Collecting Articles and Features

From Vintage Posters to Handmade Effigies The World of The Wicker Man Collectables

Please share on your social media

From Vintage Posters to Handmade Effigies The World of The Wicker Man Collectables – Fifty years ago, on May 5th, 1973, audiences were first introduced to the enigmatic and haunting world of ‘The Wicker Man’, a British horror film directed by Robin Hardy. Now, five decades later, we look at the enduring legacy of this cult classic and its impact on the genre, its influence on contemporary filmmakers, and look at The Wicker Man collectables past and present.

The Wicker Man UK Quad poster a first release
The Wicker Man (1973) UK Quad poster, a first release Quad for the cult British horror film starring Edward Woodwood and Christopher Lee. Sold for £300 at Special Auction Services, March 2022.

At its core, ‘The Wicker Man’ is a story of religious conflict, ancient pagan rituals, and the clash of modern sensibilities against age-old traditions. The film follows Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward), a devout Christian police officer, who is summoned to the remote Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl named Rowan Morrison. Unbeknownst to Howie, he is walking into a world ruled by the island’s enigmatic leader, Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), where the old gods and ancient customs hold sway.

The Wicker Man Burning Man Figurine Sculpture
The Wicker Man Burning Man Figurine Sculpture. This figure is available on ETSY.

Upon release as a B-movie alongside Don’t Look Now, ‘The Wicker Man’ received mixed reviews from critics, who found it difficult to classify the film into any specific genre. Nevertheless, the film’s unique blend of horror, mystery, and folkloric elements has earned it a dedicated following over the years. Today, it is widely regarded as one of the greatest British horror films of all time. Christopher Lee, Lord Summerisle himself, was a great champion and starred in the film for no payment. He said of the film “It’s one of the most remarkable films ever made” and “It’s not only amusing, it’s romantic, erotic, very disturbing and very frightening.”

 

The Wicker Man English One Sheet film poster
The Wicker Man English One Sheet film poster. Sold for £420 at Ewbank’s, April 2022.

One of the most striking aspects of ‘The Wicker Man’ is its atmospheric setting, which adds to the film’s eerie and unsettling tone. The remote Scottish island, with its isolated and insular community, creates a sense of otherworldliness that is both fascinating and disquieting. The film’s folk soundtrack, composed by Paul Giovanni, further enhances this atmosphere, blending seamlessly with the narrative and the ancient rituals portrayed on screen.

The Wicker Man The Fool Punch Figurine
The Wicker Man The Fool Punch Figurine. This figure is available on ETSY.

Perhaps the most iconic scene of the film is its climactic and chilling conclusion, in which the titular Wicker Man is revealed. This enormous, pagan effigy, constructed of wood and filled with animals and ultimately, a human sacrifice, is a symbol of the lengths to which the islanders are willing to go to appease their gods and maintain their way of life.

A signed photo from the iconic film The Wicker Man showing Woodward as Sergeant Neil Howie
A signed photo from the iconic film The Wicker Man showing Woodward as Sergeant Neil Howie. Sold for £40 at Chaucer Auctions, August 2021.

The Wicker Man’s enduring legacy is seen in its impact on the horror genre, inspiring a generation of filmmakers to explore themes of religious conflict and ancient customs in their work. This is evident in the folk horror subgenre, which has grown in popularity since the film’s release. Movies like ‘Midsommar’ (2019) by Ari Aster and ‘The Witch’ (2015) by Robert Eggers both showcase elements of folk horror and can trace their lineage back to ‘The Wicker Man’.

Furthermore, contemporary filmmakers such as Ben Wheatley (‘Kill List’ (2011) and ‘A Field in England’ (2013)) and Peter Strickland (‘The Duke of Burgundy’ (2014)) have been influenced by the film’s unique atmosphere and storytelling. These directors have incorporated the film’s disquieting tone and focus on isolated communities in their own works, demonstrating the lasting influence of ‘The Wicker Man’ on the genre.

The Wicker Man Set of 8 US lobby cards
The Wicker Man Set of 8 US lobby cards. Sold for £130 at Ewbank’s, March 2018.

In addition to its impact on the horror genre, ‘The Wicker Man’ has left its mark on popular culture, inspiring tributes and references in various media. The British television series ‘The League of Gentlemen’ (1999-2002) paid homage to the film through its dark humor and surreal rural setting. The film has also spawned a number of adaptations and homages, including a 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage and a spiritual sequel by Robin Hardy, titled ‘The Wicker Tree’ (2011).

In the decades since its release, ‘The Wicker Man’ has amassed a devoted fan base, and with this passionate following comes a market for memorabilia and collectibles. Enthusiasts can find a variety of items that pay tribute to the film, ranging from vintage movie posters, limited edition vinyl soundtracks, and novelizations of the story, to more unique pieces such as handmade replicas of the iconic Wicker Man effigy. Additionally, several artists have created their own interpretations of the film’s memorable scenes and characters in the form of art prints, pins, and even clothing. The market for ‘The Wicker Man’ memorabilia is a clear indication of the movie’s lasting impact, as fans continue to connect with its themes and celebrate its place in cinematic history.

The film’s haunting allure and unique approach to horror continue to captivate audiences. Its themes of religious conflict, the power of tradition, and the struggle between the rational and the mystical remain as relevant and thought-provoking today as they were in 1973. With its enduring legacy and influence on the genre, ‘The Wicker Man’ stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and the lasting impact of cinematic masterpieces.

Related
Why The Wicker Man has divided opinion for 50 years


Please share on your social media