There’s a new rollercoaster hitting UK theme park Alton Towers this Spring. And it’s called ‘Wicker Man,’ the inspiration clearly coming from the 1973 movie of the same name. Which is one of the most disturbing films of all-time. And not to be confused with the disastrous Nic Cage remake from 2006.
It’s also a story that doesn’t obviously lend itself to the thrills and spills of a ride, being a slow-burning mystery around a god-fearing police office journeying to a small Scottish island in search of a missing child.
But the rollercoaster opens soon, with the official description as follows:
Wicker Man is a multisensory rite of passage guaranteed to get your heart pumping and senses tingling. Join the chosen ones on the world’s most immersive rollercoaster experience to date, unifying cutting edge special effects with classic wooden coaster technology for the first time.
But will Wicker Man truly capture the dark heart of this horror classic? To do so, it MUST include at least a few of the following features.
JUST BE WARNED THAT THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS LOTS OF WICKER MAN SPOILERS. SO ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!
1. Tiny Seaplanes
Sergeant Howie arrives on Summerisle in a tiny seaplane, so why not make the rollercoaster’s open cars out of tiny seaplanes? The craft fails to take off when he endeavours to leave the island late in proceedings, so the ride could feature a gag where the plane stops just as you think you are making your escape.
2. The Green Man Inn
One of the movie’s most memorably messed up moments comes when Howie enters local pub The Green Man Inn. So our sea plane must pass through such an establishment. Silence greets Howie’s arrival, with the big, burly, beardy patrons staring and glaring in intimidating fashion. A scary way to start the ride. Which gets even scarier when they pierce the silence by bursting into song…
3. Creepy Folks Songs
The Wicker Man is basically a musical, with folk songs, hymns and even nursery rhymes being performed throughout the movie. The pub scene is particularly odd, with the scary men singing about wanting to have sex with the landlord’s daughter as she rubs up against them. The ride should therefore be filled with these creepy tunes as it builds towards the grim finale in which the locals sing ‘Sumer is Icumen In’ while Howie belts out ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd.’
4. Disturbing Imagery
You know how Disney’s Splash Mountain features adorable scenes from the Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Bear and Br’er Fox ‘toons before you hit the log flume? Well, Wicker Man needs to be the opposite. The film is filled with disturbing visuals that should haunt your journey, from a naked woman crying over a tombstone and a child putting a frog in their mouth to the fingers of a severed hand being used as candles and a mother breastfeeding while holding an egg. Hares should also be everywhere, as the film features hare masks, hare drawings, hares made of chocolate, and finally a dead hare in a coffin. Hare-raising stuff.
5. The Maypole
Children sing an explicit song while dancing around the phallic symbol of the Maypole during the movie, so the rollercoaster should circle said pole for cheap thrills. The local ladies also jump through a fire within the confines of a Stonehenge-like construction, so the seaplanes could swoop in and out of said erection.
6. Animal Masks
The residents of Summerisle love wearing animal masks — everywhere you look there are fish-heads, sheep-heads, rabbit-heads, bird-heads, cat-heads, fox-heads, dog-heads, and of course hare-heads. So fill the ride with them. Though as the fateful end approaches, those on the rollercoaster should don Punch masks — representing the fool — as that’s what Howie wears just before realising that he has been fooled.
7. THAT Dance
The Wicker Man‘s most famous scene is coming up. But the second most famous scene also demands to be recreated. Though as with so many of these features, it might be tricky on a family ride. Howie is trying to sleep in his Green Man room, but the landlord’s daughter — played by Britt Ekland and a body double — has other ideas. Stripping off in the room next door, she keeps him awake by banging on the walls while singing about her stroke being “gentle as a feather.” The girl represents temptation, and if Howie had given in by giving up his virginity, he wouldn’t have faced…
8. The Wicker Man
If the Wicker Man ride gets this one right it should be terrifying. As come the end of the film Howie discovers there’s no missing girl, and it’s all been a conspiracy to lure him to the island so that he can be sacrificed to those who command the fruits of the earth. He’s led to a huge wicker figure and forced inside while it’s set on fire, the movie ending with Howie being burned alive. According to the Alton Towers website, they are really going for it, with the ride’s finale described thusly…
“The burning embers light the path as the train hurtles towards the six-storey-high flaming effigy. Speeding towards the Wicker Man, he spectacularly ignites into flames as the train bursts through his chest three times.”
Wicker Man opens this spring, so we’ll let you know nearer the time if any of these features make the cut.