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Moments in Cult: The Bees! My Eyes!!

The original Wicker Man left Nicolas Cage “disturbed for about two weeks.” Imagine what it must take to have Nicholas Cage disturbed. A man startled that during that fortnight’s window, he pitched the concept of re-imagining one of the most nuanced films about inter-faith struggle ever concocted. It’s like a bizarre mental exercise: what would you get if Sam Peckinpah took on Mr Bean? Or Lars Von Trier remade Love, Actually? (I’d rather like to see that).

Fortunately for us here in Cult Faction Towers, someone took Mr Cage seriously.

After failing to protect a little girl and her mum from a fatal car wreck, Cage’s highway patrolman, a simple-minded, drawling, trundling behemoth of a character spirals into a medicated torpor. Then he gets a postcard from ex-fiancée Willow Woodward, now living on the secluded island community of Summersisle (that extra ‘S’ stands for ‘superfluous’) and wants Edward to help locate missing daughter Rowan.

Summersisle is a female-dominated environment, designed as a sanctuary for oppressed womenfolk. Here, the matriarchs observe the Olde ways, and the few males are near-mute breed-mules. It’s like Love Island on a large scale. Summersisle’s chief export is honey, a figurative and literal headache for Edward, as he’s allergic to…

But what am I doing? Who cares about the plot? At a merciless 102 minutes, we watch Cage flail around this enclave, bewildered at every turn. There’s the ‘How did it get burned?’ scene, that moment where he decks a woman while costumed as a bear, and then, right before his inevitable fiery conclusion, there are the bees.

Ah yes! The bees!!

After smashing his legs, the psycho-hippy chicks cover our hero’s head with a veil and dump bees inside, prompting him to shriek, ‘What is that, what is it? Oh no, not the bees! Not the bees! My eyes, my eyes! Agh!’

Only Nicolas Cage can produce a scene where bee torture is funny.

Unbelievably, In the theatrical cut, the crowds didn’t get the now-legendary scene where Mr Cage has a veil put over his face and the women dump bees inside. The poor unfortunate souls! It’s like watching Rocky without Sylvester Stallone running up the steps.

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Stephen Pryde-Jarman is a Cult TV and Film journalist, award winning short story writer, playwright and screenwriter. A natural hoarder, second hand shopping fulfils his basic human need for hunter-gathering; but rummaging through a charity shop’s bric-a-brac shelf also brought him the inspiration for his novel Rubble Girl having seen a picture of a Blitz survivor sat amongst the rubble of her house with a cup and saucer. Rubble Girl has been described as " thought-provoking" and "fast paced ... with plenty of twists and turns." Amazon.

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