alexxkay: (Bar Harbor)
[personal profile] alexxkay
Kestrell and I recently watched a 1973 British horror film starring Christopher Lee. Most of it is set on an island off the coast of Scotland. A policeman comes to the island, gravely concerned about the fate of a young girl, and with fears of ritual murder. In his investigation, he badly misunderstands almost everything that happens, until the apocalyptic revelatory sequence during a holiday celebration filled with fire, song, and the laughter of children.

No, I am *not* actually talking about The Wicker Man, but its strange mirror universe twin, Nothing but the Night. In this film, Christopher Lee plays the *policeman* (ably assisted by Peter Cushing), not the evil authority figure. Rather than a daytime Mayday Festival, the climax happens after dark on Guy Fawkes. And where The Wicker Man is a clearly told story full of moral ambiguity, Nothing but the Night is, unfortunately, a rather clumsily told story whose morals are never in doubt.

I would class it as a “fascinating failure”. Although it has a lot of problems, it also has a lot of good points, and a riveting finale. I wish people would make remakes of films like this, that have a lot of untapped potential, rather than retelling stories whose originals were so good that the remake seems pointless.
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Alexx Kay

August 2017

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