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Responses to Chemical Wedding film review

By | June 8, 2008 | Print This Post | E-mail This Post | 1 Comment

Chemical Wedding Film PosterIt’s been interesting reading the responses to guest blogger Dr Dave Evansreview of the new Aleister Crowley film Chemical Wedding over the past week. In addition to responses posted here, there have been a number of positive (or at least amused) comments on private blogs and journals, and at several which have been more public.

Crowley forum has been collecting Chemical Wedding reviews from various media sources, comparing and contrasting them and commenting on what they find, including the one posted here. Dave’s replies to commentators on the forum explore the various positions from which he disliked the film.

Taylor Ellwood‘s response in his blog Experiments of a Magician struck me as rather odd. Rather than taking an interest in the film itself, Ellwood seemed pleased the movie received a terrible review because he hates Crowley.

In a post titled “Time to get over the Crowley hero worship“, among other derogatory comments, he writes of Crowley that

His only two claims to fame is that he published Golden Dawn material that the public wasn’t supposed to see and much like LaVey he was able to be a really good showman.

I hear this sentiment a fair bit from people who have not actually read much Crowley and are therefore unfamiliar or unaware of the influence he’s had on magickal thought and practice – “hero-worship” rather misses the point. I’ve written about this before,1 but this aside, Chemical Wedding is a fictional film – a sci-fi/horror with a deliberately detestable caricature of Crowley at its centre and not a documentary or biography.

Ivor Davies reviewed the film for the e-newsletter Mandrake Speaks, mouthpiece for the excellent British publisher Mandrake of Oxford (review republished in the blog Mandrake here). Davies’ take on the film can be summed up by its last sentence: “Three words describe this film: “Straight”, “To”, “DVD”.”

Indeed, the film seems to be panned in every review I’ve read thus far. Though, Davies’ comments on Dave’s review here on are worth repeating:

I personally don’t want my review to empty the theatres. I wrote my review in the spirit of “Hey, you’ve seen the film! What did you think of it?” [...]

Don’t reckon reviews are supposed to be in the business of killing or making a film but as the seeds of constructive discussion, so PLEEEEEEEEZE see it if you’re at all inclined, put any reviews and opinions you’ve read into a secret place and just watch the movie.

Personally, I’m a fan of terrible B-movies, even when they misrepresent history and the people who helped shaped it. I enjoy going to the cinema and laughing, groaning and commenting on shameful errors and gross plot holes throughout spectacularly awful films. I’m aware this is generally considered obnoxious by other movie goers and time these events to avoid peak hours, but there are some films that demand this treatment. Snakes on a Plane was one, as was Spider-Man 3, and by all accounts Chemical Wedding is likely to be another, and frankly that makes me want to see it more.

Have you seen it yet?  How have the reviews you’ve read affected your take on the film?

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  1. See [cref 37] and [cref 122] for example. [back]

Psyche is the editor of and the curator for the occult resource, Psyche also operates a tarot consultation business, Psyche Tarot. She has been published in The Cauldron, Konton, Tarot World Magazine, among other magazines, and her essay “Strategic Magick” appeared in Manifesting Prosperity (Megalithica, 2008).

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  1. Crowley may have been a twit, but it seems a bit dismissive to reduce his massive contributions to magick and esoterica to his publishing of a few modified rituals and showmanship.

    I tend to agree – I generally hear comments like this from people with limited exposure to his systems and methods. They read enough to find parts that disgust them, then toss the whole batch into the garbage. I think that’s a mistake. But at the same time, I readily recognize that he was a twit, and that’s being supremely nice on my part. :)

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