Viddy Well Recommends: Lucifer Rising
Article by Aaron Haughton
This short experimental film comes from the image-rich mind of Kenneth Anger and is a visual spectacle of the highest order. It chronicles the invocation of Lucifer, or the light-bearer, by the Egyptian god Isis and is chock full of visual poetry and accompanied by a sick soundtrack. Inspired by the works of Aleister Crowley and his founded theology, Thelma, it is, according to Anger, "the first really big film about black magic or white magic or whatever you want to call it."
Anger utilizes the power of montage to create evocative meaning through the techniques of Eisenstein. He leans on theatrics and juxtaposition rather than words, as is his tradition, to command the picture, which is cinema to the highest degree. From the moment the film begins, it's a visual assault of exciting and memorable images that will stain your psyche, which is exactly Anger's intent. “I have always considered movies evil; the day that cinema was invented was a black day for mankind. My reason for filming has nothing to do with "cinema" at all; it's a transparent excuse for capturing people, so I consider myself as working evil in an evil medium." Anger said in an interview.
The film took a number of years to complete and even has taken on various forms and edits over the years. Initially, the soundtrack was to be completed by Led Zeppelin guitarist, Jimmy Page, but he and Anger suffered from creative differences, stemming predominantly from Page's abuse of heroin and the fact that he only handed in half a score, Anger told The Guardian. So, Anger hired Bobby Beausoleil, who had been arrested and sentenced to death for his hand in the Manson murders. To be fair, Anger was working with Beausoleil prior to his arrest and involvement with Charles Manson, but the score was actually recorded in prison by Beausoleil and 12 other murderous musicians, which Anger dubbed the "all-killer orchestra".
The great news about this film is that it (along with Anger's other short films) are available on YouTube. So, there's no excuse to not summon the light-bringer today. Or any day. The planets are aligned, the time is now.
Rating: 5 flying saucers out of 5.
What do you think? Is this not the coolest, most bizarre thing you've ever seen? We want to know. Share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below, and, as always, remember to viddy well!