Robin Hardy dead: The Wicker Man director dies at 86 | EW.com

Movies

Robin Hardy, The Wicker Man director, dies at 86

(YouTube)

British film director Robin Hardy, best known for his 1973 directorial debut, horror movie The Wicker Man, has died, according to the BBC . He was 86. 

Written by Anthony Shaffer, The Wicker Man starred Edward Woodward as a devoutly Christian policeman named Neil Howie who investigates the disappearance of a young girl on a remote Scottish island populated by pagans and ruled by Christopher Lee’s Lord Summerisle.

Although not a box office hit, The Wicker Man has become a beloved, and influential, cult classic. Director Edgar Wright paid homage to Hardy’s film with his own 2007 movie Hot Fuzz, which, like The Wicker Man, concerned a conspiracy in a rural setting and featured Woodward in its cast. On Saturday, Wright acknowledged his debt to the late director’s film, writing on Twitter, “There would be no Hot Fuzz without it.”

RELATED: Stars We Lost in 2016

A critically-reviled remake of The Wicker Man was released in 2006, directed by Neil LaBute and starring Nicolas Cage. “I’ve been to some of LaBute’s theater stuff, very good indeed, and I admire Nicolas Cage too,” Hardy told EW in 2013. “So how they could have possibly thought what they were getting into was good, I cannot imagine. Absolute disaster.” In the same interview, Hardy gleefully recalled the controversy provoked when his Wicker Man was re-released in 1979 and played San Francisco’s Castro Theatre. “We had protesters outside, which one should always have,” he said. “[They were] pagans, with piercings through every orifice, complaining that we were giving paganism a bad name.” 

Hardy also directed 1986’s The Fantasist and 2011’s The Wicker Tree, a companion piece to The Wicker Man.

You can see a trailer for The Wicker Man, below.