Constructing The Wicker Man and Explorations of Summerisle from Back When: Signposts 1/52
Constructing The Wicker Man (2005) is a collection of essays that explore The Wicker Man, edited by Jonathan Murray, Lesley Stevenson, Stephen Harper and Benjamin Franks and based around contributions to an academic conference on the film that took place at the University of Glasgow in 2003.
It was the first time that such an event had focused on The Wicker Man at a point when the film was still going through something of a period of growing critical and cult appreciation. It also forebears more recent academic conferences which focus on flipside of folklore related culture, including A Fiend in the Furrows at Queen’s University (2014), Child Be Strange: A Symposium on Penda’s Fen at the BFI (2017) and the various Alchemical Landscape related events at Cambridge University which began in 2015.
The book is particularly rare and in terms of books I’ve sought out during the A Year In The Country wanderings that have been hard to find I would put it next to Brian Freemantle’s novelisation of the 1968 film The Touchables and Filming The Owl Service.
In 2006 there was a companion book to it published called The Quest for The Wicker Man that drew from the same conference and was edited by the same people which, while it is currently out of print, seems to have had a wider release and copies can still be found online.
It and Constructing The Wicker Man could also be seen as companions to the editions of Allan Brown’s more pop culture orientated exploration of the film Inside The Wicker Man.
In lieu of being able to create a signpost to where Constructing The Wicker Man itself can be found, there is a link below to an in-depth exploration and analysis of the book at the Offscreen website – one of the few pieces of writing about it I can find.
That article ends with a still from The Wicker Man captioned with “Bright, Beautiful and Serene: Anti-horror?”, a view of the film that it swerves near its ending, only to a degree to return to it for the final moments as the eponymous burning structure’s head falls to reveal the setting sun.
- Constructing The Wicker Man – A Cult Film Reviewed by Donato Totaro at Offscreen
- The Alchemical Landscape
- A Fiend in the Furrows
- Child Be Strange: A Symposium on Penda’s Fen
- The (Non) Availability of Constructing the Wicker Man
- The (Partial) Availability of Quest for the Wicker Man
- The (Non) Availability of Brian Freemantle’s Touchables
- The (Non) Availability of Filming The Owl Service
Links/Signposts at A Year In The Country:
- Research and Investigations of the Spectral Landscape: Wanderings #41/52a
- Folk Horror Roots – From But a Few Seedlings Did a Great Forest Grow: Chapter 6 Book Images
- The Wicker Man – Notes on a Cultural Behemoth: Chapter 10 Book Images
- Day #202/365: Filming The Owl Service; Tomato Soap and Lonely Stones
- Robin Redbreast, The Ash Tree, Sky, The Changes, Penda’s Fen, Red Shift and The Owl Service – Wanderings Through Spectral Television Landscapes: Chapter 11 Book Images
- Week #44/52: The Touchables and a pop-art pastoral playland
- Queens of Evil, Tam Lin and The Touchables – High Fashion Transitional Psych Folk Horror, Pastoral Fantasy and Dreamlike Isolation: Chapter 23 Book Images