BluRay/DVD Reviews

CROWLEY (AKA THE CHEMICAL WEDDING)

By • Mar 10th, 2009 •

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There are all sorts of movies out there. Some are meant to be viewed in silence and quietly contemplated for hours after the credits run. Some need to be seen in a darkened theater with a large group of people willing to laugh out loud at every joke and gag. For some movies you need to keep the tissues ready for the tears. And others should be put on the TV at a party, to be enjoyed with friends over a couple of beers while you laugh about the cheesy effects and cringe at the absurdity of the gore. CROWLEY actually doesn’t fit into any of these categories: unfortunately it fits into the “films that should not be seen” category.

The plot is fairly simple: Aleister Crowley’s soul is encoded into a computer virus hidden in an experimental virtual reality machine, designed apparently with no particular purpose in mind, and a shy professor who’s a casual student of Crowley’s work is tricked into entering the machine, becomes possessed by Aleister Crowley, who then resumes his old work. Also there’s a girl, because there always is, who’s investigating Professor Haddo’s (Simon Callow from FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL) sudden shift of personality for the campus newspaper. Now Lia (Lucy Cudden) and Dr. Mathers (Kal Webber) only have four days to stop Crowley from reincarnating himself and all hell breaking loose. Oh boy.

Watching the movie, however, the plot is almost incomprehensible. Scenes often have little to no connection to each other and several times you’ll find yourself saying, “Wait, what the heck is he doing there?” If you find yourself thinking you’ve missed something, don’t worry – you haven’t. Actually, the director explains everything you’re missing in the Deleted Scenes on the DVD. For reasons one can’t even begin to fathom, key scenes appear here rather than in the actual film, accompanied by on-screen text written by the director,often explaining, “I took this scene out. Now the movie doesn’t make any sense!” I’m paraphrasing here, but frequently he does explain that removing a particular scene from the film only served to make the movie more confusing, without ever offering a good reason for it being removed. In truth, I think that as silly as the plot is, this movie could have been enjoyable to watch with some friends at a party had it at least been put together so you could follow it.

Simon Callow actually is very good in the film. His performance as Aleister Crowley is solid and enjoyable, and is perhaps the film’s saving grace. He’s particularly fun to watch during scenes of ridiculous Crowley antics, such as urinating on his lecture class, or summoning powers arcane and hideous to deliver his ejaculate to the object of his desire by fax machine. No, seriously – that happens! Actually scenes like that are why I think this movie could have been a lot of fun if only it had been assembled correctly. Of course none of this considers the question of whether or not a movie about Aleister Crowley, the man who went under such monikers as “The Beast” and “The wickedest man in the world”, should be “a lot of fun,” but I won’t bore you with a history lesson here.

Though possessing a few key “what the hell!” moments, and some very excellent horror film nudity courtesy of Lucy Cudden and Esmé Bianco, this incomprehensible movie is definitely one to pass on.

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3 Responses »

  1. Greg

    I have been tracking this one ever since I discovered such a film on Crowley was made but I knew this one as CHEMICAL WEDDING and there are two schools of thought on the one…either it is so bad don’t bother or borther it has some great things going on like Simon Callow.

    Crowley is a huge figure in the world stage of the Occult and so we cannot just dismiss films that take on his legend so easily. This one was made by a rock star so that is more than likely the problem. Jimmy Page of Led Zepplen bought Crowley’s home and owned a vast library of Crowley memorabilia….Kenneth Anger worships at his shrine so who is to say when someone will do film worthy of it’s subject…..I would love to see this one anyway where can I get a screener????

  2. @ David.I think this film of Crowley will thrilled me more than any other actor.

  3. I like this one but was drawn in not by Crowley but the writer Bruce Dickenson. (I’m a big Iron Maiden Fan!)
    Thanks

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