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Season 3, Episode 2—”Folk Horror – pt. 1: The Wicker Man (1973 Film)”

Watching the wicker man burn
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The Wicker Man poster
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In 1973 a film was released called “The Wicker Man.”
In this podcast episode, we look at folk horror in general and The Wicker Man in particular.

This is from Troy Harkin’s introduction:


Man loves order. Moreover man loves the order that he cultivates.

As much as we claim to love the great outdoors we love a garden even more because we are the ones who dictate the order. We fear the wilderness. We fear the threat of the untamed. Because we want to see ourselves as enlightened, and civilized, we fear our pagan roots.

Folk Horror explores these fears. Often it examines a return to ancient rites and rituals that for the most part have been forgotten. But Folk Horror reminds us we can never truly leave our past behind. 

In his series The History of Horror, Mark Gatiss refers to the Unholy Trilogy of British Horror. These three films include Witchfiner General from 1968, The Blood on Satan’s Claw from 1970, and 1973’s The Wickerman.

THE WICKER MAN (history)

Inspired by David Pinner’s 1967 novel, Ritual, The Wickerman is ostensibly a detective story about a devout Christian police officer who is searching for a missing girl on Summerisle, an island off the west coast of Scotland, a community that is sustained by its production of apples. The Island is ruled by Lord Summerisle played by Christopher Lee. Police Sergeant Howie is played by Edward Woodward.The film features supporting actors Ingrid Pitt and Britt Eklund as well as actual Scottish locals as the inhabitants of Summerisle.

In the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You DieThe Wickerman is described as “a highly original combination of horror movie, murder mystery, pagan ethnography, and folk musical…”

Cinefantastique once described it as “The Citizen Kane of horror movies”., 

Total Film magazine named The Wicker Man the sixth greatest British film of all time. 

Christopher Lee considers The Wicker Man the best film he ever appeared in.

Troy Harkin and David Clink will look at the film, with special guest Sandra Kasturi. She is also the guest for Folk Horror part 2, which will look at MidSommar (2019).

Sandra Kasturi

Sandra Kasturi is an award-winning poet, writer, and editor, with work appearing in many places including ON SPEC, several Tesseracts anthologies, and 80! Memories & Reflections on Ursula K. Le Guin.

Her two poetry collections are: The Animal Bridegroom (with an introduction by Neil Gaiman) and Come Late to the Love of Birds (both from Tightrope Books).

Sandra recently won second prize in The New Quarterly’s Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest. She is also the winner of the Sunburst Award for her story “The Beautiful Gears of Dying” and ARC Magazine‘s Poem of the Year Award for “Old Men, Smoking.”

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