YMMV: The Wicker Man

The Original Film Provides Examples Of:

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: There are two camps for Howie's character -
    • Howie is a mostly reasonable police officer investigating the disappearance and possible death of a little girl. He's understandably frustrated when the community blatantly refuses to cooperate and act more and more suspicious as times goes on. Or...
    • He's an Asshole Victim that hates the villagers for being pagans.
    • Or you can combine the two. Howie is a Good Cop who also happens to be a bit of a morally upright prude who despises the islanders for being pagans. Murderous, perverted, gullible, two-faced pagans who deceived him to his death.
    • Similarly, it's up to the viewer to decide whether Lord Summersisle has pagan beliefs or is a cynic using pagan beliefs to his own end.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Was that naked crying woman on the grave ever explained?note 
    • In the extended version, we see a group of young islanders out on the village green, having sex. Horny as the island is, it seems odd that they would all choose to do so at the same time, so there's most likely some ritual reason for it, something to do with the approaching May Day. She's just visiting her lover, as all the other women in the scene were doing.
    • Why was that woman nursing a baby while sitting on a grave with an egg in her hand?
      • As Robin Hardy told Alan Cumming in a 2009 BBC Four special, Scotland on Screen, it was a fertility ritual; she was hoping for another baby.
  • Ear Worm: The Maypole song.
  • Freud Was Right: The film.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Arguments can be made for Lord Summerisle, who manipulates the entire population of his island to help him manipulate Howie, managing to come across as really evil but so damn affablly so.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • Word of God has gone on the record to say, no matter how appealing you find Summerisle and how irritating Howie might be, the murderous pagan cult in this film is not supposed to be considered good at all. But there are some neopagan viewers who don't get this...
    • Also, some neopagan viewers hate the movie because the pagans are the bad guys. But actually, the reason behind this particular group of pagans going bad is given in great detail by Lord Summerisle in the movie, and isn't supposed to represent all pagans.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Some viewers can't get past Howie's prudish religious/authoratative behavior and consider him an Asshole Victim by the end, but putting all religion and whatnot aside, he is the only character in the film who is trying to save a life (or at least thinks he is), while the affable islanders have manipulation and murder on their minds.
    • It's also worth noting that Howie doesn't initially act religiously intolerant toward the islanders; he just ignores their paganism the best he can and tries to do his policework. It's only when the islanders keep on dicking around with him and not cooeparating that his anger brings out the uglier side of his religious views.
    • Putting religion aside, most of what the community does would outrage or at least shock the average joe, let alone a devout, strict, churchgoer. A little kid who tortures an insect for no apparent reason... a bunch of people engaging in public sex... a woman sitting naked in a graveyard... very young adolescent girls dancing naked in broad daylight...
  • Sequelitis: Hardy is hoping to make a Wicker Man trilogy. The "spiritual sequel", 2011's The Wicker Tree, was heavily criticized for bad acting, what many saw as a poor script by Hardy, and bad logic. Many felt Christopher Lee's cameo was a letdown, since it was so short. Its star, newcomer Brittania Nicol, had never been in an film or television production of any kind before filming - and hasn't since. Some feel that the remake is better than this film. Hardy's attempt to crowdfund the third film, The Wrath of the Gods, fell flat on its face, showing that people aren't exactly clamoring for a third film.
  • Squick: During the film's US release, Christopher Lee did a radio spot, playing a post-film Lord Summerisle responding to allegations toward him and his cult of murder with "We love the flesh, even as it BURNS! ...Aaaah, the sweet smell of burning flesh!"
  • Tear Jerker: Many people say that Howie's horrible fate has reduced them to tears. One girl who had never seen the film before watched Paw Dugan's review of it on That Guy with the Glasses.com, and commented that the clips of the final scene made her bawl, and that it also made her decide to never watch the film in its entirety.

The 2006 Remake Provides Examples Of:

  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Neil LaBute claims that he was trying to show what patriarchial power dynamics would be like if the genders were reversed. Most viewers get the exact opposite vibe from the movie, thinking it's anti-feminist to absurd degrees.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: One fan-made trailer states that The Wicker Man was actually a Stealth Parody.
  • Anvilicious: Either way you take the film's supposed moral (see above), it still comes across as this.
  • Corpsing: Near the end, Ellen Burstyn can barely keep a straight face. Considering the dialogue and the Braveheart-esque face paint she's wearing, you can hardly blame her.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The Nicholas Cage version. Violence against women has never been so hilarious.
  • Dedication: One of the weirdest examples ever. Nicholas Cage dedicated the film to Johnny Ramone. That's right, the guitarist of The Ramones.
  • Fountain of Memes
  • Ham and Cheese: Nicolas Cage's acting is as over the top as ever, but when interviewed seemed annoyed that it was assumed the film wasn't meant to be ridiculous. He maintains that the over-the-top-ness was intentional.
  • Makes Just as Much Sense in Context: This montage of scenes from the film. On their own, they're hilariously inexplicable. Viewers who saw the film have said they make even less sense in their context.
  • Memetic Mutation: AHHH, NOT THE BEES!!!note 
    • KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GODDAMN HONEY
    • How'd it get burned? How'd it get burned!? HOWDITGETBURNED HOWDITGETBUUURNED!!??
  • Narm: So very much:
    • Nearly every scene where Malus gets dramatic. The bit with the bees is probably the most notable example.
    • The way Malgus goes around punching and kung-fu kicking all the cultists during the finale. Especially the bit where he silently walks up to the innkeeper before randomly punching her in the face.
    • Never has a little girl getting hit by a truck looked so hilarious. The fact they use it continuously doesn't help.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The weird, Braveheart face paint that the cult leader is wearing in the climax.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The original's version of Howie was disliked by many audiences because of his religious behavior. Thanks to Cage's ham-filled performance, the remake's Howie (renamed "Malus") brings life to what would otherwise be an atrociously boring film.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The remake is a bad horror movie, but it's a great comedy. Also, in his review on Ebert & Roeper, Richard Roeper ALMOST gives the Wicker Man a thumbs-up just because it's "a cinematic car wreck".
  • Special Effects Failure: In Cage's famous dying rant, ("No! NOT THE BEES") he screams twice that the bees are, "IN MY EYES!". We can clearly see that they're not. That, and they decided they wanted to be his beard for the night.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Played straight with the actors for the cultists. Completely averted by Nicholas Cage, who's has gone on the record saying that he quickly realized how awful the film was (which might explain some of his more goofy moments).
  • Unfortunate Implications: Funny as this film may be, it has a nasty streak of female hate a mile wide.
    • There is a heavy layer of misogyny present throughout the film. The main villain was changed from a man in the original to a woman in the remake, the Celtic neo-paganism of the original is diluted in favour of something which more resembles radical feminism, and Nicolas Cage runs around punching women in the face.
    • Quite literally EVERY significant (and insignificant) female in the movie is portrayed as being part of this evil female cult and wholeheartedly enjoying the murder and bee-related insanity that this incurs.
    • There's also another bad set of implications when Cage's character gets burned alive and the women of the island get ready to seduce a pair of poor young guys on the mainland.
    • Director Neil La Bute's other work hasn't exactly shown a very good attitude towards women...
    • These factors combined all enhance the disturbing subtext of the scenes where Nick Cage shrieks about the '''BITCHES!!!!!''' and throws punches at anything feminine by the end.
    • Even the one woman who isn't in the cult (Malus's co-worker) isn't very pleasant.
  • What an Idiot: The denizens of the island act as suspiciously as possible, and any rational cop would call for back-up or at least alert authorities that he was in a potentially dangerous situation so things would be investigated if he didn't come back. Even in handling the case of the missing little girl, he bungles it; waiting several hours before taking the first step of asking to be shown the last place she was seen.