r Wicked Things Horror Blog: Human Sacrifice in Cinema & Literature

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Human Sacrifice in Cinema & Literature

Many derivatives of "The Lottery" have been written and portrayed in cinema.  Shirley Jackson's original story was made into a film.  In a small town of about 300 residents, the locals are excited and nervous on June 27. Children gather stones as adults convene for their yearly event, that in the local tradition is practiced to ensure a good harvest.  The head of each family draws a slip of paper from a black box; Bill Hutchinson gets the one slip with a black spot, meaning that his family has been chosen. In the next round, each Hutchinson family member draws a slip, and Bill's wife Tessie gets the marked slip. You can watch the film adaptation on YouTube here.

The Lottery was also done in 1996 and starred Keri Russell.  You can watch the film on YouTube here.  
There was a film made that was very reminiscent of Jackson's short story and the subsequent film adaptation in 2006, entitled Population 436.  A couple notables in this film were Jeremy Sisto and Fred Durst.  Steve Kady (Jeremy Sisto), a US Census Bureau representative is sent to a remote and tiny town, Rockwell Falls to interview residents for the census.

On the way to Rockwell Falls he is distracted by a woman falling off a horse and his vehicle hits a pothole and his tires pop.  He is assisted by Deputy Bobby Caine (Fred Durst), the Sheriff's Deputy, who drives him into Rockwell Falls and helps Steve find boarding.  During his stay, Kady notices the oddness of the town and the people within. Steve's research reveals that the town's population has remained at exactly 436 for over 100 years.

After locating odd texts on biblical numerology, Kady comes to the realization that the town residents have assigned a mystical significance to the number 436 and are willing to go to bizarre and extreme lengths to keep the population at exactly that number.

The Wicker Man falls in line with the odd small, remote town feel, where the "guest of honor" arrives and is treated well and then the horror ensues.  Its just done differently and has a great many elements that deepen the story and make it much more of a mystery.

 The Wicker Man (1973) stars Christopher Lee and Ingrid Pitt.  Inspired by the basic scenario of David Pinner's 1967 novel Ritual, the story centers on the visit of Police Sergeant Neil Howie to the isolated island of Summerisle, in search of a missing girl the locals claim never existed. Howie, a devout Christian, is appalled to find that the inhabitants of the island practice a form of Celtic paganism.

The Wicker Man was remade and adapted a little differently in 2006 and starred Nick Cage as well as Ellen Burstyn, Leelee Sobieski, Frances Conroy, Aaron Eckhart, and James Franco.

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