Hello again! Yesterday, we took some time out to appreciate and fondly look back on the release of Rob Zombie’s HALLOWEEN which, 9 years ago, made its’ debut in theaters everywhere. It was a good time, right? We had some laughs, maybe learned a little. Maybe I made you mad? Regardless, we all shared something fun and it was great. Right?
Well, if we’re going to talk about the good we might as well talk about the bad. It’s only fair. If that’s the case, it doesn’t get as weird, uncomfortable, awkward, or bee-filled than the 2006 remake of the horror classic, THE WICKER MAN.
THE WICKER MAN (2006) was based on the 1973 British horror film of the same name. Telling the story of Sergeant Howie, an investigator out to uncover the secrets behind the disappearance of a young girl, the original WICKER MAN is highly regarded as a quite successful film. The original story of Howie and his investigation on the remote island of Summerisle has been referred to as “the “Citizen Kane” of horror films.” Despite being made over 30 years ago, THE WICKER MAN (’73) stands its’ ground rather firmly; if you’ve never had the opportunity to watch the original, absolutely do so. It’s a brilliantly made piece of horror and has one of the more compelling stories ever produced (in my humble opinion). A novel of the same name (released five years after the original film) tried its’ hand at expanding upon the lore and mysteries within the story and even that was quite good.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Nicolas Cage-led remake that shuffled its’ way into our collective consciousness in 2006.
**HEAVY SPOILERS AND SARCASM BELOW**
The 2006 film told a similar, but different, story about a missing girl but this time the missing girl belongs to the ex fiancé of Officer Edward Malus (Nic Cage). Edward heads to the coast of the Western United States where he gets a pilot to fly him to an offshore island inhabited by a group of Neo-Pagans.
Sister Summersisle (played by the amazing Ellen Burstyn) leads the island in their rituals and worship and represents the goddess they pay reverence to. Sister Summerisle explains to Malus that her ancestors had left England to avoid persecution only to settle near Salem and find it amongst the Salem Witch Trials. Eventually, her family moved to the offshore island; relying on the production of honey. At the time of Edward’s arrival, this business has started to suffer.
He begins to question the villagers about the missing girl, Rowan, but is evaded by the townspeople. After some sleuthing he eventually is led to a fresh, unmarked grave in the island’s churchyard. Inside the grave he finds a burned doll; he also finds Rowan’s sweater.
The plot thickens at the local school, where Edward finds that Rowan’s name has been crossed off of the class list. He become Cage-enraged at the teacher’s and classmate’s lies and Sister Rose, a nun or something, demands to speak with Edward outside.
She explains the convoluted views on death that people of the island hold near and dear and tells him that Rowan is “letting it snow.” Asking how she died, Sister Rose tells him that “She’ll burn to death.” However – it is not easy to fool Nic Cage and he catches her future tense. After commenting on it she curtly corrects herself, “She burned to death.”
To sum things up, the story ends with Edward being burned alive (after being tortured with a head-cage full of bees) inside of a giant Wicker Man (hence the title of the movie) in a sort of bizarre religious ritual aimed at restoring their honey production.
As the film closes, two of the island’s nun-like “Sisters” enter a bar and start talking with two off duty police officers (played by James Franco and Jason Ritter, respectively). They invite them to go home with them, not-so- discreetly to use them in the same fashion Edward was. As the screen fades to black, the distant sound of buzzing and Edward tortured screams can be heard.
The remake of THE WICKER MAN was panned by critics and the public alike upon its’ release. However, over time, it’s turned into one of those “so bad its good” type films and is a popular title for midnight movie houses. Several of the films more ridiculous scenes have become internet memes and continue to entertain many despite themselves.
Personally, I love THE WICKER MAN remake in all its’ goofiness. Is it good? No. Is it fun? Sure as hell is.
With that said, we take today to look back on the bees and toss some love (and shade) toward 2006’s THE WICKER MAN. Despite not really being a necessary reboot; it was. While the film may not be memorable, we’ll always be able to look back and smile on Nic Cage’s screams of anguish because, let’s face it – that man can yell like nobody else in the biz.
Feel free to follow and insult Ian Donegan on Twitter @ianjdonegan. He can take it.