Wicker Men

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moses
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Last night/early morning I watched the 1973 film 'The Wicker Man' and it has left me wondering why so many people of the 'pagan' persuasion like the film when it appears to me to be an anti-worship/religious film as it clearly demonstrates that control (Christopher Lee's character) is at the centre of all religious doctrines.
I'm sure most of you are familiar with the film and I know that some of you claim/admit to having 'pagan' views or beliefs so can anyone tell me why is it so popular with this particular group of 'believers'. I know that historically the Druids burned wicker men, usually containing criminals, as a sacrifice, but why bother building a wicker effigy of a man just to contain a live man when an alter stone has sufficed for most other ritualistic killings?
Last edited by moses on 13 Sep 2008, 15:53, edited 1 time in total.
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itnAklipse
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To me it almost seems a pro-Christian film...

It's well made and entertaining, and i like certain aspects of it, but it really isn't that wonderful in my opinion. It's even boring to watch 2nd time. First time i saw it i was excited cause it was supposed to be an important pagan film, and in the end i was like 'that was it?' Why did Current 93 make songs based on it?

i do enjoy Woodward being burned alive, though...if only he didn't make such a racket. He overacts like hell through the whole movie.

But i guess when one is a starving pagan, even small bits of well-cooked but rotten meat will do to alleviate the hunger...
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Jeremiah
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Not that I'm an expert or anything, but it certainly seems to imply that pagans have a lot more fun than Christians. :lol:
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Pagans knew how to live. Period. That movie scarcely shows it, thouigh.
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moses
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Jeremiah wrote:Not that I'm an expert or anything, but it certainly seems to imply that pagans have a lot more fun than Christians. :lol:
Killing is fun? I think you missed my point/question.
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Jeremiah
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itnAklipse wrote:To me it almost seems a pro-Christian film...
As far as I know it was intended as a pro-Christian film, eg portraying pagans as evil and immoral, having orgies and sacrificing people to their dark gods etc, although as Moses says, it doesn't exactly show Christianity in a great light either
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Moses, Jeremiah....has Jesus anything to add?
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psichonaut wrote:Moses, Jeremiah....has Jesus anything to add?
I called him, he's not home. :wink:
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moses wrote:I know that historically the Druids burned wicker men, usually containing criminals, as a sacrifice
Only according to Julius Caesar, who claimed the Gauls did it. There's no corroborating evidence and it's generally regarded as anti-Gaulish propaganda by the man who was, after all, the leader of their enemies.
Jeremiah wrote:As far as I know it was intended as a pro-Christian film, eg portraying pagans as evil and immoral, having orgies and sacrificing people to their dark gods etc
Apparently it was meant to be an objective and accurate portrayal of paganism and was supposedly thoroughly researched. That last claim seems rather dubious, though.
Last edited by stufarq on 13 Sep 2008, 20:30, edited 1 time in total.
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smiscandlon
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moses wrote:it clearly demonstrates that control (Christopher Lee's character) is at the centre of all religious doctrines.
It does? Clearly? Where's your evidence for this?

Lee's character is the Lord of the isle, certainly, and the "leader" of their religious worship. But I can't recall any specific evidence in the movie that he "controls" the islanders. I haven't seen it for a while, admittedly, and don't have access to my copy at the moment, but perhaps you could provide examples.

The simple fact that he is their high priest doesn't make him a manipulative tyrant, any more than a Christian priest can be said to "control" his parishioners. If the author of the original novel, or the film-makers, wanted to "clearly" present this angle, then surely they would have been more direct in portraying Lord Summerisle's manipulation of the beliefs of the islanders. As presented, I can't see anything to imply that Lord Summerisle's belief in the old ways and the importance of the human sacrifice is anything other than sincere.

Why do pagans like the film? Well, the Christian gets burnt alive at the end, isn't that motivation enough? A spiteful reason, possibly not fitting with many modern pagans' self-view as enlightened pacifists, but we're all only human - pagan, Christian or otherwise. We like to see the other team lose.

Personally, I think it's a fantastic movie. I don't think it's as important or seminal as many people seem to make out. I just enjoy it. It's an unusual movie, both in the story it tells and the way it tells it.

As for the significance of the wicker man itself as a method of sacrifice, I'm sure you can find out more about that from sources more erudite than I.

Our Libby's a big fan, she might have something to add.
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moses
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The pivotal issue for me with the film is Christopher Lee's character who is 'all controlling' which to me is the over-riding point of the film and how anyone involved in religion can be controlled to the point of committing murder through blind faith.
I know i posed the question - 'why a wickerman' but that was more a curiosity of mine.
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Christians / Pagans.. Never knew what the fuss was about with this movie. One of those arty classics that people waffle on about. Far too often..Much like Blade Runner and Donnie Darko.. There pants the lot of them :D

Not one laugh between them and not one single exploding lesbian car chase through a High school whilst saving us from the end of the world brought upon by an alien invasion of mutant time travelers.

O.K whose first? come on I'll take you all on.... :x Just form an orderly line you nerds. :lol:

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smiscandlon
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moses wrote:The pivotal issue for me with the film is Christopher Lee's character who is 'all controlling' which to me is the over-riding point of the film and how anyone involved in religion can be controlled to the point of committing murder through blind faith.
I think you're inferring something that isn't there. Or rather, my personal opinion is that this wasn't the intended message of the film's creators (though I can't dispute your basic statement about the controlling nature of religion ... there's certainly enough evidence for that!).

Just dipping into the Wikipedia article for the film, it suggest that the writer of the screenplay was interested in the "idea of an idealistic confrontation between a modern Christian and a remote, pagan community", rather than in a criticism of religion itself.
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moses
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smiscandlon wrote:
moses wrote:it clearly demonstrates that control (Christopher Lee's character) is at the centre of all religious doctrines.
It does? Clearly? Where's your evidence for this?

Lee's character is the Lord of the isle, certainly, and the "leader" of their religious worship. But I can't recall any specific evidence in the movie that he "controls" the islanders. I haven't seen it for a while, admittedly, and don't have access to my copy at the moment, but perhaps you could provide examples.

The simple fact that he is their high priest doesn't make him a manipulative tyrant, any more than a Christian priest can be said to "control" his parishioners. If the author of the original novel, or the film-makers, wanted to "clearly" present this angle, then surely they would have been more direct in portraying Lord Summerisle's manipulation of the beliefs of the islanders. As presented, I can't see anything to imply that Lord Summerisle's belief in the old ways and the importance of the human sacrifice is anything other than sincere.

Why do pagans like the film? Well, the Christian gets burnt alive at the end, isn't that motivation enough? A spiteful reason, possibly not fitting with many modern pagans' self-view as enlightened pacifists, but we're all only human - pagan, Christian or otherwise. We like to see the other team lose.

Personally, I think it's a fantastic movie. I don't think it's as important or seminal as many people seem to make out. I just enjoy it. It's an unusual movie, both in the story it tells and the way it tells it.

As for the significance of the wicker man itself as a method of sacrifice, I'm sure you can find out more about that from sources more erudite than I.

Our Libby's a big fan, she might have something to add.
I did say it was clear to me, maybe not to you. The evidence is in the fact that they murder in cold blood at the bequest of their leader, a religious motive is no motive - but as you say if seeing the Christian burn is reason enough because you think it is human to see 'the other team loose' then perhaps I must be subhuman as I think it is inhumane to kill.
BTW I'm not of Christian, Catholic, Pagan or any other religious persuasion, I was only expressing a point of view - perhaps I should burn for it.
Lord Summerisle/ David Koresh - I may be naive but I don't follow anyone's doctrine.
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smiscandlon
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moses wrote:The evidence is in the fact that they murder in cold blood at the bequest of their leader, a religious motive is no motive.
Where we disagree is that I see them killing at the bequest of their religion, not of their leader. I don't think it's clear in the movie that Lord Summerisle is the one who is perpetuating and driving the island's beliefs and, ultimately, the sacrifice ... but as I say I haven't seen it in a while, I could be wrong.
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smiscandlon
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smiscandlon wrote:I don't think it's clear in the movie that Lord Summerisle is the one who is perpetuating and driving the island's beliefs and, ultimately, the sacrifice ... but as I say I haven't seen it in a while, I could be wrong.
And the more I think about this, the less sure I am. So you could well be right...
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stufarq
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Ramone wrote:Never knew what the fuss was about with this movie. One of those arty classics that people waffle on about. Far too often..Much like Blade Runner and Donnie Darko.. There pants the lot of them
I'd agree with you as far as The Wicker Man but I still like Blade Runner (and never got round to seeing Donnie Darko).
Ramone wrote:exploding lesbian
:eek:
Which film was that?
Ramone wrote:And yes I am Kaiser Soze :innocent:
That one's overrated too.
moses wrote:BTW I'm not of Christian, Catholic, Pagan or any other religious persuasion
Just as a point of order, as this looks like becoming a religious discussion: Catholicism is a branch of Christianity, not a separate religion.
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You do know pagans don't actually burn people in wicker men right? Last I checked there was certainly nothing alive in the one I watched burn and danced around last weekend

( no I'm not joking -
http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i148/ ... GP2186.jpg

http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i148/ ... GP2191.jpg
)

The wicker man is used to represent the sacrificial corn god. Sometimes known as John Barleycorn.

I've seen the film and it's just that. A film. Not meant to be taken seriously in it's portrayal of a supposedly "scary evil pagan" faith and community.
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That film was reccomended repetedly.
So I downloaded it, watched it, thanked the pagan gods for not having paid a cent for it prior to deleting it.
May I add, that was the only conversation between the old gods and me ever.
Nice chaps it seems, you should meet them. They kept their mouths neatly shut. A good thing for gods to do. :P
It seems to me that monty Python's Lifde of Brian is the most precise film ever made about religion. A historian described it as a rather neatly precise picture of oriental cities back then, bustling with astrologists, fortune tellers and prophets.
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moses
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Honeythorn wrote:
The wicker man is used to represent the sacrificial corn god. Sometimes known as John Barleycorn.

I've seen the film and it's just that. A film. Not meant to be taken seriously in it's portrayal of a supposedly "scary evil pagan" faith and community.
A sacrificial corn god. Thank you, I didn't know that.

I am aware it is just a film but as with a few films there are hidden agendas in the structure and dialogue, the syntax if you like, some of which the writer & director would want the viewer to take seriously otherwise it would be full of exploding lesbian car chases as Ramone likes. My observation was about it's comment on organised religion as a whole - and I am well aware that popular paganism doesn't involve sacrificial slaughter. I thought it may have generated an interesting discussion.

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The remake is much better :lol:
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Paganism doesn't generally tend to fall under organised religion. It's too disorganised!!! :lol:

*performs the madcap dance*

Heeeathen a PAGAN! No sun shines for meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Savage but gentle, the animaaaal withiiiiiin!
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Is it just me or does 'Hot Fuzz' resemble parts of the 'Wicker Man'?
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for one thing (as a Jocko Homo) Woodward's accent is embarrassing beyond belief

the music is naff, very naff

the usual 'worthies' from the Jocko Homo acting roster turn up and play themselves, again

there's a butt double employed for "Britt's nude dance" (I won't go into her attempt at Jockinese)

on the plus side, if you look close (and I have) at "Britt's nude dance", you can spot some minge

so, not a loss after all except when placed next to...

Image
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