The Wicker Tree was recently released to Blu-ray, and although I talked to director Robin Hardy in detail about the film earlier this year, I wanted to follow up on a couple of items. Hardy gave me his thoughts on the film’s mixed reception in the United States, and let me know what he’s planning for the third film in a loose trilogy of “Wicker” movies.
What do you think of the reception that The Wicker Tree has received in the US? When we last spoke, you mentioned that this was more of a black comedy, but was being marketed as a horror film. Do you feel that this should have been developed as more of a comedy or straight horror film?
Robin Hardy: When we first made The Wicker Man, the American press received it very well and it was considered a horror film. Horror films back then were seen as very different from what they are today.
If I was told today that I was going to see a new British horror film, which is usually more yucky than most, I wouldn’t cross the road to see it because I don’t particularly like that kind of film. I absolutely recognize that there is a place for it and it is a market of its own, but it’s not the market I’m making the film for. That is, if I’m making a film for a market at all, because I think one makes a film in order to express what you have to say or to entertain the audience. It’s not because I thought it was going to fit in some kind of marketing plan.
There were some very nice reviews. The New York Times review I particularly liked, and they said The Wicker Tree wasn’t as gritty as the original The Wicker Man, but it was one thousand times better than the remake. It’s not for me to say I would sell it differently, though.
I also think there was a huge confusion, in America at least, about whether The Wicker Man remake had something to do with this film. Since the reception of the remake was pretty appalling, I’m not surprised that there is some resistance to this film.
I understand that there was a third film planned to wrap up a loose “Wicker” trilogy. Is that something you’re actively working on?
Robin Hardy: It’s really the story of the end of the Ring Cycle by Wagner, where the gods have been defeated. They have overplayed their hand and they have to go back to Valhalla. I’ve written a screenplay that is very loosely based on that with completely contemporary characters, American and Scottish.
I’m going to shoot it in the northern most islands in the British Isles. They are probably more Scandinavian than Scottish, and I’m going to use some of that folklore too. It’s about the gods getting their comeuppance. The music will also be very important again and it will be tongue-in-cheek, but will also be very scary at the end.
I’m calling it The Wrath of the Gods, but it wouldn’t surprise me if we changed the title because of The Wrath of the Titans. We could call it The Twilight of the Gods, which may be closer to the Wagner story.
The Wicker Tree was released earlier this week on Blu-ray/DVD. To learn more about the film, check out our recent coverage: