From the moment Sergeant Howie (Edward Woodward) arrives on SummerIsle, things seem odd. He arrives after receiving an anonymous letter from someone on the island asking him to investigate the disappearance of a local girl. He is told different stories by the locals and cannot seem to get a straight answer from anyone. The close he seems to uncovering what we believe to be the truth, the stranger things become.
It's truly an intelligent film that is based closely on the conflict of religion. The inhabitants of SunnerIsle are a pagan society. They worship the old gods of the sun and the moon. The fact that they openly practice and encourage their religion deeply bothers the Christian Sergeant Howie. He believes the focus on phallic symbols, reproduction and resurrection are blasphemous and should be stopped. As he furthers his investigation, it is his assumption that the little girl has been murdered for the town's religious beliefs, from this point on it becomes hard to determine whether or not he is pursuing the law or the beliefs of his religion. He constantly express his disgust at their beliefs and is tempted by the siren-like daughter of the innkeeper.
Due to its inner conflict theme plot and story driven fear, it remains an effective film today. Oftentimes, as films age, they become less effective because of the dated look of the effects and settings. While Lord SummerIsle's (Christopher Lee) hairdo seems dated, the rest of the film seems appropriate for the setting of the ancient island. The conflict of religion is still a relevant topic today, one that most will have an opinion and that is partly what makes the film so effective. At what part should a set of beliefs come under question of another set of laws?
The Video: It is quite good considering the age and the source, but is still lacking by recent standards. The picture is good, but is noticeably dull and blurred at times. The added footage in this edition is pulled from other sources than the negative and therefore sticks out when presented. It adds a little to the film and is a pleasant addition.
The Audio: It has been remastered in 5.1 but is hardly noticeable. There are little to no rear or subwoofer effects, but the vocals are clear and easily understandable. The frequent music that accompanies the film sounds good but again stays fairly in the middle of the spectrum.
The Extras: On the first disc, the edited cut of the film, there are two documentaries, trailers and radio spots. The documentaries are informative and cover all of the filmmaking process. The other is an interview with Christopher Lee that is interesting merely based on the fact that it is British horror legend Lee. The original theatrical trailer and radio spots are also tacked on as well.
Overall: For the inexpensive price that you can find this at Best Buy ($24.99) I would definitely recommend picking this title up. The two-disc set comes in a wooden box with the artwork seemingly burned on the front. It's a really nice looking set and worth the price.