It is a classic Scottish horror tale which has chilled and enthralled audiences for half a century.

The eerie and unsettling appeal of the Wicker Man endures five decades after it first appeared on the big screen, will a cult following now firmly established around it’s darkly mysterious tale.

Now fans are being given the chance to see the masterpiece thriller in a new light after a Scottish design company decided to translate their love for the film into new art they are giving away for free.

Visualisation artists at Glasgow-based studio Float have created digital film posters which they say updates the film’s imagery to how a more modern ‘horror’ aesthetic.

Released on December 6, 1973, the Wicker Man sees police officer Sergeant Neil Howie, played by Edward Woodward, travel to the isolated Scottish island of Summerisle in search of a missing girl.

Howie, a devout Christian, is drawn into a mystery involving ancient pagan religions, and becomes caught up in a deadly conspiracy.

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Float’s designs reflect changing tastes among horror fans and have re-imagined how the film could be publicised for a modern audience.

But they have tried to stay true to the original’s disturbing ambiance and sense of dislocation from normal rural life.

READ MORE: The Wicker Man and Local Hero locations celebrate filming milestones

Company founder Andy Pennington said: “When we heard the anniversary was coming up this year, we were quite excited. There are a lot of different people in the office who are fans of the movie.

“When the opportunity came up we all just thought ‘let’s jump on this’.”

Shot amid quiet rural locations in Dumfries & Galloway, the Wicker Man uses the Scottish scenery to build a menacing quality on-screen. 

The infamous fiery climatic scene was shot on the clifftops of Burrowhead, near Isle of Whithorn. Nearby St Ninian’s Cave also featured in the film, as well as Anwoth, Kirkcudbright, Logan Botanic Garden and the Ellangown Hotel bar in Creetown. 

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Mr Pennington added: “The first part is like a mystery film, but the last 15 minutes are sheer horror. When you look back 50 years to what horror films were like, it’s unique. It’s unsettling and disturbing. You don’t know what’s true and what isn’t.” 

“When we looked at what we could do, we decided to settle on film posters that re-imagined The Wicker Man in terms of a modern horror film.  

“We thought we would turn the question of ‘is it really a horror film’ on its head and re-imagine it as something horrific.” 

The artworks were created using the same visualisation techniques Float employs to bring renowned multi-billion dollar projects such as the Qiddiya ‘destination city’ project and the new Murabba in Saudi Arabia to life.

These included a combination of 3D visualisation, 2D matte painting, and use of AI software to capture the film's unique Scottish setting and highlight references to ritualism, fire, and the sun.

READ MORE: Director of The Wicker Man to make third film in series - with help from the public

Float’s artists used AI tool Midjourney to help design and create the human characters in the visuals and art direction for each shot, and Phoenix FD in combination with AI to produce the iconic burning effigy.

To capture the mood of the movie, The Float team immersed themselves in Pagan music such as bands Heilung and Danheim, as well as researching ritualistic visual references including animated art from the video game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, and the cinematography from modern cinema including 2017 British horror film The Ritual. 

Thankfully, no wandering no police officers were harmed in the making of the art.  

The team also drew up a tourist-style brochure of Summerisle, based on the locations revealed in the film.

Mr Pennington said: “If you watch the movie again, you realise it’s full of double-meanings. It feels happy-go-lucky in parts, but there’s a sinister meaning behind a lot of things. So the brochure is the same. If you know the film, you’ll recognise the places.  

"We wondered, if Summerisle was around today, what would a brochure look like?” 

The Herald:

Float's posters can be downloaded here

He added: “Coupled with movie poster tributes, we wanted to imagine how the fictional island of Summerisle might have presented itself to the outside world using a tourism brochure, which, for fans of the film at least, would suggest an ironic and more sinister agenda.

“By using modern visualisation techniques and inspiration from modern cinema, we have tried to put a contemporary twist on the move in tribute to its five decades at the forefront of Scottish and UK cinematic horror, and we hope fans of the film will enjoy the references and nods to the source material."