Couch Potato’s Sing-Along-A-Wicker-Man Night Out

Sing-Along-A-Wicker-Man. When I first heard about this event, my reaction was ‘what a fabulous idea! Why hasn’t anyone thought of it sooner?

If you don’t know this cult movie, then here’s the plot in a nutshell:

Edward Woodward plays a puritanical Christian copper who travels from the Scottish mainland to remote Summerisle to investigate an anonymous report of a missing girl.

The Wicker Man, Edward Woodward

But when he arrives, the whole island denies ever seeing the child.

The Wicker Man

‘Do you know her? Her name is Rowan Morrison.’

As he pursues his investigations, the virginal cop discovers that the island practices Pagan worship.

The Wicker Man

He also learns that the community’s crops failed the previous year, and that the island’s May Day celebrations are fast approaching…

For those unfamiliar with this original 1970s movie, starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee and Britt Ekland, Sing-Along-A-Wicker-Man is probably a baffling concept.

And, for those only familiar with that dreadful Nicolas Cage Wicker Man film, it’s probably a totally unappealing concept.

And, even some of the movie’s biggest fans didn’t get the appeal of a Sing-Along event when it was first advertised.

However, there’s a reason why The Wicker Man (1973) is one of  my top five horror films ever. It’s packed with folk songs, and for me, it’s the disturbingly strange music that makes it the extraordinary movie it is. For this reason, I was totally sold on the concept of adopting the role of a pagan Summerisle resident for a night, and I clearly wasn’t alone.  The event was sold out, and that was on Friday’s big footy match night too.

Sofa Spud and I wore masks – one was owl-like, and the other a more exotic-looking bird.  Our friend (let’s call him Armchair Tattie) sported a very fetching pig’s head. Not everyone dressed up, but there were enough animal heads and pagan wenches in the audience to create a surreal sense of occasion.

Wicker Man masks

The event hosts (dressed up as Britt Ekland and Christopher Lee) guided us through some special dance moves, handed out pagan hymn books and gave everyone a goody bag of oddities, including a raspberry bootlace, a smartie, a frazzle, 2 lollipop sticks, a  candy frog, and a sticker. When the film rolled, they encouraged audience participation every step of the way.

I lost track of the number of times I was presented with that passport photo of missing kid Rowan Morrison.

The Wicker Man, Rowan Morrison

‘Do you know her? Her name is Rowan Morrison.’

In addition to the main interactive feature, there were a number of pre-screening extra treats. One was a short spoof film entitled The Weaker Man which inevitably went to town on the Britt Ekland dancing scene. Who wouldn’t?

The other major treat was a special appearance from the film’s director, Robin Hardy.

Yes, Robin Hardy! Unfortunately I couldn’t hear a word he said as he was drowned out by noise from the downstairs bar – something that the management were slow to rectify despite numerous complaints from those sat at the back of the auditorium. Nevertheless, the thrill of just seeing Mr Hardy was a special treat, and we got a chance to rub shoulders with him in the break.

My Top 5 moments of the night:

1. Standing up to slap our butts along with Britt during that famous erotic dance.

2. Learning the actions to the Maypole Song.

3. The hilarious and slightly surreal moment when Armchair Tattie asked Robin Hardy for his autograph while wearing his papier mâché pig mask.

4. Watching Robin Hardy leaving the auditorium once the feature started (I was at the back of the gallery so was able to spy on him from my perch). After descending the stairs, Hardy stared for a while at the poster on a stand advertising the event. Noting that it had a SOLD OUT banner across it, he swiftly swapped it for the souvenir poster he’d been given before gliding out, obviously really chuffed by the lasting popularity of his movie.

The Wicker Man

5. The film’s climax. Despite this being a jolly, slightly silly, somewhat camp knees-up of a night, the movie didn’t lose its sense of underlying menace. To my surprise, and delight, I still felt horror at that final scene.