IT is one of Britain’s most iconic horror films, which charted the chilling events after a Scottish police officer travels to a remote Hebridean island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl and uncovered sinister pagan rituals.
Now fans of The Wicker Man are being offered the chance to appear in a follow-up after its director announced plans for a crowd-funding campaign to get his new Norse mythology thriller up and running.
The original - which starred Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland and the late Christopher Lee - has a cult following, despite being almost ignored on its original release more than four decades ago.
Fans continue to flock to the numerous locations used in Dumfries and Galloway, which even boasts a music festival named after the film and the burning of a wicker figure inspired by its dramatic finale.
Director Robin Hardy says his sequel, The Wrath of the Gods, will be partly inspired by Shetland’s annual Viking celebration Up Helly Aa and the 19th century Wagner opera Twilight of the Gods.
As well as being able to appear in the final film, fans also have the chance to become an executive producer, take in a set visit, or enjoy a private dinner with the film-maker after the film’s UK or US premiere.
The cast of The Wrath of the Gods includes Icelandic actress, singer and model Halla Williams, who presents her country’s version of The X Factor.
Due to be filmed on location in Shetland, the Highlands and Morayshire, as well as Iceland, The Wrath of the Gods follows the events which unfold after a Californian company decides to build a theme park inspired by the Norse Sagas.
The father and son team behind the project are said to be “completely unprepared” to deal with the descendants of the Vikings, who still firmly believe in the supernatural.
Hardy - who has also directed one sequel to the original 1973 classic, The Wicker Tree, which was released in 2011 - is hoping to raise at least £140,000 to get the new instalment up and running by the autumn of this year.
Hardy, who has launched a crowd-funding appeal on the Indiegogo site in order, is appealing for fans to donate between $10 and $16,000 dollars for various benefits.
And he revealed that he was hoping the lavish sets and a Viking ship he is planning for the film could end up being redeployed in a permanent Wicker Man-inspired theme park in Scotland.
The Wicker Man, which featured Lee as the enigmatic ring-leader of a pagan cult, was turned down for a cinema release and had to be dramatically cut so it could be shows as an accompanying feature to the psychological drama Don’t Look Now.
He has described the new film as “a tale of Gods frustrated and humans finding love in unlikely places.”
Hardy, who is now 85, said: “I’ve had the idea of doing a trilogy for a long time. The thing I’ve always been interested in is the genre that I think we created with The Wicker Man.
“That’s what I’ve got real pride in. We had a real uphill fight to get it recognised for what it was.
“The idea of the new film is that a company, which could be Disney or Universal, wants to come in and open a theme park about the Norse Sagas.
“The interesting thing is that although there have been so many films based on mythology and fairytales, no-one has ever actually used the Norse Sagas for a film before, even though it is full of gods, goddesses, giants and elves and so on.
“Shetland is one of the locations we are using, but I wouldn’t say it is set there. I will be using other locations. The thing about The Wicker Man is that it not set anywhere in particular, it will be exactly the same with this film.”