Book contracts make me happy. For my next trick, I’ll be writing a book on The Wicker Man for the Devil’s Advocate series. This will be a short book, and hopefully priced down where individuals can afford it. The Devil’s Advocate series was initiated by Auteur Publishing some years ago. The series covers individual horror films in about 128 pages. I pitched the idea of The Wicker Man for a couple of reasons. One, Auteur didn’t have one in the series. And two, I’ve been working on holiday horror for some time. Holiday horror encompasses movies where a holiday features in the story, generally in a significant way. Think Halloween, or April Fool’s Day. The Wicker Man takes place during a pagan celebration of May Day, falling neatly into the category. You may see, in coming weeks, posts about various Wicker Man books.
While still in the horror genre, this next book will be a departure from the supernatural horror of Nightmares with the Bible. Demons are frightening, no doubt, but Wicker Man is more about how religion can motivate people toward evil. It is part of what has been termed the “unholy trinity” of early folk horror, classed with Witchfinder General and The Blood on Satan’s Claw. This “unholy trinity” overlaps in time another famous threesome: Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, and The Omen. There can be little doubt that modern horror really began in 1968, which also gave us Night of the Living Dead. Folk horror utilizes both folklore and the landscape—generally rural—as the basis for its fear. And you can’t get much more isolated than Summerisle.
The hope is to get this book out in 2023. That will be the fiftieth anniversary of the release of The Wicker Man. Although it came out when I was eleven, I didn’t see it for another thirty years at least. By that point in time I’d watched and read about enough horror to find out about and appreciate this particular, indeed, peculiar movie. I was blown away the first time I saw it. It is quirky but stunning. Christopher Lee maintained throughout his career that it was his best movie. I haven’t seen all of Lee’s movies (who has?) but I’m inclined to agree. I’ll be getting to know this movie in some depth over the next several months. Having watched it many times already, I’m drawing a map for a journey to Summerisle. You’re welcome to come along.