Understandably, many of you might primarily know of The Wicker Man thanks to Neil LaBute’s 2006 remake starring Nicolas Cage, in which Cage’s character punches a woman in the face while dressed like a bear, and spends the movie furiously screaming things like “How’d it get burned?!” and “Not the bees!” But while it’s admittedly not nearly as meme-worthy, director Robin Hardy‘s 1973 original is a far superior and even more disturbing piece of filmmaking.
So naturally, it’s a perfect fit for a theme park ride! Wait…what?
It’s true. The theme park Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England, has constructed a The Wicker Man roller coaster…because millennials love ’70s horror movies, I guess? Stoke Sentinel reports that the wooden ride, which was previously code-named “Secret Weapon 8,” will be “the world’s first roller coaster to feature wood and fire in the same attraction.” The ride’s track is 2,028 feet long, and riders will witness a full-size wicker man statue – the most iconic image from the film – that stands nearly 60 feet tall in the middle of the attraction. According to the site, people will “pass through it three times during the ride, as it appears to burst into flames.” (So it sounds like there will be both simulated flames and real fire involved in some capacity.)
I first saw The Wicker Man in a college film class, and I remember feeling deeply unsettled for a few days afterward. The story follows a Christian police sergeant who visits a society on an isolated island on a search for a missing girl, and is horrified to discover that the populace there worships pagan gods and performs ritual sacrifices in order to ensure a bountiful harvest for the year. I won’t spoil anything else for you, but if you haven’t seen either version of The Wicker Man, I implore you to seek out the original before you watch the 2006 version.
Alton Towers seems to be asking for trouble by brazenly combining wood and fire in an attraction like this, but putting that and the question of relevance aside for a second, I’m not entirely sure why they would want a Wicker Man roller coaster. The same park already has Thirteen, a creepy horror coaster that’s been operational since 2010 in which riders “ride the Demon of the Dark Forest.” But more power to ’em, I guess.
In any case, the Wicker Man ride will be opening in Spring 2018.
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