Aliester Crowley is a strange fellow. To most Americans, he’s probably just that guy you heard about when LonelyGirl15 was cool and you heard something about sperm being involved with that jazz. Across the pond, in Britain, he’s something akin to the ultimate boogeyman, an evil, evil man (called the most wicked) who preached horrible practices of immortality some 90 years ago. It was time for him to get the movie treatment and with Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson presenting the film, and co-writing, one was to expect a movie all about rock, roll, sex, drugs, and orgies. Go in expecting all that and you’ll come out either asleep or just bored.
Due to budgetary constraints, the film wasn’t able to be set in the 1930s, so the writers came up with the most obvious way of bringing him into the modern age – a group of scientists create some sort of strange computer that involves you wearing a suit that resembles the Michelin Tire mascot and stumbling around a small glass room, which is then loaded with all the works of Crowley, for some unknown reason, which of course are downloaded into a stuttering professor’s mind, resulting in him transmorphing into the famous occultist. It makes perfect sense, until you realize that’s possibly the dumbest thing ever filmed.
The production starts dabbling with great cosmics, the details of which are above the heads of those who tried to write them, resulting in a story that clumsily tries to show and then just states multiple universe theory. What does that have to do with kills? Well, since the worlds don’t really matter, in the main world we watch, only 3 people die (I think, it’s odd) but then time is basically reset, meaning no one died. But then in another world, we’re told, Crowley probably wins and turns loose Hell on Earth. So in that scenario, everyone dies.
Crowley was obsessed with bodily fluids – not the boring ones like spit and blood, but the fun ones like urine, feces, and sperm. Most of the “ills” of this movie come from this fluids, like a woman pissing her pants or Crowley-Professor whipping out his flesh staff and anointing the front row of his lecture hall with urine. Crowley also leaves behind his “calling card” by shitting on someones desk, like a boss. No joke. In terms of horror, a head splits open and a tentacle thing comes out, someone is thrown through a window, another person is hanged, and a needle goes into an eyeball. Oh yeah, Crowley also masturbates onto a document while being spanked with a rod, sperming (a lot) and somehow managing to send that to someone else’s printer – complete with man sauce. Or should that have gone under Lust?
For a movie about a sex pervert, the film was lacking. It tried to make a show of it late with an orgy scene that is maybe 40 seconds long that gives us glimpses of full front, some breasts, and sex. There are some other breasts exposed, a simulated act of oral sex, and Crowley-Professor shaves a woman’s pubic hair, if you’re into that kind of thing.
Crowley is a strange dude that deserves a better movie made about him.
Clearly I’m raging on this, but it wasn’t a total wash out. Actor Simon Callow has an absolute lark portraying the insanium in the cranium Crowley and he actually creates an interesting and flamboyant character. It’s a shame the story surrounding him is rather droll and the film making has very amateurish shifts at times. Like dissolves, screen wipes, and other horrendous transitions. For kicks, they also threw in a character that has a Stephen Hawking like voice box, apparently because his hand was cursed by the real Crowley years ago.
To illustrate how much sense this film makes, first consider all that nonsense about the computer. Then imagine a “secured area” that a reporter just walks into, not once, but twice. By opening the door. And walking in. Tough security. One professor is also in love with Crowley, writing his name over and over on a sheet of paper like a girl with a high school crush. Still making sense right? How about we toss in a secret society of Free Masons, who are apparently the entire teaching staff. They lead in some half-nude guy with a sack on his head. This is normal. Later, a reporter talks to a professor leaving this meeting, after witnessing it even, and he disappears. That story line is abandoned immediately. Further, no one has any difficulty believing that Crowley has taken over a Professor, nor does it strike them as strange. Talk of “energy coordinates” and walk in computers are also the norm. Might I remind you once more that the crux of this story is that for some reason a bunch of Crowley memorabilia was uploaded to a computer and somehow imprinted itself onto a bumbling Professor’s mind.
The film is engaging in the way that a psychedelic 70s cheapo horror film is, but also suffers from the same faults – namely it’s not that great, the acting is mostly bad, and the story is rubbish. There is a twist at the ending that hits with the impact of a feather falling from a reasonable height onto a bed of marshmallows. Not only is the twist not surprising but it doesn’t even make that much sense, nor is it played for tension. It’s more like a “PS: This plot wasn’t fully developed but isn’t this crazy! You didn’t see it coming!” Yes, Crowley, I did see it coming. What I won’t see, however, is this film a second time.