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The Only Major Actor Still Alive From The Wicker Man

If you're looking for a rousing, bone-chilling horror film, there's no better option than 1973's "The Wicker Man." While the film frequently gets overshadowed by William Friedkin's demonic "The Exorcist," which was released the same year, "The Wicker Man" is still widely considered to be one of the greatest horror flicks ever made. Influenced by David Pinner's novel "Ritual," the Robin Hardy-directed film continues to be a major influence for contemporary horror filmmakers. It is such a key staple in the folklore horror genre that even director Ari Aster had to avoid taking cues from "The Wicker Man" when it came to helm his modern classic "Midsommar." 

"The Wicker Man" follows police officer Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) heading to the remote, creepy Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of the young Rowan (Geraldine Cowper). Howie, a deeply religious individual, is shocked by the island's pagan rituals and culture, which causes him to butt heads with several of Summerisle's prominent residents. The less that's said about the film is best, as "The Wicker Man" is jam-packed with strange moments that continue to haunt viewers.

With a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%, "The Wicker Man" is a must-watch for horror fans. The film's legacy continues to shine to this day, with the 2006 "Wicker Man" remake starring Nicolas Cage inspiring tons of memes. Released over five decades ago, "The Wicker Man" was filled with cinematic legends, including the late Christopher Lee and Woodward. Today, only one major star from "The Wicker Man" is alive, and it's none other than Britt Ekland. 

Britt Ekland is a cinematic legend

After a brief appearance in the Rod Serling-written 1964 TV flick "Carol for Another Christmas," Swedish-born Britt Ekland's career began picking up steam. One of her first major leading roles was in the John Cassavetes-starring crime film "Machine Gun McCain," which debuted in 1969. After a slew of other appearances, including the cult horror "The Cannibals," Ekland landed her "Wicker Man" gig. 

In the 1973 classic, Ekland plays the elusive, mysterious, and seductive Willow MacGregor, the daughter of landlord Alder MacGregor (Lindsay Kemp). Willow and Howie's complex relationship is at the heart of the film's sexual themes. In a candid interview with Starburst, Ekland explained that she only took the role because of the money, revealing that she wasn't necessarily attracted to the film's narratives. Despite that, she understands why the film is so revered, particularly because of its ending (which we won't spoil). "I think even if people come to the film for the first time and already know the ending, they like to see the build-up to it [...] The film just leaves you in this state of total disbelief, stunned with no sense of relief," she said. 

Ekland would later go on to star in the 007 film "The Man with the Golden Gun" as Bond girl Mary Goodnight. These days, Ekland keeps a low-profile. In 2020, she appeared in the reality series "The Real Marigold Hotel." Hopefully she can make an appearance in "The Wicker Man" TV series which Andy Serkis is currently developing