Monday, 15 September 2008

DVD review: Chemical Wedding

There’s a great movie to be made about Aleister Crowley but this sadly isn’t it. Not that Chemical Wedding, co-written by Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson and director Julian Doyle, is without interest, it’s just that the idea of resurrecting Crowley in contemporary England (well, the year 2000) isn’t, to my mind, the best way to deal with this intensely fascinating character. Clearly Dickinson and Doyle know their subject, and there are abundant nods, references and homages to Crowley, his predilections (sexual Magick, buggery, redheaded women, orgies, the occult, et al) and many of the acolytes (John Symonds, Joshua Mathers, Oliver Haddo, Victor Neuman), it’s just that the plot — the self-styled Beast 666 is resurrected into the body of Cambridge don Oliver Haddo (a hamming Simon Callow) via a virtual reality suit and a super computer — which even manages to shoehorn in L Ron Hubbard, Jack Parsons, quantum physics, and the astral plane into the mix, is too preposterous and the execution too Hammer horror circa Dracula AD 1972. A shame.

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