Home Entertainment Kenneth Anger: Tinseltown’s outrageous magus of occult desire | Peter Bradshaw

Kenneth Anger: Tinseltown’s outrageous magus of occult desire | Peter Bradshaw

by admin
Kenneth Anger: Tinseltown’s outrageous magus of occult desire | Peter Bradshaw

Okayenneth Anger was the darkish and sensible magus of Hollywood lore; a reclusive determine who had in his personal lifetime assumed the standing of fable or pop-culture hearsay. He was nearly the Aleister Crowley of film legend. He was the grasp of underground cinema and creator of avant-gardist brief movies treasured by connoisseurs as equal in significance to these of Maya Deren and Jonas Mekas.

However unusually for a film-maker, his masterpiece was within the medium of the written phrase: his outrageous, scabrous and scurrilous supposed historical past of Tinseltown scandals: Hollywood Babylon, first revealed in French in 1959 as Hollywood Babylone, banned for years and solely absolutely accessible in English in 1975. The e-book was nearly radioactive in its sheer lack of respectability: a livre maudit to go together with the movies maudits. Anger’s genius was to current his delirious work, with all its horrendous squalor and grainy black-and-white tabloid-style pictures, and whose content material he later claimed to have intuited via telepathy, as a nonfictional historical past of scandals about legendary stars, the kind of factor withheld by the Hollywood PR machine which everybody knew had lengthy been ruthlessly suppressing scandal and creating bowdlerised biographical accounts of actors and actresses rolling off the star machine manufacturing line.

With a straight face, Anger offered what was successfully a satanic model of a theologian’s Lives of the Saints: all of the horribly juicy gossip about Charlie Chaplin, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Astor, Frances Farmer, Marilyn Monroe and plenty of extra, with all of the abortions, drug addictions and sexual indulgences. This e-book was the muse stone of the gossip business, a subversive, black-comic slapstick sketch in Anger’s very personal theatre of cruelty, taking intention on the solemn approach the film business demanded its viewers consider in that piety of supposed household values which had been imposed on the enterprise after the Hays Code was brought in within the wake of the Roscoe Arbuckle scandal.

Kenneth Anger during Filming of Lucifer Rising with Marianne Faithfull and other actors in London in 1971.
Occult pleasures and needs … Kenneth Anger throughout Filming of Lucifer Rising with Marianne Faithfull and different actors in London in 1971. {Photograph}: Alain Le Garsmeur/Alamy

Truly, Anger’s e-book ought to be seen as an excellent satirical fiction, a séance of horror, communing with the spirits of unhappiness and extra floating unacknowledged round Los Angeles. Alternatively it’s a form of reference e-book slash pulp novel which does in reality have one thing to say concerning the toll being taken on the extraordinary human beings chewed up and spat out by Hollywood. Hollywood Babylon was the nightmare behind the Hollywood dream – and later bestselling Hollywood memoirs comparable to David Niven’s The Moon’s a Balloon indicated that Anger’s anthology of hearsay was not completely indifferent from actuality.

Anger’s movies addressed the identical occult pleasures and needs. The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954) is disturbing, erotic and ritualistic, freely impressed by Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. Scorpio Rising (1963) was a homosexual leather-based biker-fetish fever dream. His countercultural freakout Lucifer Rising (1972) had a Crowleyesque theme, and the involvement of Bobby Beausoleil – at the moment serving a life sentence because of his membership of the Manson household – added to its notoriety. An earlier movie, Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), a weird imaginative and prescient of dope-smoking funeral attenders, starred Mick Jagger, who performed the music. Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965) had featured the tune Dream Lover underneath pictures of good-looking younger males erotically sharpening a sizzling rod. These have been photographs that impressed David Lynch and JG Ballard, and a thousand covertly homoerotic TV adverts for blue denims.

Anger was the id within the American pop cultural thoughts: the Antonin Artaud of the underground cinema.

Source link

You may also like

Leave a Comment