Monday, May 6, 2024

Sgt. Howie Didn't Bagpuss

The Wicker Man (Sacrifice Scene)
Robin Hardy, 1973

That recent trailer for the upcoming documentary on Christopher Lee is a seasonal reminder on the existence of Robin Hardy's cult classic, folk horror The Wicker Man (1973). Unlike Brian De Palma's The Phantom of the Paradise (1974) or the ridiculously overrated The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), The Wicker Man is the only horror musical I can watch without being annoyed by the singing.

As a child of the seventies, there's a good reason that might explain why The Wicker Man succeeds where those films fail, and the answer comes from the kids' television series Bagpuss (1974). I'm betting Oliver Postgate, the creator of Bagpuss, had just finished watching The Wicker Man at his local cinema (we didn't have multiplexes back then) and liked the folksy and creepy music so much, he implemented it in his show. Mind blown that the song the mice sing whenever their beavering away repairing or cleaning the latest item that finds its way into Emily's shop of lost items, originates from the centuries old Sumer Is Icumen In, the chilling song at the end of The Wicker Man.

John Fulkner & Sandra Kerr - Mouse Round (Mending Song)
Bagpuss: The Songs and Music Album, 1999

How tragic that Edward Edward's Sergeant Howie, the God fearing, virgin copper and protagonist in The Wicker Man, had succumbed to temptation and wet his police whistle with a completely gagging for it Britt Ekland writhing outside his bedroom door, might have left Summerisle alive? He wouldn't have been a virgin, hence, the ruse to sacrifice a foolish virgin wouldn't have taken place. An important lesson learned right there.


Kelvin Mack10zie said...

The British equivalent of "Each One, Teach One".

Watched Freeway 2 last night and now I'm wishing that Bright and Gallo had done a Sister Gonez prequel.

Spartan said...

The world needs more Matthew Bright films. Ended up coppin' both the Freeway movies and Ted Bundy in a Black Friday sale. Curious to see Gary Oldman as a midget in Tiptoes, but I doubt it'll see the light of day again anytime soon.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

The algorithm stays having its uses. YouTube just recommended me Gallo being interviewed by Johnny Vaughan in 1999.

Spartan said...

Totally forgot Johnny Vaughn did another film show after Movie Watch.

Vincent Gallo has got to be the most politically despised person in the film industry since Elias Kazan.

Kelvin Mack10zie said...

Honestly, I never even knew he did another film show.

Very surprised Coppola worked with Gallo on Tetro after Gallo called him a "fat pig who hasn't made a good movie in decades" and said Sofia was little more than a N.Y socialite groupie 😄

Spartan said...

Cracks me up what he said about the French language.