Thursday, November 17, 2005

Basket Case

So, I finally got around to watching "The Wicker Man" last night. What a truly bizarre film experience. This is not just a creepy metaphysical horror flick, as it's hyped up to be - it's a musical. As in, "Seven Brides For Seven Brothers". There are whole musical numbers, and the music is bad - both the embarrassingly dated soundtrack music (meandering, Pink Floydish guitar solos) and the "authentic" Scottish druid folk music that sound like rejected tracks from "Godspell". With the 70's vibe and people prancing around in animal masks, the whole thing plays like a deranged Sid and Marty Krofft show. Remember the one with the orgies and pagan sacrifices? H.R. Boff N' Snuff?

The plot has similarities to the horror film I'm in post production on, and I learned a lot watching where they succeeded - and where they succeeded not so much. It builds to a climax that's just as disturbing by today's horror film standards as it must have been for viewers in 1972. The story plays out like a Christian evangelist's worst nightmare - a devout cop slash reverend (?) visits a remote Scottish island looking for a missing girl and stumbles into a heathen wonderland - naked girls romping everywhere, children being taught about phallic imagery in grade school, people playing those twangy mouth harps. Mass depravity. Culminating, of course, with a virgin sacrifice. In this sense, the film is extremely timely, like a Christian cautionary fable of the fanatic Mel Gibson variety. What makes this even more amusing is the similarity between the hero cop/reverend and Chief Justice John G. Roberts. A handsome, noble, conservative superhero. He even states flatly to a flirtatious town girl that he doesn't believe in intercourse before marriage.

Christopher Lee, as the evil, sexually permissive ringleader of the godless town, looks vaguely like John Kerry (if John Kerry spoke like Tony Blair and dressed really gay). This is a ghost story for the born-again set - all that's missing is recreational abortion.

It left me thinking about the bizarre practice of human sacrifices to the gods. The film rightly recognizes that this is a deeply disturbing, primal, part of our souls. I don't really get it. What draws us to the idea of sacrifice? How did humans ever get on this kick? It's something universal - after all, it carried over into Christianity. Blood of the martyr, shed for you bla bla bla. What is Christ, if not the most famous human sacrifice? He died on the cross so our crops would grow.

2 Knee-jerk Reactions:

Anonymous Andy said...

I have a copy of The Wicker Man at home, but I have not yet watched it. I'll let you know what I think when I do.

7:23 AM  
Blogger JudgeG said...

Gee Frank, thanks for ruining my good thoughts of John Kerry with that..

Yes, Wicker man is weird.. I remember it being much scarier as a kid, not its just weird..

Another suggested psychodelic waste of film:
The Magic Christian

11:04 AM  

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