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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kenneth Anger Is Mad. Thank God.
Kenneth Wilbur Angelmyer is nuts. Crazy. Stone cold loco. And after watching his repertoire of films, you wouldn't want it any other way, believe me. I'm also slightly reticent of criticising Anger's work in any way, shape or form as he's a well-practiced Thelemite (as in Aleister Crowley) and may curse me. Luckily, there's no reason to. These movies are seminal, and an...
Published on 27 April 2009 by Brady Orme

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So... Kenneth Anger, eh?
I gotta say... No, I don't know? I'm not so sure about this whole area of film. Never really liked 'Un Chien Andalou'. Actually, not that this is really anything like that. Not the point. Some of the stuff included on this (very) expansive Blu-Ray set is pretty interesting, and I definitely enjoyed, and have or will re-watch(ed), some of the shorts. Anger deals with some...
Published on 15 Sep 2011 by jecomans

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect, nice to add to the collection, 10 Sep 2013
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Feel like you're watching a special set of films so well choreographed, film festival experience; eat your heart out!! Lovely
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anger Rising!, 7 Mar 2012
Barry Mac (Liverpool UK) - See all my reviews
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Kenneth Anger is where the worlds of sub-culture, counter-culture, surrealism, the Avant Garde, Aleister Crowley's Thelema and Anton LaVey's Satanism meet. Anger became interested in Crowley's Occult writings and philosophy of Thelema when in his teens and became a life-long friend of LaVey's - being involved in the founding of the Church of Satan. Notable for his scandalous, revelatory books on the private lives of Tinseltown Stars, "Hollywood Babylon" & "Hollywood Babylon II", his involvements with the Rolling Stones in the 1960's and Jimmy Page in the 1970's have become legendary. Born in 1927, the now Octogenarian Anger has made in excess of 40 films during his cinematic career - one which has seen his films being banned, stolen and/or destroyed. The Magick Lantern Cycle is the collective title given to 9 of his most influential, infamous, Magickally powerful and beautiful creations. They are vivid, wildly colourful, richly symbolic and completely dialogue-free films, with Anger often employing existing songs or classical pieces as soundtracks.

All of the films on this DVD are Artistic and Magickal masterpieces, and to cover each one in the way I would like would result in a novella-sized review. The full employment of Anger's creative, imaginative and Magick powers to pay homage to Aleister Crowley began properly with "Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome" in 1954, which is an elaborate, fully costumed Thelemic Ritual of many participants, played out to Janacek's "Glagolithic Mass". 10 years later Anger made "Scorpio Rising" - banned soon after release on obscenity grounds; later liberated by a Supreme Court ruling. "Scorpio" features a real-life biker gang whom Anger befriended, cut with images of Christ & his disciples (from a Sunday School film). In 1966 Anger started work on another homage to Crowley - his Magnum Opus: "Lucifer Rising". Much of the original film-footage of Anger's "Lucifer" was stolen by Bobby Beausoleil, whom Anger had chosen to play Lucifer in the film. Beausoleil took off in Anger's car with the stolen footage; the car broke down in the Death Valley area of California, almost right next to the Charles Manson Family Ranch. Beausoleil fell-in with the Family and later murdered a drug-dealer on Manson's orders, being later sentenced to life imprisonment. Out of the remaining "Lucifer" footage, Anger put together a work called "Invocation Of My Demon Brother" (1969), which is heralded by many as being his most Magickally potent, disturbing and prophetic creation. By this time, Anger had befriended the Rolling Stones, whose brief association with Crowleyan/Satanic things has often been linked to Anger's perceived influence. Many people similarly linked the death of Brian Jones and the Altamont Festival fiasco as having been incurred by Jagger & Richards not taking serious Occultism seriously. Anyways, Mick Jagger supplied the soundtrack for "Invocation": an eerie, monotonous, Mellotron drone. The film itself remains a darker kaleidoscopic vision than any of Anger's previous works, being simultaneously unnerving, beautiful, unsettling, seductive, and featuring a cameo role by Anton LaVey. Nightmare newsreel footage of Vietnam is cut/juxtaposed with scenes of Ritual Magick, footage of Hells Angels and the Pagan Funeral Ceremony of Anger's Black Cat. Many who have seen the film on a number of occasions are surprised to discern the presence of "new" images and symbols with each new viewing.

In the early 1970's Anger met & befriended Jimmy Page: not only the axe-man of Zep but an avid Crowley disciple and owner of an extensive archive of Crowley's rare books and Magickal paraphernalia - including Aleister's former house - Boleskine - on the banks of Loch Ness. In discussing the "Lucifer Rising" project, Page took up Anger's offer to put a soundtrack together for the film, somehow didn't come up with suitable material and kicked off an almighty row. The high-profile fall-out between the two Crowleyites culminated in Anger saying something about a "Kenneth Anger Curse", which the Magus intended to throw in Page's general direction. And the rest, as they say, is history...

Anger finally completed "Lucifer Rising" in 1981, complete with a soundtrack composed by Bobby Beausoleil from inside his Tracy Prison home, along with some other musicians/lifers calling themselves "The Freedom Orchestra". The finished film is an overtly Magickal, Symbolic and Ritual homage to the coming of the New Aeon of Horus (or Lucifer) as originally stipulated by Aleister Crowley. In fact, "Lucifer Rising" is a Ritual Invocation of the Forces of the New Aeon, entrancing and seducing the viewer to the point of actual participation.

DVD extras in this sumptuous, exemplary package include "Anger Me" - a feature length portrait of Anger, and the brilliant "The Man We Want To Hang", which is Anger's 2002 documentary on an exhibition of Crowley's paintings. At 85, Kenneth Anger is still making films, touring and lecturing. He is the last of the true, genuine Magicians.
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hell, 8 Aug 2010
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If you are or know someone who is a satanist, than this is the perfect gift.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Personal Value, 14 April 2010
I had the most amazing movie experience. There were some technical problems, perhaps because of my DVD player. No one understood the magic except me!
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5 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastisch aufgemachte Box!, 14 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Magick Lantern Cycle (DVD + Blu-Ray) (Blu-ray)
Die 3-Disc Box von BFI besticht durch ein ausführliches Booklet mit interessanten Hintergrundinformationen und genaue Angaben übetr die Darsteller. Auch die Restaurierung der einzelnen Kurzfilme wird jeweils detailiert dargelegt. Hinzu kommen noch Bonusfilme wie ein Kurzfilm mit Crowley-Bildern, die aus privaten Sammlungen (z.B. von Jimmy Page!) stammen, und ein längerer Film über und mit Anger selber.

Die eigentlichen Kurzfilme sind vom Bild und vom Ton - letzteres ist nicht immer eine Selbstverständlichkeit - sehr gut ins HD-Format transformiert worden. BFI macht hier eigentlich immer einen exzelennten Job! Schön auch, dass "Rabbit's Moon" sowohl in der 16min als auch in der 7min Fassungen angeboten werden.

Klare Kaufempfehlung!
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9 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vastly overrated movies, 2 Sep 2012
This review is from: Magick Lantern Cycle (DVD + Blu-Ray) (Blu-ray)
People will rave about any old thing. They really will. These short films are very bad. I can't say anything nice about them. How anyone can see anything of artistic value in these I can't understand.

What was I expecting from these avant-garde movies? I expected the stories to be weak, and that they would quickly descend into obscure images at the expense of any actual narrative. Without five years of black magick scholarship I knew they would be impenetrable. And I expected Anger to have a good visual sensibility. I really thought I was going to see an orgy of strong, out there images.

Instead all of them are silent movies (absolutely no synchronised sound from on set) with music and maybe a small number of sound effects dubbed on later. There probably isn't a single line of dialogue in these movies beyond a spoken word voiceover at the start of Fireworks.

The visuals are not good. He didn't have an eye for composition and the colours are usually very gaudy, almost like someone melted crayons over everything. I think his visual imagination is very comparable to Ken Russell, and I don't rate Russell's images at all.

Some of the movies are documentaries. He just turned up and filmed what was happening. To call them movies is odd as no narrative emerges from them. It really was a case of randomly shooting stuff and then cutting it together in no particular order.

If you plan to watch them I strongly recommend viewing them with the director's commentary. They are more entertaining that way, and you will understand what they were about as otherwise you might be more than a little stumped.

1947 Fireworks 15 mins.

A load of pointless cobblers. Minimal story and it's all very creaky and boring. It's a very gay film with a lot of homoerotic images.

Technically very badly made. The end beating is poorly filmed and edited. A lot of shots are out of focus and many are miss-framed (eyes have been cropped out of the shot).

1949 Puce Moment 6 mins.

There is no plot. A woman gets dressed and then takes her dogs for a walk. That is it. It is so deeply pointless, even more so than Fireworks.

The movie is soundtracked exclusively by a quite good up-tempo folk-rock song (the last music created by a man who then became a Buddhist monk). His voice reminded me of Mick Jagger. The film was made in 1949 but it reeks of the 60s somehow.

The focus is often soft and the footage looks like it's been ever so slightly speeded up.

1950 Rabbit's Moon 16 mins (1971) and 7 mins (1979)

A clown in a forest wants to touch the moon. Not a lot happens. The film is just really pointless and boring.

Competently filmed from a technical point of view. It was shot in 1950 but not completed. He then edited together two different versions many years later. The longer version from 1971 appears to be the definitive one, as the other version was only made as birthday gift for someone.

The 71 soundtrack is composed of 50s rock songs that reference the moon. The 79 version has a song from the 70s.

1953 Eaux d'Artifice 13 mins.

A film made up exclusively of shot after shot of fountains and water features in an Italian estate at night. Oh, and a short woman in a mock period dress walks through some of the shots. For 13 minutes. This is not cinema at its most exciting.

1954 Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome 38 mins.

A lot of symbolic stuff going on in someone's eccentrically decorated house.

Without the commentary track it's just a load of meaningless, ugly images. With the commentary track it's a series of vaguely meaningful, but still ugly images. There is no plot.

All it conjured up for me was the idea that a bunch of people turned up for an orgy. Only to find someone in the kitchen making bad Halloween costumes while someone in the den, with a movie camera, was making people pose for weird images.

1963 Scorpio Rising 29 mins.

A documentary were Anger filmed some leathered up bikers as they get ready to go out to a party, or work on their motorbikes in their garages. The silent film is soundtracked by pre-Beatles American rock music. Just such an inane, meaningless movie. Very boring.

1965 Kustom Kar Kommandos 3 mins.

A 3 minute documentary of a man cleaning a fancy, shiny custom built car. The "movie" was filmed on a soundstage with a pink background. Pointless is the only word I can come up with.

1969 Invocation of My Demon Brother 12 mins.

Some semi-documentary footage of San Francisco hippies hanging out in a creepy looking house. Intercut with some other random stuff such as Anger performing a religious ceremony and the burning of a dead cat.

Mick Jagger did the soundtrack. He plays some repetitive "music" on a moog. It was apparently done in one take as he watched the rough cut. You can tell he doesn't know how to use the instrument.

1981 Lucifer Rising 29 mins.

His magnum opus.

If you saw it without the commentary track you wouldn't have a clue what was going on. This movie really needs to be explained as otherwise it's just a bunch of random images. Ugly images at that.

With the commentary it turned into a comedy as I sniggered at the obscure cobblers he came up with. It was like he was going out his way to not bring his audience along with him as there can't be more than five people in the world who could fathom what those images represent without being told. A work of incredible obscurity. Such as Marianne Faithfull holding up a scarf with her blood on it from a real life failed suicide attempt. Who would know what that was about without the commentary track?

The film is terrible. I think it was deliberately designed so that he could laugh at his audience as they fail to understand his intellectual genius.

2002 The Man We Want to Hang 12 mins.

Close ups on Aleister Crowley's art as it hangs on walls. Not thrilling.

To sum up: it is balls. Large balls. "Avant-garde is French for crap," as John Lennon once said. Anger was an inept director with no natural feel for film.
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Magick Lantern Cycle  (DVD + Blu-Ray)
Magick Lantern Cycle (DVD + Blu-Ray) by Kenneth Anger (Blu-ray - 2011)
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