Cult Corner: As The Wicker Man turns 50, what licensed products might fans still want to see?

The Wicker Man at 50: why the cult classic is as hard to license as it is to define…

1973 saw the release of three seminal horror films, two of which – The Exorcist and Don’t Look Now – were recognised as such pretty much immediately and universally. The third, The Wicker Man, was more divisive. To give you some idea of the schism, the movie’s star – horror legend Christopher Lee – frequently cited it as the best of the 244 films he made. In contrast, the managing director of the film’s production company said it was one of the ten worst films he’d ever even seen…

Unfortunately, that dramatic difference of opinion is somewhat par for the course when discussing The Wicker Man. Those that love the film see it as mould-breaking, creepy and – eventually – terrifying. Those that dislike it see it as ludicrous, puerile and – immediately – terrible. This makes it easy to understand why, despite valiant efforts on behalf of the IP owners, licensed ideas around the property are few and far between. Nevertheless, here – with vague spoilers – are a handful of things that I’d love to see made real…

Board Game
Certainly, this would be hard to get right! Why? Because in all the different cuts of the movie, almost nothing actually seems to happen until the very end. Still, it’s possible to imagine a game that honours the disquieting spirit of the film in a fresh and entertaining way. Indeed, it’s the kind of thematic challenge to which the team at Funko Games often seems to rise… Just look at their work on Rear Window by way of example.

Cult Corner, Wicker Man, Film & TV

Graphic Novel / Audio Novel Sequel
There have already been a couple of attempts at sequels of sorts – but nothing that picked up where the original story left a tantalising thread… With the staunch policeman, Sergeant Howie, beseeching the islanders to envision Lord Summerisle as their next sacrifice.

There’s little doubt, though, that a new film sequel would be greeted by fans in much the same way that they reacted to the 2006 remake… To borrow the words of Sergeant Howie: “Oh God! Oh Jesus Christ… No!” Similarly, follow-up novels might not hit the spot. A graphic novel, though – or even a well-cast audio drama – might be able to expand the story much more agreeably.

Summerisle Calendar
I’m frankly amazed that no one’s knocking these out on etsy. Now, it doesn’t quite go without saying that Summerisle – the island on which The Wicker Man is set – is fictional. Nevertheless, it was filmed in several coastal towns and villages in Scotland and makes for surprisingly picturesque and striking imagery. And yes, the novelty would wear off pretty quickly – but I’d still like one of these.

Cult Corner, Wicker Man, Film & TV

May Morrison Confectionery Selection
I can’t tell you how thrilled I’d be to receive a hamper full of the eats, sweets, and treats we saw in May Morrison’s somewhat unsettling shop. Gingerbread hares, jars of gumballs, chocolate turtles – and what may or may not have been a marzipan pig! Whoever manufactured this would only have me as a customer, but I’d be very loyal.

Cult Corner, Wicker Man, Film & TV

Escape Room
This would seem to be the most effective way to execute an attraction based on The Wicker Man. There is, of course, a rollercoaster called Wicker Man at the Alton Towers theme park in the UK. This appears to take none of its inspiration from the movie, however, even though it could be said that there’s a passing resemblance at first glance. An escape room, though, might work well on account that the iconography of the film could stand alone…

In other words, an occult-themed escape room called The Wicker Man would almost certainly appeal to a wider audience regardless of their interest in the film itself. Given the rich mix of pagan symbolism and entry-level occultism we see throughout, it would be comparatively easy to immerse visitors in a Summerisle experience.

Cult Corner, Wicker Man, Film & TV

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