Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More - Dread Central
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Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More



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It has been almost forty years now since writer/director Robin Hardy first mystified audiences with his uber-eccentric cult classic The Wicker Man, and now the UK filmmaker is back with his companion tale, the darkly comedic The Wicker Tree.

Starring newcomers Brittania Nicol and Henry Garrett as well Graham McTavish and Christopher Lee, The Wicker Tree is centered around two young missionaries who travel to a small village in Scotland where they hope to spread the gospel of Jesus; unaware of any sinister plans, the pair get caught in the middle of a ritual which will force them both to make the ‘ultimate sacrifice’ in the end.

Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with Hardy about his follow-up efforts on The Wicker Tree as well as why this latest film isn’t really a sequel and why his third film in the Wicker trilogy may end up being the most epic story of them all.

Read on for our exclusive interview with Hardy below, and make sure to check out The Wicker Tree once it hits DVD and Blu-ray shelves everywhere tomorrow, April 24th, courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Dread Central: It’s been quite some time since the original The Wicker Man was released; how long had you known that you wanted to make a follow-up to that film?

Robin Hardy: Well, this isn’t really a sequel; more of a companion piece I believe. Do you see this as a sequel?

Dread Central: I saw it as an exploration of this world but not really as a sequel at all, especially because of the tonal differences.

Robin Hardy: Definitely; I would say it’s sort of like my homage to the genre that we created in The Wicker Man. As a storyteller, I wanted to have another go to see if it still worked and if it would work for audiences in the same way it did for the first one. In that sense, The Wicker Tree is a sort of spiritual brother to The Wicker Man but not a sequel.

To be quite honest, I think of The Wicker Tree more like a black comedy and not like a horror film; I keep on encouraging the distributors to say that so that fans will understand what they’re in for. It’s better when fans are prepared, and I think it is important that people know what they are getting into in advance.

Dread Central: Well, I’d like to believe that anyone who had seen the original Wicker Man movie would be prepared for the unexpected going into this one.

Robin Hardy: You know, one of my favorite quotes from Christopher Lee about the original book is where he says something like, “It’s erotic, comic, romantic and horrific enough to strain the bowels…” and I think that sums that up perfectly. I don’t have quite the same kind of quote for this story, but it’s just as unique I believe.

Dread Central: Speaking of Christopher Lee, how great was it reuniting with your The Wicker Man star? I understand he was supposed to have a larger role but couldn’t because of health concerns.

Robin Hardy: Yes. He was originally going to play the role of Morrison that Graham (McTavish) now plays, but he had an accident in Mexico while working on a film and was too badly injured to do the role. But I wanted him in the film, and he wanted to be in the film so I wrote that little piece for him to play, and thankfully he was able to do it. It was lovely working with him again.

Dread Central: Back when you were writing the book, had you always planned on making it into a movie?

Robin Hardy: “Cowboys for Christ?” I’m trying to remember when I wrote the book; maybe I wrote the book about six or seven years ago, and yes, I suppose I had always had a film in mind when I wrote it, but I didn’t really have a plan or anything.

Dread Central: It had been some time since you had helmed a feature between The Wicker Man and The Wicker Tree; any difficulties in making the transition back behind the camera after some time away?

Robin Hardy: Well, I’ve done quite a lot of television in the States in the interim so I was always working; I did various sorts of biographies for PBS programs and things like that so it wasn’t all that unfamiliar to me. I felt perfectly comfortable from minute one on The Wicker Tree, the only problem being that I had never used one of these huge digital cameras before.

They’re quite daunting at first glance and are considerably more difficult to work with than film cameras; they do present all sorts of problems of their own, too. Of course the results are very good and the things that you can do with the material are very good so that’s why we use them and eventually they do make your life easier. So what was it like to come back to this world? It was certainly familiar but also new because of some intriguing new technical problems which I hadn’t faced before.

Dread Central: With The Wicker Tree coming out this week, what’s coming up for you? Any plans on returning to this world again for a third Wicker movie?

Robin Hardy: Actually, yes to both of those. There’s a third movie I want to make called The Wrath of the Gods. It was set in Iceland but I’ve re-set it in Shetland. See, Shetland is full of Scandinavian people, not Scots, because it was ruled by Denmark for something like five centuries, and because of that the gods there are not Celtic, they’re Nordic which makes for an interesting world.

The film is about the gods getting their comeuppance, which is a fitting third film, I must say. (laughs) But it’s similar to what happened in Wagner’s Ring Cycle- do you know what that is?

Dread Central: I know it has something to do with opera, but that’s really it.

Robin Hardy: Yes, it’s an opera that is akin to Greek tragedies, and my story is based on the same set of stories as these operas. It’s going to be a grander scale to work on, but if we can do it right, the production value will be marvelous, and it will be a fitting finale for these stories.

Exclusive Interview: Writer/Director Robin Hardy on The Wicker Tree, Completing his Trilogy and More

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 140 – Pet Sematary 2



Ahoy there, fuckos! This week’s episode is brought to you by none other than Chris Franco! That’s right, it’s a Chris pick! So you know what that means, we’re cranking the cheese factor up to eleven! This week we’ve got $5 Furlongs, naked women with dog heads, and accents that are more forced than a Bill Cosby sexual encounter! That’s right, we watched  Pet Sematary 2 so you don’t have to!

Ever wonder which of us knows more lyrics to Ice, Ice, Baby? Well, Patreon found out, but perhaps there’s more singing in the actual episode. Download to find out!

Sometimes, dumb is better. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 140!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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Night of the Living Dead 4K and The Silence of the Lambs Come to the Criterion Collection



It’s been a long time coming for these two classics, especially Night of the Living Dead after the ridiculously bad transfer put out by Mill Creek Entertainment, whose transfer was supposedly remastered from a new 2K scan. I swear I thought it was some kind of a joke when I first put it on to watch. In any event…

IndieWire is reporting that horror classics Night of the Living Dead and The Silence of the Lambs will be added to the 2018 Criterion Collection, a hallmark label for home video cinephiles.

According to the site, Criterion will release a new 4K digital restoration of The Silence of the Lambs, which has been approved by the movie’s cinematographer Tak Fujimoto. Included on the DVD and Blu-ray sets are 35 minutes of deleted scenes and audio commentary from 1994 featuring the late Jonathan Demme (director), stars Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, screenwriter Ted Tally, and former FBI agent John Douglas.

Night of the Living Dead will also be released in 4K with never-before-seen 16mm dailies included as a bonus feature(!).

These will be added in February of 2018 so make sure you save up some cash after the holidays!

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DIS Review – Not for the Faint of Heart!



Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon

Directed by Adrian Corona

I’ve made this claim many a time on this website before, and in the company of film friends as well: Bill Oberst Jr. is one of those actors that can literally be thrust into ANY role, and deliver a performance with so much harnessed electricity that you couldn’t believe that it was possible. I was the lucky recipient chosen to get a look at his latest project, titled DIS, and I think that I can honestly say – this is the stuff that nightmares are constructed of.

Directed by Adrian Corona, this 60-minute dive into the black depths of hell, and in actuality DIS is located between circles # 6 and 9 in Dante’s Divine Comedy, and trust me when I tell you – there’s not a shred of comedic relief in this demented presentation. Oberst Jr plays an ex-soldier named Ariel, and his seemingly harmless jaunt through the woods will become anything but that, and judging from the film’s opening scenes, you are meant to feel as uncomfortable about this watch as any you might have checked out in recent memory.

Perversion is the norm here, and lord help you if you’re caught where you shouldn’t be…my skin’s crawling just thinking about what I saw. Ariel’s travels are basically dialogue-free, but it only adds to the infinite levels of creepiness – you can tell he’s being stalked, and the distance between he and the horrors that await are closing in rather quickly.

Visually by itself, this hour-long chiller can sell tickets without any assistance – hollowed-out buildings and long sweeping shots of a silent forest give the movie that look of complete desolation. Sliced up into three acts, the film wastes no time in setting up the story of a killer needing fresh blood to appease his Mandrake garden – seriously guys, I can’t type as much flashy stuff as there needs to be in order to describe this innately disturbing production.

If you’re one of those types who tends to shy away from the graphic side of things, then I’d HIGHLY advise you to keep your TV tuned to the Hallmark Channel for some holiday entertainment, because this one registers high on the “I can’t believe someone thought of this” meter. So the quick recap is this: Oberst Jr in a standout performance, visual excellence, and an unshakable sense of debasement on a cellular level – keep the kiddies out of the living room with this one. Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended, and one that I’ll throw down as a top 5 for me in 2017.

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Director Corona should be lauded (or locked up – just kidding) for his work on this one – HIGHLY recommended!

User Rating 5 (2 votes)
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