“The montage of hermetic symbols becomes first dreamlike, then menacing; centuries of mystical thought are distilled into a series of voyeuristic fantasies, a kinky psychodrama backed by the carnival strains of a maleficent calliope. Anger intended Lucifer Rising to stand as a form of ritual marking the death of the old religions like Judaism and Christianity, and the ascension of the more nihilistic age of Lucifer.”–Mikita Brottman in “Moonchild: The Films of Kenneth Anger”
DIRECTED BY: Kenneth Anger
PLOT: Lava erupts and the goddess Isis awakens, calling to her husband Osiris. In a room far away a man wakes up, sits on a throne in his apartment and somehow spears a woman in a forest far away, then climbs into a bathtub to wash off the blood. Later, the moon awakens the goddess Lilith, a magick ritual summons Lucifer, and flying saucers appear over Luxor, Egypt.
- Anger originally shot a film called Lucifer Rising (A Love Vision) in 1966, which starred Bobby Beausoleil as Lucifer. Anger claimed that Beausoleil stole most of the completed footage and hid it; the star contended that Anger merely ran out of money to complete the movie. Anger then took out an obituary-style ad in The Village Voice announcing his retirement from filmmaking. Whatever the case, Anger incorporated some of the surviving footage from the original Lucifer into Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969).
- Anger began working on the project again in 1970 and completed the first cut of Lucifer Rising in 1973, with a score by Jimmy Page. After a falling out with Page he had the movie re-scored by Bobby Beausoleil.
- Beausoleil was a Haight-Ashbury musician who came under Anger’s influence during the Summer of Love. After his falling out with Anger the musician joined Charles Manson’s “Family.” He murdered music teacher Gary Hinman in 1969 over a drug deal gone wrong, and was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. Anger contacted him to create the music for Lucifer Rising, and he wrote and recorded the score from prison. The band heard on the soundtrack is comprised of his fellow inmates.
- Lucifer Rising was completed with funds from the National Film Finance Corporation of Great Britain, prompting some controversy about state funding of a “devil film.” Anger also received financial assistance from the Germany’s Hamburg Television and the U.S.’s National Endowment for the Arts.
- Anger did not complete the editing on the final cut until 1981, a decade after work was begun.
- In one of the film’s final scenes there is a long shot of the Colossi of Memnon in Upper Egypt. If you look hard you can see a puff of smoke rising in the distant background. According to Anger, this came from him ceremonially burning the film’s script because the work was now complete.
INDELIBLE IMAGE: The orange UFO flying over the crumbling columns of the Temple of Luxor, then peeking over the shoulder of the colossal ancient statue of Ramses II.
WHAT MAKES IT WEIRD: Egyptian gods and goddesses frolicking through a magickal psychedelic landscape, summoning Lucifer and flying saucers.
Trailer for “The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 2 (including clips and music from Lucifer Rising)
COMMENTS: A shaggy-haired man in a robe of many colors caresses a stone column. A Continue reading 102. LUCIFER RISING (1981)