INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER
This 1969 short is the darkest and most
psychotic of Kenneth Angerís films, a fragmentary evocation of black magic and
late sixties-era psychedelia.
INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER, running 11 minutes, was created from
fragments of the first version of Kenneth Angerís LUCIFER RISING. This version
was left never completed due to the fact that much of the film was stolen. What
footage remained was assembled into the present work in 1969.
Bobby BeauSoleil, one of the INVOCATIONíS performers,
was initially contracted to do the music. BeauSoleil became known for his
association with the Manson Family, and later did the music score for the
1981 incarnation of LUCIFER RISING. Other interesting people who
figured in the production were the late Anton LaVay, founder of the Church of
Satan, and Mick Jagger, who composed the filmís skin-crawling, ultra-repetitive
score on a Moog Synthesizer.
Filming took place in the Haight-Ashbury district of
San Francisco, where Anger was living at the time. Anger now dubs the finished
film ďthe last blast of Haight consciousness.Ē
In what looks like a late sixties hippie pad, several strange people smoke
hash through a skull bong, all gathered around the corpse of cat. The gathering
devolves into a frenzied invocation of Crowlean magick presided over by none
other than Anton LaVey, founder of the church of Satan.
Overlaid are images from an outdoor Rolling Stones concert, a Hellís Angels
rally and troops being deployed to Vietnam. The gathering, meanwhile, grows
increasingly druggy and out of control, with several musicians joining the fray
and the influence of LSD making itself felt. Finally a shrunken African woman
appears on a staircase holding a handwritten sign that proclaims: ďZAP...YOUíRE
INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER resembles Kenneth Angerís earlier
INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE
DOME in many respects, but itís far wilder. The former film was a
stately mood piece focused on magic and decadence. INVOCATION is also about
those things, but itís shorter, faster and much, much darker. The luminous
imagery and dissolves of the earlier film have been replaced by fragmentary
splashes of color separated by harsh, jagged edits.
Much of what we see is disturbing--a naked man wielding a knife in
distinctly ritualistic fashion, a cat with its eyes sewn shut, a man dancing in
an endless circle around a satanic altar. Such imagery, combined with Mick
Jaggerís caterwauling synthesizer music, conjures an aura of evil and madness in
which dark magick holds sway.
The film is also quite evocative of a specific time and place, namely San
Franciscoís Haight-Ashbery district in the late sixties. Anger includes
frequent snippets of Vietnam War and Rolling Stones concert footage to
illustrate this point, along with many psychedelic effects (superimpositions,
step-printing, etc.) common to the time. The film may not be pleasant, but it
is fascinating and deeply haunting.
INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER
Director/Producer/Screenwriter/Cinematographer/Editor: Kenneth Anger
Cast: Speed Hacker, Lenore Kandel, William Kandel, Kenneth Anger, Van Leuven,
Harvey Bialy, Timotha Bialy, Anton Szandor LaVey, Bobby BeauSoleil