Then again, given the film's history since it was first released in 1973, the British horror, set in Scotland, has hardly wanted for tribulation. From being mauled in the cutting room, strangled on first release, and savaged by its first critics, if it can happen to a movie it has happened to The Wicker Man. Yet here it is, back in cinemas this autumn.
"Time has been defied, hasn't it?" says Robin Hardy with some satisfaction.
Whether you share his joy depends on whether one agrees with Empire magazine that the picture is "The best British horror film ever made", or is no more than a curiosity of the time that has grown into a cult.
Regardless - and the consensus now is that it is more triumph than turkey - the little film shot in Scotland for buttons has became an international phenomenon.
Few things about The Wicker Man turned out to be straightforward, but the story is one of them. God-fearing Sergeant Howie (played by Edward Woodward), arrives at a Scottish island in search of a missing girl. Encountering stonewalling and wall-to-wall weirdness wherever he ventures, Howie comes to realise the true horror of the island's secret.
Journalist Allan Brown gives an amusing account of the film's genesis and history in his book, Inside The Wicker Man: How Not to Make a Cult Classic (Polygon). The impression left is it was a miracle the film ever saw the light of day, given how rushed it was in the making and bodged in its distribution.
Hardy says the picture was unlike any film being made at the time. Written by Anthony Shaffer, the creator of Sleuth, it was designed to be a puzzle.
"We wanted to make a film which was very much a game in which you had all the clues in plain sight. Every step of the way you were really giving the audience clues as to what was going on but you moved fast enough to leave them enthused and one hopes slightly enchanted by everything being rather beautiful, the music, fun, jokes and so on, that nothing really terrible could really happen there."
In The Wicker Man: The Final cut, billed as "the first ever full restoration", audiences receive a proper introduction to Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee) and the island's outwardly enchanting nature. Filmed at various locations across Dumfries and Galloway and in Plockton, Hardy says the Scottish setting was essential to the film's tone.
"You could have set it, with changes to the script, in Ireland. However, at that point there was a stronger vein of puritanism still in Scotland, in the Church of Scotland and so on. That made [Howie's] background more believable."
Hardy remains evangelical about the picture, as is Lee, who describes it as "The best film I've ever done." The two even took it on a "prayer breakfast" tour of the US Bible Belt, where it was praised by churchmen for its focus on resurrection. "They didn't mind about the nudity. The Britt Ekland thing is extremely innocent in its way."
Ah, the Britt Ekland thing. Ms Ekland, who plays the pub landlord's daughter, Willow, does indeed appear in the film, but her Swedish voice was dubbed by a Scot (Annie Ross), and in the nude dancing scene a body double was used. Ms Ekland did not want her buttocks to be seen, leading to one of the film's more comical moments as it is becomes only too obvious that a stand-in has been used. Hardy says he has no regrets about the voice "because I think it was well-dubbed".
Ekland, using her own voice, caused something of a press stushie at the time by calling the town of Newton Stewart "the most dismal place in creation". What Hardy remembers most is the time spent in Plockton.
"The most co-operative people we had were in Plockton, the old sailors. They were wonderful but they were all Wee Frees with a three day Sabbath. Saturday is a Sabbath because it is too near to Sunday and so is Monday. Three days out of the seven they would hardly speak to you but on the other days they would be wonderful, co-operative and smiling and have a drink with you."
That's The Wicker Man. If ever a film could baffle for Britain it is this one. Ask Hardy if it has been a curse or a blessing and he seems amazed it could be considered the former. "It was a great blessing to have made it."
Where he does agree a curse was at work was in the slaughtered American remake of 2006 with Nicolas Cage as the policeman.
"Tony Schaffer was dead by the time that was made and I think he'd cursed it," says Hardy. "All those people involved in it were very talented, doing the worst work they ever did in their lives."
With the new restored version coming out, there is no need to accept inferior substitutes. For a film in the midst of a mid-life crisis, The Wicker Man is in fine fettle.
Opens in Scotland, October 4, with a special screening at Glasgow Film Theatre on October 25, introduced by Greg Hemphill. Filmhouse, Edinburgh, October 21-26.