By Alexander Lawrie
SCOTTISH movie The Wicker Man has been voted one of Britain’s top ten horror films of all time.
The classic cult movie is set on the island of Summerisle, and tells the story of a Christian police officer in search of a missing young girl.
The residents of the island turn out to be Pagan worshippers who conduct human sacrifices.
Highly regarded by critics, the film has been described as the “Citizen Kane of Horror Movies”, and in 2004 it was voted the sixth best British film of all time by the magazine Total Film.
The film has now claimed the number nine position as the scariest film of all time as voted by the customers of record store HMV.
Topping the horror list is the 1973 classic The Exorcist, with Jack Nicholson’s The Shining coming in at number two.
Ridley Scott’s Alien – the first installment of the deep space trilogy – makes up the top three.
The Exorcist, featuring signature performances by Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn and Max von Sydow, has emerged as a landmark in modern cinema.
The terrifying movie received more votes than any other in the HMV survey, with over 6000 customers responding to the online poll.
Jonny Scurfield, HMV Buyer, said: “Over the last few years we’ve seen a significant upsurge of interest in this genre – probably more than for any other movie category, with younger customers in their late teens and early twenties leading the way.
“It’s a phenomenon we wanted to assess properly by asking our customers for their top film choices, and it s evident that Horror is now a legitimate film genre, a category that can embrace everything from the psycho terror of Saw and The Shining, to the chilling silence of Nosferatu .
“In the past it s likely we would have seen many of the romantic horror films – the Dracula’s, Frankenstein’s and Hammer Horror’s – figuring strongly on the list, but with the advent of DVD a decade ago there s been a greater interest in more contemporary types of horror, such as Psycho, Terror and Slash movies directed by the likes of Eli Roth.”
The oldest film in the Top 50 is the enduring 1922 classic Nosferatu, while the most recent titles are Masayuki Ochiai’s Shutter, Frank Darabont’s The Mist and Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Orphanage, all of which were released this year.