Archive for kenneth anger

THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER: A Review in Four Parts

Posted in movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2013 by goregirl

Kustom Kar Kommandos and Invocation of My Demon Brother are the final two films left to review from The Films of Kenneth Anger: The Complete Magick Lantern Cycle. Kenneth Anger is truly a master with the visuals and every last film in the set is appealing in varying degrees. As I wrote in my introduction this surreal, violent, homoerotic, melodramatic, esoteric, gorgeous spectacle of a collection is nothing short of a masterpiece! Kenneth Anger is a visual poet, an innovator and a genuine original. I could not recommend this collection more highly; it is a solid gold treasure that I will cherish forever!

KUSTOM KAR KOMMANDOS (1965)

Kustom Kar Kommandos was intended to be a longer film but the final cut ended up being three minutes long. Custom cars were a popular hobby in California at the time. Anger met Sandy Trent at a car show who agreed to let the director immortalize his car on celluloid. Anger had Mr. Trent polish his car with a giant powder puff and used pink paper in the background. The pink paper hid the clutter of the garage and added a dreamy sort of feel to the production. Anger was going for the esthetics of an album cover which I think he achieves nicely. The Paris Sister’s Dream Lover compliments the vibe. Watch Kustom Kar Kommados

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INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER (1969)

Invocation of My Demon Brother was assembled from scraps left over from Anger’s first version of Lucifer Rising he made in San Francisco. This first production came to a halt after the script was stolen by Bobby Beausoleil. Invocation of My Demon Brother summed up Anger’s feelings about the Vietnam war and is a collection of images intended to invoke a spell and induce a drug-like experience. The film was shot in The Straight Theater and The Russian Embassy in San Francisco. Anger also works in war shots, a cat funeral and footage from a Rolling Stones concert. Mick Jagger improvised a soundtrack for Invocation of My Demon Brother on a Moog Synthesizer.

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Speed Hacker as the Wand Bearer. Speed Hacker is an albino Anger met at Haight Ashbury. Anger was fascinated by his eye spasms when he was exposed to bright light and included the shots in the film.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 00:08:34Anger cuts in war footage.

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The torso of Bobby Beausoleil made to look like a Hindu god of many arms.

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Countless trippy shots !

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Anton LaVey founder of The Church of Satan shows off his shrunken cat head collection.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 00:55:09Kenneth Anger as The Magick.

Screenshot from 2013-06-16 00:21:09The many eyes of Bobby Beausoleil.

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Solar Swastika projected onto the body of Bobby Beausoleil.

THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER: A Review in Four Parts

Posted in movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 16, 2013 by goregirl

Scorpio Rising and Lucifer Rising have nothing in common thematically other than both have the word “Rising” in their title. I paired these two up because they were my personal favourites of the collection.

SCORPIO RISING (1964)

Scorpio Rising was made while Kenneth Anger was staying in Brooklyn with his friend Marie Menken. Anger became acquainted with a group of motorcycle enthusiasts who met every Saturday at Coney Island’s Cyclone rollercoaster. The group allowed Anger to film their lives. Anger shoots footage in the men’s garages, workshops and bedrooms as well as a Halloween party and a bike race. The result is Scorpio Rising a documentary of sorts like only Anger could do. Anger comments that none of the men in the film were gay. The men did not want their significant others filmed which Anger said made the film appear “queerer” than it was.  Anger remarks on the film’s title in the commentary; Scorpio is the sign of the Zodiac that rules the sex organs and machinery. The two are connected so it seemed logical to title his film Scorpio Rising.

screenshot-from-2013-06-13-185455Anger added the stud work to one of the motorcyclist’s leather jackets to use for his credits.

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The motorcyclist Anger calls Scorpio carried a scorpion amulet for luck.

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Working on their handmade motorcycles was their passion. Anger calls it American Mechanical Folkart.

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A wind up motorcycle toy moves along the floor as Peggy March sings Wind Up Doll.

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This motorcyclist admires his lavender and white bike he calls The Grim Reaper. The motorcycle is his mistress.

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Vanity; sometimes men decorate themselves.

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This is Scorpio. Scorpio is a huge Marlon Brando and James Dean fan. The TV coincidently was playing The Wild One while Anger was filming which he worked into the footage.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 19:09:14Scorpio in transit to a Halloween party.

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Anger cuts in footage from a religious film called The Last Journey to Jerusalem. The film was delivered to him by accident and Anger kept it. The Lutheran Church tried to sue Anger over his use of their footage but lost due to fair use laws.

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This shot is an homage to Bob Mizer’s Physique Pictorial art magazine.

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Anger bought four kegs for the Halloween party.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 19:11:33Sex and machinery.

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A flag and checker set from Anger’s Nazi memorabilia collection. His flags were stolen during the shoot.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 19:16:12screenshot-from-2013-06-13-191804Anger juxtaposes pictures of Jesus Christ and Marlon Brando.

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Anger includes footage from a bike race. One of the motorcyclists died during this race; he had a tattoo that said Blessed Blessed Oblivion on his arm.

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Death smoking a youth cigarette on the cover of a 1938 copy of Look Magazine.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 19:25:56More of Anger’s stud work on a leather belt to end the film.

LUCIFER RISING (1972)

Kenneth Anger had a larger budget for Lucifer Rising than any of his previous films. The volcano photography at the beginning of the film was taken when Kenneth Anger joined a BBC team to capture footage of an erupting volcano near Iceland. Anger is fascinated with volcanoes and feels they tie in with the primal nature of creation theme of Lucifer. Lucifer Rising is all about Aleister Crowley and Thelema. Aleister Crowley wrote a poem called Hymn to Lucifer. Lucifer is the God of beauty and light and the literal translation of his name is I bring the light. Anger, a follower of Crowley’s Thelema is very proud of his library of Aleister Crowley books and features his collection in the film. I posted two tracks last week from Bobby Beausoleil’s score for Lucifer Rising. Bobby Beausoleil composed and recorded the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising while serving a life sentence in prison for his association with Charles Manson that resulted in the murder of Gary Hinman. Lucifer Rising is Anger’s highly visual, mesmerizing ode to Crowley, Thelema and the vastness and power of nature.

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The flaming titles were created by visual/special effects artist Wally Veevers.

screenshot-from-2013-06-13-204714Anger accompanied the BBC to film a volcano erupting near Iceland.

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Actress Myriam Gibril as Isis the Magician. Anger comments on Ms. Gibril’s enthusiasm to bare her breasts and designed a costume that would show them off.

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Director Donald Cammell (Performance, White of the Eye, Demon Seed) as Osiris Lord of Death.

screenshot-from-2013-06-13-205037screenshot-from-2013-06-13-205131Screenshot from 2013-06-13 20:52:02Canadian motorcyclist Haydn Couts as “The Adept”. Waking from slumber, sitting on an Egyptian throne and washing off blood in a very cool bathroom. Part of Lucifer Rising was filmed in the apartment of art dealer Robert Fraser where Anger was staying while Fraser was in India.

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Marianne Faithfull as Lilith. Shades of grey adorn Lilith representing night and fog. The female demon of discontent is a powerful but unhappy creature.

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Six priests (six is a sacred number according to Crowley) climbing ancient stone steps in the Black Forest at night are juxtaposed with Lilith climbing the same steps in the daylight. The sacred solar temple in the film was rediscovered by the Nazis who used it to initiate the Hitler Youth.

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The sacred solar temple altar.

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Anger recreated Crowley’s temple pictured above is the magic circle.

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Lucifer wears a jacket with his name on it. Lesley Huggins who dons the jacket was an authentic demon according to Anger.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:01:35Musician Jimmy Page holding The Stele of Revealing as he observes a photo of Aleister Crowley.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:02:35Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:03:48The makeup, costumes and sets are magnificent! Anger’s use of bold colors was especially appealing.

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Lucifer Mark VI Cake.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:06:12This scarf was used by Anger to wrap Marianne Faithfull’s wrists after a suicide attempt.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:08:08A psychedelic shot of Osiris.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:08:21Osiris holding “the little servants” which he drops into the Nile one by one.

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Anger uses footage from Dave Butler’s 1930 film Just Imagine. Anger thought Lesley Huggins looked like the film’s “Idol on Mars”.

Screenshot from 2013-06-13 21:09:45Osiris and Isis.

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More visual effects from Wally Veevers who created the UFOs in Lucifer Rising.

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The Colossi of Nimrud in Upper Egypt. Anger burned the script of Lucifer Rising in the background. This static image lingers for some time while his script burns away.

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Artwork done by Page Wood.

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: Bobby Beausoleil – Lucifer Rising Pt.2

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2013 by goregirl

More music and images from Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising. Music by Bobby Beausoleil – Lucifer Rising Pt.2. More from The Kenneth Anger Collection next week!

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: Bobby Beausoleil – Lucifer Rising

Posted in movies with tags , , , , on June 11, 2013 by goregirl

Lucifer Rising is the first film on Volume Two of The Films of Kenneth Anger. It features director Donald Cammell (Performance, Demon Seed) and musicians Marianne Faithfull, Jimmy Page, Chris Jagger and Bobby Beausoleil. Beausoleil composed and recorded the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising while serving a life sentence in prison. Beausoleil was an associate of Charles Manson and was found guilty of the murder of Gary Hinman. Lucifer Rising along with Scorpio Rising will be the next two films reviewed from the collection.

Music and images from Kenneth Anger’s 1972 film Lucifer Rising. Music by Bobby Beausoleil.

THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER: A Review in Four Parts

Posted in movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2013 by goregirl

I specifically paired up Rabbit’s Moon and Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome because they were my two favourite films from the first volume of The Films of Kenneth Anger. All of Anger’s films are visually enticing but I think the imagery in these two is particularly imaginative.

RABBIT’S MOON (1950/1979)

Rabbit’s Moon was filmed in Les Films du Panthéon in 1950 but was not completed until 1970 after Anger retrieved the footage from the Cinémathèque Française. A sixteen minute version of the film was released in 1971 and featured a soundtrack that included The Capris, Mary Wells, The Dells, The Flamingos and The El Dorados. There was a second shorter version released in 1979 that looped A Raincoat’s It Came In The Night. For your viewing pleasure I have included the 1979 version with A Raincoat’s awesome song that will not leave my head!

RABBIT’S MOON a film by Anger

Anger was inspired by a Japanese fairytale. What appears to us in North America as a man’s face looks more like the silhouette of a rabbit from the Japanese perspective. They have built an elaborate fairytale around the rabbit who lives in the moon; when the moon is full children leave rice cakes out for the critter. Anger incorporates into the story the well-known French characters Pierrot, Harlequin and Columbine.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:07:25Anger was given four weeks to work in Les Films du Panthéon. In that time he had to write the story, build the sets, make the costumes and find the right performers. The films actors Andre Soubeyran, Claude Revenant and Nadine Valence came from the Marcel Marceau School of Mime. All the leaves scattered about the set were hand cut of crystal paper.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:07:46The Rabbit.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:08:12The Moon. Pierrot longs for the moon.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:11:01The two child characters were played by cameraman Oleg Tourjansky’s children.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:29:32Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:11:58Harlequin the mischief-maker.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:13:11The eye image corresponded with the song Anger chose; I Only Have Eyes for You by The Flamingos. Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:31:00Pierrot the sad lover instantly falls for Columbine and offers her the moon.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:17:53Pierrot follows a rabbit into another realm. The shredded silver used in the other realm was inspired by Josef von Sternberg’s The Scarlet Empress.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 15:18:20The blue filter gives the film a dreamy and magical appearance and repeats and overlaps are used to amp up the other-worldliness. Kenneth Anger’s Rabbit’s Moon is an exquisite fairytale. I prefer the original sixteen minute version but either version is a resplendent amazing experience.

INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME (1954)

I mentioned in part one of this feature that Kenneth Anger follows Aleister Crowley’s religion/philosophy Thelema. Anger’s 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome was the first I watched from the set that included a healthy dose of Aleister Crowley inspired images. Cabalistic symbols are shown throughout and a picture of Crowley smoking a pipe is flashed. Anger mentioned Crowley several times in the commentary. A variety of historical, mythological, religious and fictional characters are inaugurated into the Pleasure Dome. Anger includes the character Cesare from The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Cesare is played by director Curtis Harrington whose films Night Tide and Queen of Blood made my top ten lists for 1961 and 1966 respectively. The inspiration for the film came after Anger attended a ‘Come as Your Madness’ themed Halloween party. Author Anaïs Nin wore a birdcage on her head to the party which her character Astarte wears in the film. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome‘s name is from the poem Kubla Khan written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome‘s soundtrack is a complete performance of Czech composer Leos Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is an epic thirty-eight minutes; the costumes, the colors, the creation of another world superbly surreal, mysterious and wondrous! A masterpiece!

 

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:31:53Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:32:10Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome’s titles were painted by Paul Mathison who plays Pan in the film.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:33:42Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome was filmed in the home of Samson De Brier who also plays several roles in the film; Lord Shiva, Osiris, Nero and The Great Beast.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:34:30Samson De Brier as The Great Beast.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:35:09Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:36:28Marjorie Cameron as The Scarlet Woman.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:38:30Painter Renate Druks as Lilith; The Female Demon of Discontent.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:41:02Samson De Brier as Emperor Nero

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:59:10Katy Kadell as Isis.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:42:40Artist Paul Mathison as Pan.

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Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:45:36Author Anaïs Nin as Astarte; Goddess of the Moon.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:46:38 Samson De Brier as Lord Shiva.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:46:58Joan Whitney as Aphrodite.

Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:55:02Kenneth Anger as Hecate.

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Screenshot from 2013-06-09 18:58:03 The pace becomes psychotic in the film’s finale. A continually changing barrage of overlapping images made for a trippy finale. Anger includes snippets from his earlier film Puce Moment as well as footage from the silent film L’Inferno.

Inaguration of the Pleasure Dome‘s visuals are truly inspired. It  is a hypnotic, beautiful and unique film and in my opinion is one of the best in the collection.