One of the great British horror films and a genuine cult classic, The Wicker Man: The Final Cut successfully blends folklore with post-60s psychedelia, as Edward Woodward’s police officer investigates the disappearance of a young girl on a remote island. However, the locals claim she never existed. As he probes deeper into village life, he suspects something darker to be at work.
Commissioned by the British Film Institute as part of their celebration of Gothic film, this event toured to The Dukes, Lancaster; Wem Town Hall; Cornerhouse, Manchester; Astley Cheetham Art Gallery, Stalybridge and soon to the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, California, USA (August 2014).
Audience members received a scratch card overlaid with 10 encapsulated odours, and were prompted at key scenes throughout the film to break the gel coating and inhale the associated aroma. The film contains plenty of opportunities for response, from whisky-sozzled pub patrons, fishy goings-on and the local chocolate shop… as for the infamous finale, those who have seen it can imagine!
Ushers were clad in handmade papier-mâché animal masks created by 76-year-old outsider artist Yevgeniya Kilupe of Latgale, Latvia, who started making masks of animals, forest creatures and fairytale characters to supplement her pension after retirement. The amateur talent was spotted by a representative of the art gallery Istaba after visiting one of the marketplaces where Yevgeniya was selling her masks, leading to a successful solo exhibition in Riga, 2010.
Additional illustration was provided by local illustrator Simon Misra for the scratch cards and limited edition screenprinted posters, awarded to best costumes and in response to a Edward Woodward-themed pop quiz. Tattoo artist Loren Fetterman of Hope Mill, Ancoats designed the pub signage for The Green Man Inn, which also doubled as a reversible, twist-and-turn number board to alert the audience as to what number to scratch, and when.
Scratch and Sniff Cinema presents… is an occasional series that I resurrect from time to time, having previously provided a scent-based score to accompany The Goonies (Cornerhouse 25th Birthday), The Company of Wolves (AND Festival, Grizedale Forest), My Beautiful Laundrette (HUB Festival, Salford) and Gregory’s Girl (Edinburgh Festival Fringe). It was great to receive so many enquiries as to what and when the next chapter might be, but we’ll have to wait and see… dependent upon opportunities and funding!
Commissioned by Film Hub North West Central, part of the BFI Film Audience Network.