lindsay Kemp, Russell Waters, Aubrey Morris, Irene Sunters, Walter Carr, Ian Campbell

Directed by Robin Hardy

Expectations: Very high.

fourstar


The Wicker Man may be 40 years old this year, but age definitely hasn’t tarnished its creepy take on the horror genre. It’s a very unique film, so it’s easy to see why it has stood the test of time right from the opening moments. But it’s where the film slowly ventures that makes The Wicker Man unforgettable, as the layers of story peel away and our main character finds himself closer and closer to understanding what is happening on Summerisle.

Honestly, I’m tempted to just call it a day on this review right here. It’s one of those movies where “To tell more would be a crime,” is perfectly apropos. Perhaps in this day and age, the secrets this film holds wouldn’t surprise or creep out modern viewers, but I’d still rather let people experience it for themselves. I also imagine many will have seen the 2006 remake starring Nicholas Cage, which I’m guessing probably has a somewhat similar story. I haven’t seen that one so I can’t attest to its quality, but I’d be willing to bet it’s nothing close to this one. Even a great reproduction is still a reproduction, but this 1973 original is wholeheartedly the real deal (and I haven’t heard anything about the 2006 remake that points to it being anything close to great).

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Underworld (1985)

Underworld (1985)
AKA Transmutations

Starring Denholm Elliott, Steven Berkoff, Larry Lamb, Nicola Cowper, Irina Brook, Art Malik, Brian Croucher, Ingrid Pitt, Trevor Thomas

Directed by George Pavlou

Expectations: Low.

onestar


What do you get when you throw ’80s synth rock, drug-fiend mutants and horror God Clive Barker together with just a dash of black leather? You get the fairly poor and wholly underwhelming 1985 film, Underworld. There was so much potential here for a good film, but man did it all go to waste. It goes wrong mostly in the writing and the pacing, because above all Underworld is one hell of a boring movie.

It all starts out pretty interesting though. It’s incredibly hard to figure out what the hell is going on, which might be a bad thing for some movies, but it seems to add to the mystique here. There was enough fun and unintentional laughs during this getting-to-know-you period so I didn’t mind too much that I was lost. Anyway, there’s some sort of high-class party going on. A young girl in a white gown decides sleep is better than party and lays down in her bed. This is crosscut with scenes of some crazy rock ‘n’ roll leather-clad assholes, who you know are up to no good, running through the streets. They all wear wraps around their faces to give them some anonymity and the look of half-ass ninjas. So they bust into the estate, steal the girl from her bed, beat down the butler that tries to stop them and run off into the night.

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