Chemical Wedding (2008) Poster

Chemical Wedding (2008)

  • Rate: 4.8/10 total 917 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Release Date: 30 May 2008 (UK)
  • Runtime: 106 min
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Chemical Wedding (2008)

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  • IMDb page: Chemical Wedding (2008)
  • Rate: 4.8/10 total 917 votes 
  • Genre: Horror | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller
  • Release Date: 30 May 2008 (UK)
  • Runtime: 106 min
  • Budget: £2,500,000(estimated)
  • Director: Julian Doyle
  • Stars: Simon Callow, Kal Weber and Lucy Cudden
  • Original Music By: André Jacquemin   
  • Soundtrack: Separation By Skin
  • Plot Keyword: Reporter | Roommate | Female Frontal Nudity | Stabbed In The Mouth | Shaving Of Vagina

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Bruce Dickinson  writer
  • Julian Doyle  writer

Known Trivia

    Goofs: Revealing mistakes: When Haddo/Crowley holds Victor's photo of the woman to the flame to create the burn mark, the burn mark appears twice.

    Plot: A shy, stuttering professor brings Aleister Crowley back to life. Full summary »  »

    Story: In 1947, noted Satanist Aleister Crowley dies. In Cambridge, 43 years later, with the help of a computer, Crowley's spirit takes over the body of Haddo, a mild-mannered, stuttering don. Over four days, as Crowley prepares for an occult extravaganza, bodies pile up, Crowley's elect engage in rites of passage, and Lia, a red-headed campus reporter, sniffs out a story that puts her in grave danger. Mathers, a scientist recently arrived from Cal Tech, may hold the key to her destiny.Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>  

    Synopsis

    Synopsis: Jack Parsons was a brilliant chemist and inventor of the rocket fuel used for the US space flight to the moon. He was also a fanatical believer in the Magic of Aleister Crowley the aging occultist who considered himself ‘The Beast’ incarnate.

    In 1947 Jack Parsons and L. Ron Hubbard were performing Crowley’s mystic rituals in a house in Pasadena, California. Parsons wrote excitedly to his occult leader, Crowley.

    ‘I have had the most devastating experience of my life. I have been in direct touch with One who is most Holy and Beautiful as mentioned in your ‘Book of the Law’. First instructions were received through Lafayette Ron Hubbard the seer. I have followed them to the letter. There was a desire for incarnation. I am to act as an instructor, guardian, guide for nine months; then it will be loosed on the world…’

    Crowley wrote despairingly to a disciple about Parsons:

    It appears that he has given away both his girl and his money to this writer of science fiction and is now invoking the ritual to produce a MOONCHILD. I am fairly frantic…’

    Nine months later while being visited by two students from Cambridge, Crowley died of cardiac degeneration. Missing from his personal possessions was his pocket-watch. His funeral took place in the Chapel of the Brighton Crematorium. The final rites were performed by the novelist Louis Marlowe reading extracts from Crowley’s ‘Book of the Law’. The Brighton Echo denounced the whole ceremony as a Black Mass. In 1952 Jack Parsons was blown up in his laboratory in Pasadena. L. Ron Hubbard died on his yacht as leader of the controversial Church of Scientology.

    But did the issue end with these three deaths? Would Crowley, as he claimed, ever return from death to rule the world? Why did US astronauts name a crater on the moon after Jack Parsons? Is L. Ron Hubbard really dead? What had been generated by the ceremony in California that seemed to signal Crowley’s demise? And what happened to the missing pocket-watch?

    Unanswered questions till, late in the twentieth century, when Dr. Joshua Mathers brought a ‘state of the art’ interactive suit from Cal Tech California to Cambridge in England to be hitched up to the Z93, the biggest super-cooled, super-conductive computer in the world.

     

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Paul Astrom Andrews known as executive producer
    • Raimund Berens known as co-producer
    • Peter Bevan known as executive producer
    • Andrew Chapman known as line producer
    • Peter Dale known as executive producer
    • Bill Jones known as co-producer
    • Malcolm Kohll known as producer
    • Justin Peyton known as producer
    • David Pupkewitz known as executive producer
    • Karl Richards known as executive producer
    • Rod Smallwood known as executive producer
    • Ben Timlett known as producer
    • Patrick Vien known as executive producer
    • Caroline Whittle known as associate producer

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Simon Callow known as Professor Haddo / Aleister Crowley
    • Kal Weber known as Joshua Mathers
    • Lucy Cudden known as Lia Robinson
    • Jud Charlton known as Victor Nuberg
    • Paul McDowell known as Symonds
    • John Shrapnel known as Crowley
    • Terence Bayler known as Professor Brent
    • Richard Franklin known as Dean
    • Mike Shannon known as Alex
    • Helen Millar known as Rose
    • Geoff Breton known as Young Symonds
    • Sean Rea known as Young Alex
    • Thomas Nelstrop known as Jones
    • Robert Ashby known as Chaplain Marshall
    • Esmé Bianco known as Mavis
    • Gemma Hiles known as Ruby
    • Annie Walker known as Rene
    • Lizzie Millne known as Secretary
    • Christina Chong known as Mei-Ling
    • Lily Dumont known as Joyce
    • Andrea Sadler known as Stella
    • Mark Wainwright known as Inspector
    • Brandon Kirk known as Ceremonial Guard
    • Nicola Rockhill known as Kate the Violin Girl
    • Jean Leppard known as Doctor
    • Kare Silversten known as Drunk
    • Bruce Dickinson known as Landlord / Blind Man
    • Mat Fraser known as Anton Le Fay
    • Oliver Smith known as Postboy (as Ollie Smith)
    • Antonia Beamish known as Glastonbury Woman
    • Alex Leppard known as Official
    • Bill Jones known as Toilet Queen / Man with Bag on Head
    • Jared Ashe known as Student Ashby
    • Rhik Samadder known as Student Rick
    • Danny Szam known as Student Ben
    • Carly Davis known as Student Brenda
    • Robin Goodchild known as Student Phil
    • Joni Levinson known as Hotbuns Berkhoff (as Joni Levison)
    • Dean Butler known as Ceremony Man
    • Peter White known as Station Guard
    • Austin Dickinson known as Lecture Student
    • Perrine Moran known as Lecturer
    • Leigh Stevenson known as Mason

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Sophie Liddiard known as prosthetics makeup assistant
    • Brendan Lonergan known as prosthetic effects
    • Vienna McMahon known as assistant makeup artist
    • Felicity Wright known as makeup designer

    Art Department:

    • Nick Ainsworth known as stand-by art director
    • Joe Borowski known as stand-by props
    • Andrew David Clark known as art department
    • Peter Davis known as senior supervising painter
    • Toby Marrow known as props master
    • Katie Ralph known as art department assistant

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Bill and Ben Productions
    • Focus Films
    • Entertainment Motion Pictures (E-MOTION)

    Other Companies:

    • Allan Chapman & James Insurance Brokers  insurance services
    • Audiolink Radio Communications  walkie talkies/mobiles
    • Digilab Services  digital film workflow
    • Fatts  post-production script services
    • MotionFX  post-production
    • MotionFX  titles
    • uFX  visual effects by

    Distributors:

    • Anchor Bay Entertainment (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
    • Warner Bros. (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
    • Warner Music Entertainment (2008) (worldwide) (theatrical)
    • Film Pop (2007) (Turkey) (all media)
    • Front Row Filmed Entertainment (2008) (United Arab Emirates) (all media) (Middle East)
    • Maamund II Productions (2008) (Poland) (all media)
    • Rainbow Valley (2008) (Hungary) (all media)
    • Sunfilm Entertainment (2009) (Germany) (DVD)
    • Universal Pictures Vidéo (2009) (France) (DVD)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • MotionFX (visual effects)

    Visual Effects by:

    • Chris Bentley known as film recorder operator
    • Jonathan Cheetham known as visual effects
    • Clare Heneghan known as visual effects
    • Enrico Perei known as senior digital compositing artist

    Release Date:

    • UK 4 May 2008 (Sci-Fi-London)
    • France 17 May 2008 (Cannes Film Market)
    • UK 30 May 2008
    • Denmark 17 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
    • Netherlands 17 April 2009 (Imagine Film Festival)
    • Germany 26 June 2009 (DVD premiere)

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , , , .

    10 Comments

    1. joloplondon from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      A strange film, probably because it comes from Monty Python's editor,so although it is generally serious, it often has very funny momentsmixed with Python's gross surrealism. If you gasped at the explodingfat man in Meaning of Life – wait till you see the magic spellinvolving the fax machine. The film is about the reincarnation of thelegendary Magus, Aleister Crowley, (dubbed the Wickedest man in theWorld) who has influenced such varied people as the Beatles, CharlesManson and Winston Churchill. It was Crowley who invented the V signfor Churchill. Even Bond author Ian Fleming, who worked for NavalIntelligence, suggested Crowley, to use his occultism against theNazis.

      The film opens in 1947 as the ageing Aleister Crowley, played earthilyby John Shrapnel, is visited by a young initiate, to plan an importantlife saving ritual. Here the themes of the film are introduced.Crowley's occult knowledge of the Bible, his skill at chess, hisinvolvement in Masonry and his anger at L. Ron Hubbard (yes him of theChurch of Scientology) who has turned the head of Crowley's richAmerican disciple, Jack Parsons. (I checked this on the internet – alltrue) Crowley's rage at Hubbard fires off a heart attack and he dies.

      We then fast forward to the end of the 20th Century, CambridgeUniversity, where scientist Dr Joshua Mathers is about to integrate asuper-cooled computer, with the human brain. But assistant programmer,Dr Neuman, is an obsessive follower of Aleister Crowley, and hasreduced his occult rites to a series of quantum equations. Bumblingacademic, Professor Haddo, (Simon Callow – 4 Weddings and a Funeral)desperate to get inside the mind of the long-dead Magus volunteershimself for integration. Unknown to Mathers, that night the experimentbegins. Next morning Haddo has undergone a dramatic transformation, Hishead shaved and now strident and arrogant he gives a lecture aboutHamlet where he announces he is the reincarnation of Aleister Crowleyand proceeds to quote Crowley's Shakespearean parody 'To pee, or not topee.' He then outrageously pees on the front row of the students. Yesyou heard it right! Crowley always claimed he would rise from the deadand from this point on Haddo, begins playing out all Crowley's mostbizarre rituals, from his orgies involving Sexual Magic to showing hisdistaste by crapping on the Dean's desk. (supposedly the originalCrowley's calling card for his enemies) The central part of the film isalmost impossible to describe since it moves from theories of quantumphysics, to occultism, to conspiracies all with a wonderfullyoutrageous central performance by Simon Callow. Richard the Third palesinto insignificance.

      Finally, concealed in a Masonic Temple, Haddo plans to performCrowley's most powerful rite, the Chemical Wedding, to fix himself intime. Only Dr. Mathers, in the science lab, has the knowledge to stophim. There then follows a wonderful battle between ancient magic andmodern science, which results in a twist ending that would be bad toreveal here.

      Aleister Crowley was weird, knowledgeable, funny, gross, intelligentand extremely entertaining. That is the film in a nutshell and likeCrowley it should confuse and upset many, especially Christians,Crowley worshippers, Church of Scientologists who if they don't sue theproducers will probably put out lots of negative information about thefilm. I fear for the filmmakers future, if the lawyers don't get them,then spells from Crowley's upset followers will.

    2. maidenlord from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      Well it's finally here.a lot has been written about Bruce's firsteffort in cinema.I think it's not a bad film-confusing in places andi'm still undecided on the ending and if i've worked it outcorrectly!There is a LOT of quotations and science and physicsmentioned in the story and some of the cinema goers in my sittinglooked baffled by a lot of it.

      Basically the story involves the reincarnation of the spirit ofAleister Crowley(the so called Beast) in the body of stutteringprofessor Haddo at a Cambridge university.How this is done involvessome sort of Dr who type space suit and some computer binary programmeof Crowley's mind.

      Haddo is played by thespian Simon Callow and he is without question thebest thing in this film.He really revels in playing the part and he hasto do some pretty wild things like urinate over his students,shave aprostitute and masturbate whilst being caned to invoke a spell.

      The film has a 70's feel like Hammer Horror and is going to be classedas a cult film for sure.There are some very funny moments mixed inamongst the debauchery and for the Maiden fans some metal mixed in withGeorge Formby! You can tell it was made on a limited budget as thecamera-work could be better and the editing seems a bit mish mash inplaces(possibly because of cuts made)Director is Julian Doyle moreknown for his work with Monty Python and he co wrote the script withBruce.Bruce himself makes a few cameos in the film.

      Lucy Cudden who plays Leah I think will go far.A great newcomer who hasthe right mix of vulnerability and sexual magnetism.John Shrapnel asCrowley at the start does what is required.The rest of the cast arelargely forgettable although Porridge fans will recognise the adultSymons! It has had a bit of a slating in the press and I won't pretendit's a classic but for a night in with beer you could do a lot worse.

      Your Time will Come! (just be wary of fax machines!)

    3. suspiria10 from The Void
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      AKA: Chemical Wedding

      Rating: 3 out of 5

      Genre: Horror, Science Fiction, Occult

      Director: Julian Doyle

      Stars: Robert Ashby, Jared Ashe, Terence Bayler, Antonia Beamish, EsméBianco, Geoff Breton, Simon Callow, Jud Charlton, Lucy Cudden, LilyDumont, Richard Franklin

      Synopsis: At an English academy the most powerful computer in the worldis used to perform time sensitive experiments. When an experiment goesawry and the spirit of Aleister Crowley inhabits a professorparticipating in the experiment.

      Thoughts: I could explain the plot but I can't really do it justice.The detailed script written by the director and Bruce Dickinson (fromthe metal legends Iron Maiden) is pretty good with you enough twistedCrowley debauchery to keep you engaged. The first thirty or so minutesare a bit slow so hang in. As you can guess a horror film that borrowsfrom the depraved life of the "Wickedest Man in the World" gives yousuch perverted pleasures as orgies and canning. The script does get abit bogged down in the final act when its more lofty, SciFi conventionskick in but hey it delivers the weird goods.

      In Conclusion: Yup we get treated to Iron Maiden and Dickinson tunesthroughout the film. Not enough but that's just me. Say didn't themighty Bruce become a born-again Christian? An odd choice and subjectfor a horror movie I believe. 

    4. greenknight-2 from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      I was torn when I watched this film – on the one hand, it's a veryaverage film, mostly confusing and random, sometimes poorly acted (andsometimes not) and of a subject matter that I am very critical; on theother hand, if you view it as a (relatively) low-budget, BritishB-movie it's actually quite good. Not entertaining, mind you, it neveractually manages to fight its way out of the swamp of "too many ideas,crammed into too little time with no coherence". But the production anddirection of the film is commendable.

      The basic plot of the film is that Aleister Crowley, "the wickedest manin Britain" (in the early part of the last century – I doubt he'd rankabove "dirty old perv" these days) manages to get reincarnated into thebody of a Cambridge professor (played by Simon Callow – by far the bestpart of the film) and starts a 4-day (? – the query is because a lothappens, but little relevant, over the 4 days) campaign to becomewholly physical again.

      Basically, stuff happens; lots of it random, and I'm sure was moremeaningful to the writers than it was to me as a viewer (and that as aneducated and informed viewer). Unfortunately, as good as it looks attimes, and as many good ideas are just screaming to to be exploited, itjust ends up being a B-movie. I'd still watch it though, just the once.

      I realise that this constitutes a critique rather than a review, butit's difficult to sum up what happens in the film other than what I'vejust said – it's a bit random, and if you're into thelemic mysticismyou'll probably enjoy it, but unfortunately I view the whole subject asoccultism for people who are too scared to throw off the shackles ofcatholic Judaism, and compensate for their reticence to abandonChristianity for something more pure with an unhealthy interest in theChristian devil. But you're talking about a film about an early 20thcentury English occultist raised in a strict Christian family, so whatcan you expect? Anyway, if you're in the mood for a British B-movie(well made, but not exactly stimulating) – this is the movie for you(or watch Razorblade Smile or Dead Mans Shoes instead).

    5. Samuel Jones from United Kingdom
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      This is a film about the reincarnation of the influential Occultist,Aleister Crowley, as such it must be almost incomprehensible without anunderstanding of the man who was called the 'Wickedest man in theWorld'.

      Crowley was born in 1875. His parents were wealthy and the epitome ofrespectability. They were also staunch Plymouth Brethren and brought upyoung Crowley in an atmosphere of pious religious narrow-mindedness,against which he constantly rebelled.

      He died in a boarding house in Hastings in 1947. It is here that thefilm begins with a visit to the dying Crowley by Symonds a younginitiate. On the wall of the actual boarding house were two signs,'Guest are requested not to tease the Ghosts' and 'Breakfast will beserved at 8am to those who survive the night.' These give a clue to thegenre of the film – an occult film that doesn't take itself tooseriously

      With Crowley's death the film fast-forwards to Trinity CollegeCambridge where Symonds is now an old academic. Crowley himself went toTrinity and it was while he was there that he became interested in theoccult and discovered he was excited by descriptions of torture andblood. He liked to fantasise about being degraded and abused by a'Scarlet Woman', who was dominant, wicked and independent. He readArthur E. Waite's book, entitled " Black Magic and Pacts". It hinted ata secret brotherhood of occultists and Crowley became intrigued. Hejoined the masons and then the 'Order of the Golden Dawn', the elusiveGreat White Brotherhood run by MacGregor Mathers who claimed to be thereincarnation of James IV of Scotland. Crowley went one better andannounced he was the reincarnation of Eliphas Levi, Count Caliastro andnine others going back to the Chinese sage Ko Hsuen.

      The film divides into four days – each one headed by the title 'Day 1','Day 2' etc.. This mirrors the original 'Chymical Wedding of ChristianRosenkreutz' a treatise, which appeared in 1616. It is the third of theoriginal manifestos of the mysterious "Fraternity of the Rose Cross'(Rosecrutions)". It is an allegoric romance about an invitation to goto a wonderful castle in order to assist the Chymical Wedding of theking and the queen. This manifesto has been a source of inspiration forpoets and alchemists – for which the 'Sacred Marriage' was the goal.

      This same allegoric use of words and names is also part of the film.'Day One' begins with the arrival of scientist Dr Joshua Mathers fromCal Tech to participate in an experiment. Mathers as mentioned wasCrowley's nemesis and Cal Tech is where Jack Parsons, (the head ofCrowley's organisation in America) developed the rocket fuel used formodern day space flights.

      On arrival at Cambridge Dr. Mathers is accosted by a redheaded studentjournalist, Leah Robinson. Crowley had a series of 'Scarlet Women'; thebest known was Leah Hirsig, the so-called 'Ape of Thoth'. Together theywould indulge in drinking sessions, drugs and sexual magic. It isbelieved that Crowley made several attempts to beget a 'Magical child',none of which worked and instead he fictionalised his attempts in abook called "Moonchild". Interestingly Leah is also a character inFoucault's Pendulum' where Umberto Eco introduces a chapter with aquote from Crowley and later introduces other chapters with quotes from'The Chymical Wedding'.

      The Cambridge experiment is misappropriated by a fanatical disciple ofCrowley, computer programmer Victor (based on Victor Nueberg) whoconverts his associate, bumbling lecturer Dr Oliver Haddo, into theresurrected Magus – to wreak havoc on the campus. The name Haddo comesfrom the Somerset Maughan novel 'The Magician' based on AleisterCrowley – who sometimes used it as a pseudonym,

      Every event in the film mirrors a Crowley story. He used his money tobuy prostitutes at an early age. He relieved himself on an enemy'scarpet – so the film has him do the same on the Dean's desk. He wasinvolved in Masonry and began his own version. He performed the rite ofsolo masturbation and re-enacted the Eleusis ceremony, a whining girlviolinist started the rite followed by drinks from a chalice containingeither menstrual blood or hallucinogenic drugs. In the film Mathersspits out the drink, which is why he doesn't get involved.

      Central to the film is the extraordinary performance of Simon Callow asthis complex character, who gloried in his notoriety, calling himselfthe Beast 666, performed obscene rituals of Sexual Magic and trips tothe Astral plane to meet his spiritual leaders; yet wrote sensitivepoetry, was a master chess player, a champion mountaineer andastonishingly studied Quantum Physics.

      It is this clash between science and magic, which gives the wonderfultwist ending to the film. Understanding the basics of quantum physicsis useful here. All one needs to know is summed up in two Nobel prizes– J. J. Thomson won the Nobel prize for proving that the electron is aparticle – his son George Thomson years later won the Nobel prize forproving that the electron is a wave. Both are true and this'uncertainty' depends on which way the scientist looks at theexperiment. Critically Erwin Schrodinger suggested a theoreticalexperiment where a cat is placed in a box with a poisonous isotope. Theuncertainty principal suggested that only when the experimenter opensthe box does he know if the cat is dead or alive.

      The film does take Crowley's nasty side to an extreme, obviously fordramatic purposes, but I am sure the old scoundrel would have loved it.

    6. eggbertsmith from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      I watched it.

      It was pretty horrible.

      I wanted to like it. But it looked, felt, and sounded (REALLY bad soundand mixing) like a glorified student film. The two leads were fairlypoor actors. The guy playing Crowley might be actually a very talentedactor, but it's difficult to tell when it's so over the top. He was theonly fun part of this film.

      At times, the production value looked almost like a decent low-budgetfilm. Other times, it was straight-up "student project". It had that"shot on video" look slapping you right in your pie-hole throughout.Bad lighting, bad angles, and close-ups shot with a wide lens? Who doesthat? Perhaps the irresponsible DP thought he was "shaking things up"and being revolutionary? Hardly. It just looked like a never-endingseries of amateurish mistakes, jolting you out of the moment.

      Since this is one of those films which is leading up to a big climax,it's difficult to leave before it's finished, even when it's awful. SoI watched until the end. Afterward, I was filled with the desire toburn all my Iron Maiden albums, since the lead singer is the genius whowrote this abomination. Sadly, I never owned any of their albums, so Iwas forced to take my anger out on my beloved Milli Vanilli albums.I'll miss them greatly, and it's all due to that aging,mysticism-lovin, 80's hair-farmer from Iron Maiden writing this shoddyscreenplay. Stick to what you do best, Bruce, playing resurrectionconcerts for those who still cling to the "80's metal" thing, asridiculous as it looks/sounds today.

    7. dipetete
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      The story is good. However the actors are not good enough and the plotis terrible. Hopefully a remake of this movie will be done someday witha better budget to exploit at the maximum the story. I love Iron Maidenmusic, an deeply respect Bruce Dickinson for his achievements. However,being completely sincere, they are not good with the video stuff. Ican't understand why since they are very theatrical in their concerts.But anybody who loves Iron Maiden music and had watch their videos Ithink will agree they are HORRIBLE with all respect. I think Bruce canwrite (althou not alone) but he needs to be surrounded by a betterteam. Can you imagine if this movie were directed by let's sayChristopher Nolan starring Anthony Hopkins and some real actors? Comeon Bruce, you can do it better!

    8. dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      From the lead singer of Iron Maiden comes the story of a scienceexperiment that goes wrong and puts Alister Crowley into the body of amild mannered college professor. Long winded horror film is well madewith a great sense of place, but an almost complete lack of shocks. Idon't know what it is but this film just doesn't work. I think thefailure to find scares is due to two things. First the science labstuff feels like a bad TV movie. It seems as though it was added infrom a bad scifi film, especially when the rest of the film feels likesits in a real place. The other problem is Simon Callow as the professorwho becomes Crowley. I love Callow and his inclusion in the cast waswhat brought me to see the film. The problem is that his performanceprior to the possession by Crowley is laughable. The stutteringflubbering performance under the gray fright wig was awful.It brings tomind the numerous performances that great actors give where you wantthem to give back their awards (Ben Kinglsey in Blood Rayne forexample). It just doesn't work. Its not horrible, actually some it isquite good but as a whole it never comes together and never gets scaryand it just sort of lies there. It may click with you, it may not. I'dwait for cable when the cost of movie to dollar is much lower.

    9. Ali_Catterall from London, England
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      Aleister Crowley and Lafayette Ron Hubbard. Now there are two names toconjure with: the notorious occultist and the demonised father ofScientology. Both pioneers in their way, both fully aware of the other,sharing an initiate in the shape of controversial 1940s American rocketscientist Jack Parsons.

      A film featuring Crowley and L Ron arguing the theological toss wouldbe a fascinating prospect, but although the association is alluded to,and quietly dropped, that's not what we get here.

      Instead Chemical Wedding is a campy horror farce with sci-fi trappings(think Prince Of Darkness meets The Lawnmower Man) from the Iron Maidenman. To paraphrase fellow metal-head David St Hubbins, "BruceDickinson: he wrote this." Clearly, Dickinson is a man possessed. Notcontent with holding a commercial airline pilot's license, being achampion fencer and papering remainder bookshops the nation over with'The Adventures Of Lord Iffy Boatrace', he's now turned his saber gloveto screen writing. Some might call that gilding the lily.

      The plot: dashing American scientist Dr Joshua Mathers (Weber) bringshis astounding virtual reality suit to Crowley's real-life alma mater,Trinity College, Cambridge, to be linked up to supercomputer Z93.Unbeknown to Mathers, Z93 has been trojaned with black magick rituals(don't ask) by Crowleyite assistant Dr Victor Neuman, who plans toresurrect the "forgotten man of magick". Stammering classics lecturerDr Oliver Haddo (Callow) is coerced into the suit. And emerges with anewly-shorn head, and a predilection for wild orgies (complete withnaked violinists), the whole world domination jag – and sacrificialscarlet women, with whom to facilitate the ultimate occult ceremony,the eponymous 'Wedding'.

      This being a Dickinson script, Aleister is soon roaming the cityhypnotizing young women into taking all their clothes off: inquisitivered-headed 'Varsity' reporter Lia (Cuddon) had better watch her backand front. Dr Victor receives his win-bonus; he's fellated by the Whoreof Babylon. Truly, these are the end times, when a university faxmachine starts leaking seminal fluid. And lest anyone be in doubt thisis the real Crowley brought back from the dead, he unbuttons hisflaccidness mid-lecture and soaks the front row; a possibleself-tribute to Dickinson's expulsion from school for peeing in theheadmaster's dinner. He also leaves a calling card: a turd on his desk.Poo where thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.

      Given his eventful life and legacy, Aleister Crowley ought to be ascreenwriter's dream (great location shots in Egypt; fevered rites atthe Abbey of Thelema; walk-on parts for everyone from Anton LeVay toSgt Pepper). The self-proclaimed Beast 666 was practically a one-man PRmachine in any case and Kenneth Anger's experimental shorts aside, itis genuinely surprising that there has been such a dearth of biopics orrelated features about him.

      As evidenced by the studious press notes, Dickinson and director JulianDoyle are obviously in thrall to their subject – few self-respectingmetallers aren't – and have done some homework, with character names,for example, taken from real-life Crowley associates. And the filmsuggests it's about to mine some interesting, if well-trodden,territory: the mystical implications of quantum physics; Schroedinger'scat; virtual reality as an ersatz astral plane. As Doyle puts it, "Theexpression of the new spiritualism that derives from discoveries inscience… hidden in what we hope is a popularist film".

      Perhaps too well hidden. As if frightened off by the complexities ofthe material, it all too quickly curdles into Gouda. The look and feelof Chemical Wedding is evidently an homage to Hammer and early 1970sBrit horror-fantasy in general: that is to say, cheap. And thoughaiming to titillate, the execution is so corny it might as well berenamed 'Confessions Of A Cabbalist'.

      Scenes and dialogue often trail away to nothing, and with the exceptionof veterans John Schrapnel and Simon Callow, both hamming it up a treatas the lascivious, tongue-waggling visionary, the performances aredecidedly of the student film variety. Doyle is an accomplished editor(Terry Gilliam's Brazil and most of the Monty Python movies), butperhaps editors aren't the right people to tease the best out ofactors.

      Let's call it what it is: a vanity project, one naturally slatheredwith Iron Maiden hits, unsubtly crow-barred into the action. "Your timewill come!" says a prophet of doom at one point, immediately followedby 'Maiden's 'Wicker Man' lyric: "Your time will come, your time willcome!" If Jimmy Page managed to alchemise his Crowley fixation intogold, lesser rockers, it seems, can produce only handfuls of tin.

    10. Nick Argyle from United States
      30 Mar 2012, 11:32 pm

      I thought this film was quite decent for what it is. The filming wasactually better than I had expected it to be given the low budget, andthe acting, while nothing particularly mind-blowing, was more thanpassable.

      The actual premise of the movie could have used a little work,especially with the science aspects. I would really rather have justseen a man invoke Crowley and become possessed by him than have someill-conceived virtual reality program channel him. But, apart from thevirtual reality suit and the often obscure, misapplied physicsconcepts, the creators did moderatly well with the necessary subjectmatter, though perhaps a bit more research could have been done.

      Some things the average viewer may like to know after viewing the film,to show that it was, perhaps, better thought out than they might havepreviously thought are as follows: Crowley did indeed have anassistant/student named Victor when he was alive. His name was VictorNeuburg, while the Victor in this story is named Numan. The name"Mathers" was also the name of one of Crowley's former instructors turnenemies. He waged 'magical warfare' with Mathers, and if we are tobelieve Crowley, defeated him. This film pays homage to Samuel Mathers,Crowley's enemy and head of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, byhaving him be, in a sense, reincarnated to finish the magical battleagainst Crowley. Of course, it was not a true reincarnation as Mathersin the film was a moonchild, therefore a new, pure soul, and one wouldassume Mathers is his adoptive parent's name making its usage purelysymbolic. Likewise, the magical rituals mentioned in the film oftenhave ritch histories. For example, the creation of a moonchild wasindeed pursued by L. Ron Hubbard and Jack Parsons. To learn more aboutthe concept of a moonchild, one can read Crowley's book of the samename. The chemical wedding was quite exaggerated in this story, but onecan easily find information on that as well.

      Another important note: this film heavily exaggerated Crowley's "evilside." It is said that the worst thing Crowley ever did during his lifewas crucify a frog, and it would have been quite absurd for him to killa human as flippantly as in this movie, as that would have directlyviolated his own moral code. Crowley was indeed a white magician, whichmade it quite absurd to see an inverted pentagram of satanic nature(the letters at the points) during the ending ritual of the chemicalwedding, or inscribed in blood upon the wall.

      A question I had at the end of the movie: the creation of the moonchildwas said to have occurred in the late 1940s, so how is Mathers soyoung? Perhaps I just didn't pay attention to the timeline.

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