Dr James Newton offers an appreciation of the American director, George Romero (1949-2017)
The opening weekend of July 2016 saw the deaths of two significant figures in the history of British genre cinema – director Robin Hardy and producer Euan Lloyd.
Hardy became a hugely respected figure thanks to his 1973 masterpiece, The Wicker Man (1973). That film, the jewel of the minor sub-genre identified as ‘folk horror’, featured Christopher Lee in what was reportedly his favourite role. Millions of words have been used to eulogise The Wicker Man, and so I would like to shift attention onto its ignored (and occasionally maligned) follow up, The Wicker Tree (2011).
Hardy wrote the screenplay based on his novel entitled Cowboys for Christ (2006). It is a thematic sequel to the earlier film, involving a Christian pop group attempting to convert pagans in Scotland.
It is understandable as to why the film was met with disappointment. Its production values occasionally reveal the (relatively) low budget (though there are also plenty of beautifully shot sequences), such as a shot against a green screen cameo by Christopher Lee. Also, the plot is convoluted in comparison with The Wicker Man.