“I’ve always considered movies evil; the day that cinema was invented was a black day for mankind.” – Kenneth Anger
Kenneth Anger, underground filmmaker, author, and occultist best known for his innovative and provocative films that explore themes of sexuality, religion, and the occult has died at the age of 96. Anger’s death was reported Wednesday. Spencer Glesby, who was Anger’s artist liaison, told NPR that the filmmaker died on May 11 in Yucca Valley, California, of natural causes.
Kenneth Anger was as born Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer on February 3in Santa Monica, California. From a young age, he developed an interest in occult and esoteric subjects, which would later influence his artistic work. As a teenager, he became involved with the local film scene and started making experimental films.
In 1947, when he was still a teenager, Anger directed a short gay art film that got him arrested for obscenity. Fireworks, which has no dialogue, shows men flexing for each other in a bar, unzipping their trousers, lighting cigarettes with flaming bouquets, and a little surreal sadomasochism. Fireworks and Anger’s other experimental movies are now revered as counterculture classics.
In the 1950s, Anger moved to Europe and continued to make films while traveling and exploring various subcultures. During this time, he created one of his most famous works, “Scorpio Rising” (1963), a controversial film that combined footage of bikers, pop music, and religious iconography. The film is considered a landmark in underground filmmaking and had a significant influence on subsequent generations of filmmakers.
Anger’s other notable films include “Kustom Kar Kommandos” (1965), “Invocation of My Demon Brother” (1969), and “Lucifer Rising” (1972).
Aside from his filmmaking career, Anger has also written extensively on various subjects, including Hollywood scandals, the occult, and the history of cinema. His book “Hollywood Babylon” (1959) became a controversial bestseller, chronicling scandalous stories and legends from the early days of Hollywood. some of which may have been true.
Anger maintained an aura of mystery and countercultural allure. He has been associated with figures like Aleister Crowley, the infamous occultist, and has claimed to have been a practitioner of magic himself. and will undouble continues to inspire filmmakers and artists, in avant-garde and experimental cinema.
You can watch “Fireworks” and Scorpio Rising below.
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