The music of The Wicker Man

wicker_man.jpgLeft: The scarce first edition of the Hamlyn novelisation. From the Coulthart library.

I realised some years ago that all my favourite films have great soundtracks, almost without exception. Something about the blend of drama and well-chosen music really excites me, so it’s no surprise that The Wicker Man would appeal, having as it does a wonderful folk soundtrack. Nice to see from the discussion that follows how influential this soundtrack has been although I’m surprised they didn’t mention the multiple cover versions of Willow’s Song. Once again Hollywood has seen fit to gift us with a completely redundant cover version of their own; the less said about the imminent remake, the better.

‘It was a way into a magical world’
The Wicker Man is the unlikely inspiration to a new generation of British folk musicians. So we put the film’s musical fans in a room with its director to discuss its enduring appeal. By Will Hodgkinson.

Will Hodgkinson
Friday July 21, 2006
The Guardian

ONE OF THE unlikeliest motivating factors in the current wave of new British folk music is a horror movie from three decades ago. The Wicker Man, the story of an upright Christian police officer investigating the disappearance of young girl on the Scottish island of Summerisle, and stumbling across a pagan cult, is hardly a masterpiece. But it has endured as a cult classic because it is unique, fascinating and evocative. Its folk-based soundtrack and use of ancient rituals and mythology have made it the focal point for a new generation of British musicians. So, as the gods of creation poured golden light into a sacred hall (a meeting room at the Guardian) on a summer afternoon, we assembled a handful of Wicker Man-obsessed musicians to discuss the film’s influence with its director, Robin Hardy.

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An announcement

JTS.jpgThe international committee to choose the winner of the Jack Trevor Story Memorial Cup has at last been selected. The jury consists of Mr John Coulthart (UK), M. Jean-Luc Fromental (France), Mr Michael Moorcock (UK), Mr Martin Stone (France) and Mr Jeff VanderMeer (USA) who will meet to confer in the course of the following days. The winner will be announced after a traditional final meeting at a well-known brasserie in Paris by the end of July. This prize is not given every year. It is generally awarded for a work of fiction or body of work which, in the opinion of the committee, best celebrates the spirit of Jack Trevor Story, who died in 1992. As well as for his journalism, much of it published in The Guardian newspaper, Mr Story was known for such humorous novels as The Trouble With Harry (filmed by Alfred Hitchcock) and the Live Now, Pay Later trilogy featuring the ‘tally man’ Albert Argyll (played by Ian Carmichael). As well as the traditional cup, a cash prize is awarded. The conditions of the prize are that the money shall be spent in a week to a fortnight and the author have nothing to show for it at the end of that time. This is to recall Mr Story’s famous reply to the bankruptcy judge who enquired where a substantial sum of money paid to him for film rights had gone ? “You know how it is, judge. Two hundred or two thousand, it always lasts a week to a fortnight.’