My Top 20 Scares of 2020: #8

I’m honestly surprised this movie didn’t rate higher on the list, because I loved it. But the numbers don’t lie and there are a lot of fabulous films we’ve yet to discuss.

It would’ve rated higher if the representation of women were a little better (the same is obviously true of yesterday’s pick, CREEP), but “How About Those Women?” is a category for a reason and the reason is I’m tired of BS excuses like “it was a different time.” Blah, Blah, that is an intellectually stunted point of view and I hate it the most. If your female characters are made out of sex alone that will affect a film’s score on this list. I’m confident the filmmakers will go on having plenty of money and success.

THAT SAID, it’s Christmas Eve! A time for joy! And what better way to get some joy in your life than partaking in a not-that-scary super-satisfying horror gem that’s also a MUSICAL?

Who knew horror and musicals were such a delightful pairing? (I did)

#8. THE WICKER MAN (1973)


I have written at length about my adoration of idyllic horror, and Robin Hardy’s THE WICKER MAN (1973) (screenplay by Anthony Schaffer) is a sterling example of the genre. Everything in this entire movie is pretty and charming, up to and including the climactic ceremony in which a screaming human being is burned to death in the Eponymous Wicker Man. I was never truly frightened during this movie, but I was charmed, amused, and also disturbed by my own feelings of charmed amusement. THE WICKER MAN has one of my all-time favorite Horror Morals: sex is good; kill cops.

I love a horror movie that asks the question: who’s really the bad guy here? and then doesn’t bother to answer that question too definitively before picking someone to ritually and joyously kill. Also, the musical numbers slap.

How Did It Score
  • How scary was it? 2/5
    • It’s worth noting that others might find this movie scarier than I did; I didn’t personally identify with the overbearing male protagonist in any way, so I felt un-threatened by his demise. But depending who’s watching…
  • How memorable was it? 5/5
    • I think about this movie all the time.
  • Was it a Quality film? 5/5
    • Points for being very beautiful; points for the best moral.
  • How about those women? 1.5/5
    • Here is how THE WICKER MAN scores on each of the gender tests:
      • Bechdel-Wallace Test: Pass
      • Sexy Lamp Test: Fail
      • Willis Test: Fail
      • Ko Test: Fail
      • Roxane Gay Test: Fail
      • Carie-Burns Test: Fail. Technically. Many female characters survive until the end but their individual agency/non-lamp-ness is in question. Half points.
    • Bonus: 1
      • The burning wicker man is totally iconic.
  • Total points: 14.5/20

Published by Brandy N. Carie

Playwright. Director. Producer. Feminist Takes on Horror Films.

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