On Monday morning the film production and distribution company StudioCanal announced, via director Robin Hardy, that they have acquired an existing film print of 1973 cult film “The Wicker Man,” long missing, and are restoring the film, converting it to Blu-Ray format, and overseeing a short theatrical run in the Fall. For devotees of the film, which includes myself, this is exciting news. Up until now, the only versions of the film you could easily get were the mangled “Theatrical Version” (aka the “short” version) which is what usually pops up on streaming services and DVD, and “The Extended Version” (aka the director’s cut/the “long” version) which was included in the two-disc edition released in 2006 (and earlier VHS releases). The problem with the previously released extended version was that it melded film-quality material from the short version with NTSC tape of the additional footage, creating rather glaring differences in video (and audio) quality. Better than nothing, surely, but hardly optimal.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. The home of traditional 19th century Irish healer Biddy Early is up for auction. Current property owner Billy Loughnane is hoping that someone with a strong interest in Early will purchase the land, restore her cottage, and preserve it as a tourist spot. Biddy Early is perhaps one of the most famous of the female cunning folk, and her legend has only grown over the years.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up. At the excellent Religion In American History blog Kelly Baker points to a a conversation about sacred space in America with Erika Doss, Anthea Butler, Jacob Kinnard, and Edward Linenthal in newest issue of Material Religion: The Journal of Objects, Art and Belief. According the Baker, the conversation includes mention of the special outdoor worship area for Pagan cadets at the Air Force Academy. The circle was officially dedicated in May of this year.
Top Story: There has been a noticeable increase in anti-Native rhetoric from conservative media outlets lately, some of it a result from a blessing given by Dr. Carlos Gonzales at a memorial service for those killed and injured in the horrific shooting in Tuscon, Arizona, and some of it a by-product of anti-Obama administration attacks. Now things are seeming to get far more personal in nature, starting with a disturbingly ugly editorial from talk radio host, and Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association, Bryan Fischer. “In all the discussions about the European settlement of the New World, one feature has been conspicuously absent: the role that the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality of native Americans played in making them morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil […] Many of the tribal reservations today remain mired in poverty and alcoholism because many native Americans continue to cling to the darkness of indigenous superstition instead of coming into the light of Christianity and assimilating into Christian culture.” This isn’t first time Fischer has displayed his profoundly anti-Native feelings to the world, but this may be the most starkly ugly display of Christian triumphalism and revisionism I’ve seen in a long while. Do I even need to add that Fischer is also part of the “Green Dragon” hysteria, or would that be redundant?
It’s no secret that we here at The Wild Hunt are big fans of the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man, and are very much looking forward to writer/director Robin Hardy’s recently completed “spiritual sequel” The Wicker Tree; so I was pleased to hear that Hardy screened a 12-minute teaser of the film this Sunday at the Abertoir Horror Festival in Aberystwyth.
Robin Hardy will show a 12-minute promo of The Wicker Tree at the Abertoir Horror Festival in Aberystwyth on Sunday 14 November. The new film features a cameo by Christopher Lee who starred as Lord Summerisle in the original Wicker Man … “I am happy with this film because it is in the same genre as The Wicker Man, although it is not a sequel. There are lots of songs, sex, comedy and something terrible happens when you least expect it.” Two interesting tidbits from the BBC piece is that Hardy was motived by the (unintentionally, awfully) comedic Nicolas Cage-starring 2006 remake to return to working on a follow-up to The Wicker Man (“That film took the original plot and threw away the rest of what made the original film work.”), and that he’s already at work on the third film in the “Wicker trilogy”. “Mr Hardy has just finished writing a script for what he describes as ‘the third film in the Wicker trilogy’, The Wrath of the Gods, which he intends to start filming next year.”