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'The Wicker Man', The Uncanny, and the Clash of Moral Cultures

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'The Wicker Man', The Uncanny, and the Clash of Moral Cultures

The paper has two separate aims. First, the essay aims to unravel the structuring premise of Anthony Shaffer’s and Robin Hardy’s celebrated horror classic, which is accomplished through a review that pivots on psychoanalytic notions of the uncanny (Freud, Lacan, Lyotard). To illustrate this approach, 'The Wicker Man' is compared with other filmic texts (e.g. Roeg’s “Don’t Look Now”), as well as the ancient Greek myth of Oedipus, which is revealed to have a comparable basic structure. Subsequently, the film’s colliding perspectives of Christianity and paganism are subjected to philosophical analysis. An exposition of the philosophy of Schelling, and an apprehension of this philosophy in a Lacanian context, not only reveals how the remote island community’s paganism lacks ‘radical evil’, but also how this lack differentiates the film from the standard fare of the Hammer studios at the time.This is a slightly revised version of the article first published in 2005. Stefan Gullatz was Visiting Fellow at the IGRS in 2009.

Gullatz, Stefan (2005) 'The Wicker Man', The Uncanny, and the Clash of Moral Cultures. In: Franks, B., Harper, S., Murray, J., Stevenson, L. (eds), 'Constructing the Wicker Man: Film and Cultural Studies Perspectives'. University of Glasgow Crichton Publications, Dumfries, pp. 189-205.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Culture, Language & Literature
Keywords: the Uncanny, the Sublime, Psychoanalysis, Kant, Schelling, Lyotard, Lacan, Paganism, Christianity
Divisions: Institute of Modern Languages Research
Collections: IMLR Fellows
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