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Beast = mc2,
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This review is from: Chemical Wedding [DVD]  (DVD)
!!!WARNING. MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!!!
When shy, stammering Classics teacher Oliver Haddo(Simon Callow) enters a virtual reality programme at Cambridge University in order to delve into the dark secrets of the occult, programmed into the computer by fellow obsessive Victor Nuberg(Jud Charlton), little does he know that there is a real beast in the machine. The Great Beast in fact, as the spirit of Aleister Crowley is hovering on another astral plane, awaiting the chance to be reincarnated in human form in order to fulfil a devilish prophecy.....
Imagine a cross between Inspector Morse and The Devils and you might start to imagine the feel of this highly enjoyable science fiction/horror hybrid. After a slightly uncertain start, a prologue set in 1947 as Aleister Crowley's life seemingly comes to an end, it soon settles down and transforms into a really ripping yarn set in the present day. It is quite staggering in places, but it is to the director and the screenwriters credit that towards the end, 'Chemical Wedding' actually manages to achieve a real sense of wonder.
Simon Callow is always going to be an acquired taste, but I thought he was perfect in the Jekyll and Hyde roles of Haddo and Crowley. Of the supporting cast, I greatly enjoyed Jud Charlton as occult obsessive and Born Again Crowley acolyte Victor Nuberg, and Paul McDowell delivers a nicely understated turn as Symonds, an old associate of Crowley's. It is in fact the newly free Crowley's inability to resist a boast or two that turns the character of Symonds into a pivotal role.
The climatic scenes are worthy of Hammer at its finest as Crowley attempts to perform an ancient ritual of rebirth. This is merged sucessfully with the age of technology, as computer programmer Joshua Mathers attempts to battle the beast using his own program.
I loved every minute of this, and I hope you will too. Just go into this film with an open and broad mind and enjoy. There are extras galore on this dvd release, the highlight being a highly entertaining 'making of' feaurette. 5 out of 5.