The park of Compton Verney will provide an appropriately dramatic backdrop for a  screening of classic horror movie, the legendary chiller The Wicker Man (1973).
One of the most celebrated films in the horror genre, The Wicker Man will be screened
in in Capability Brown’s avenue of Wellingtonia trees at Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park in Warwickshire on Friday 19 May at 8:30 pm.
Set on a remote Scottish island lairded over by the incomparable Christopher Lee, the film strands the viewer-and young policeman Edward Woodward - among a neo-pagan community where blood sacrifice, passion and lust collide in the mist.
At the time of its release, The Wicker Man was remarkable for not following the path of British horror's usual preoccupations. Perhaps it was the spirit of the early 1970’s that there is a something of a hippy vibe evident in the film, even down to the colour.
Consequently, it is a unique and compelling piece of rustic horror that avoids gratuitous scares and gore, but is laden with tension and not a little eroticism. Compton Verney is the ideal venue in which to screen The Wicker Man, as its major summer exhibition Creating the Countryside echoes the underlying theme of the film: man struggling with the natural world, which may overwhelm and crush him.
Indeed, Woodward’s Christian police sergeant Howie meets a grisly end whilst investigating the disappearance of a young girl on the island.
Throughout the film Howie encounters kindly but eccentric villagers– led by Lee’s character, the patriarchal Lord Summerisle – who frustrate his religious convictions, and he begins to suspect that their pagan practices belie a far more sinister truth.
For years after its original release The Wicker Man was lauded as “the Citizen Kane of horror movies”