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DIRECTED BY: Kenneth Anger
PLOT: The disc includes six short, experimental, largely non-narrative films by Kenneth Anger completed between 1964 and 1972.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: Compilations are ineligible for inclusion on the List of the 366 Best Weird Movies ever made. Short films have an uphill battle to take a spot on the List that could be occupied by a feature, but either or both of Scorpio Rising and Lucifer Rising (each clocks in at just under 30 minutes long) are meaty and weird enough that they could hear their names called on the final roll.
COMMENTS: Kenneth Anger is one strange dude. Author of the tabloid-style scandal tome Hollywood Babylon, devotee of Aleister Crowley, pal of rock stars Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page, notoriously unreliable self-mythologizer, and winner of a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute, Anger spends years working on films that only play for a few minutes (his most extensive work is only 35 minutes long). He sometimes returns and reworks older movies a decade or more after they are released. Even if you’ve never seen an Anger film, you’ve seen dozens of movies that have been influenced by his work; due to his innovation of scoring parades of surrealistic images to pop music, he’s sometimes considered the father of the music video (though he hates the form and has turned down offers to make videos). The refracted images of films like Invocation of My Demon Brother also helped define the film style we now think of as “psychedelic.” This collection contains Anger’s most important and influential works, from the 1960s and early 1970s—the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, when the formerly struggling underground academic filmmaker found himself embraced by the upcoming generation of hipsters. In order of presentation, the films covered in this collection are:
Scorpio Rising (1964): A young motorcyclist named Scorpio polishes his bike, gets dressed in leather, goes to a wild biker Halloween party, then participates in a race. Scenes of James Dean, Marlon Brando in The Wild One, and a “life of Jesus” movie are intercut into the Continue reading CAPSULE: THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER, VOL. 2