Last night, while searching for a copy of "The DaVinci Code" for poor sickly First Husband, Second Husband and I found a copy of "The Wicker Tree", a sequel of sorts to "The Wicker Man". Did I mention this was at WalMart?
WARNING: Possible spoilers ahead.
We liked it for many of the same reasons we like "The Wicker Man"; it's a morbidly funny*, sensationalized version of what the world might be like if there were entire communities of pagans tucked here and there. We sacrifice Christians! We have sex/orgies outdoors! Christians are all hypocrites who deserve to be sacrificed! Witches are hot young chicks who all want big Christian di-
OK. I'll keep this PG-13. You can fill in the last two letters on your own.
There's some good stuff in "The Wicker Tree" (hereafter TWT), but Second Husband and I didn't like it as much as we do "The Wicker Man" (TWM). There aren't the great matter-of-fact arguments between the Christian characters and the pagans that there were in TWM (like when Christopher Lee responds that of course some women jumping a fire are naked, because it would be far too dangerous if they were wearing clothes). The great re-created folk music from TWM has been replaced with fairly standard incidentals. The people's costumes, at the big sacrificial finish, look like modern-pagan-festival-wear. One woman tries to save one of the victims. A company whose power plant is making the people infertile is called Nuada - the hell?
On the other hand, the scene where Steve (the Christian guy) gets it is actually creepy in a Greek-myth way; I was reminded of stories of the Maenads. The reference to TWM when Beth (the Christian girl) looks like she might just escape is a nice touch. The hunt scene is great stuff. I'm sure I'll find more things I like when I watch it again.
But in the final analysis, TWT tells a lot more than it shows, and it loses something for it. It also would have done well to copy the feeling of a community that's behind the modern world, like Summerisle in TWM. It's fun for what it is - give it a look.
And a Happy Beltaine to all; may you have fertility in the form that suits you best.
* Before anyone jumps on my ass, I don't find it funny because they sacrifice Christians. I find it funny because in TWM, the cheerful singing and whatnot that accompanies the sacrifice is just not what I'd expect from a desperate attempt to restore fertility to the land, and in TWT because you can see what's coming from so far away that you can't help yell at the nice little Christians like you're watching "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" or something.