Julian Doyle’s Chemical Wedding

 

This was the official for Julian Doyle’s Chemical Wedding, the film based on a screenplay by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson.
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There’s some good stuff on there, lots of cool Satanic imagery, but I know what you really want is moving pictures, right? See trailer below.

For those unclear, Chemical Wedding is the story of a shy college professor who accidentally resurrects famed Satanist Aleister Crowley, who then proceeds to use the professor as a vessel to carry on his evil works.

The year 2000, Cambridge University, Dr Joshua Mathers' state-of-the-art virtual reality suit is being linked to the world's biggest super computer, the Z93. Local programmer, and occult obsessive Victor Neumann has been secretly uploading all of late Edwardian magician Aleister Crowley's black magic ceremonies into the Z93 in binary form, with the intention of fusing science and magic with the help of his accomplice, the stuttering Classics lecturer Dr Oliver Haddo. Haddo enters the suit without realising that Mathers has made it 'intelligent' by adding a random chaos equation into the mix and the result is his transformation into Crowley himself. In order to reinstate his place on Earth he must perform the ultimate occult ritual, the Chemical Wedding within 3 days...

 

 

REVIEWS

 

Moving from one genre to another this film shatters all Hollywood formulae
9/10
Author: joloplondon from United Kingdom
22 June 2008
*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A strange film, probably because it comes from Monty Python's editor, so although it is generally serious, it often has very funny moments mixed with Python's gross surrealism. If you gasped at the exploding fat man in Meaning of Life – wait till you see the magic spell involving the fax machine. The film is about the reincarnation of the legendary Magus, Aleister Crowley, (dubbed the Wickedest man in the World) who has influenced such varied people as the Beatles, Charles Manson and Winston Churchill. It was Crowley who invented the V sign for Churchill. Even Bond author Ian Fleming, who worked for Naval Intelligence, suggested Crowley, to use his occultism against the Nazis.

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

We then fast forward to the end of the 20th Century, Cambridge University, where scientist Dr Joshua Mathers is about to integrate a super-cooled computer, with the human brain. But assistant programmer, Dr Neuman, is an obsessive follower of Aleister Crowley, and has reduced his occult rites to a series of quantum equations. Bumbling academic, Professor Haddo, (Simon Callow – 4 Weddings and a Funeral) desperate to get inside the mind of the long-dead Magus volunteers himself for integration. Unknown to Mathers, that night the experiment begins. Next morning Haddo has undergone a dramatic transformation, His head shaved and now strident and arrogant he gives a lecture about Hamlet where he announces he is the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley and proceeds to quote Crowley's Shakespearean parody 'To pee, or not to pee.' He then outrageously pees on the front row of the students. Yes you heard it right! Crowley always claimed he would rise from the dead and from this point on Haddo, begins playing out all Crowley's most bizarre rituals, from his orgies involving Sexual Magic to showing his distaste by crapping on the Dean's desk. (supposedly the original Crowley's calling card for his enemies) The central part of the film is almost impossible to describe since it moves from theories of quantum physics, to occultism, to conspiracies all with a wonderfully outrageous central performance by Simon Callow. Richard the Third pales into insignificance.

Finally, concealed in a Masonic Temple, Haddo plans to perform Crowley's most powerful rite, the Chemical Wedding, to fix himself in time. Only Dr. Mathers, in the science lab, has the knowledge to stop him. There then follows a wonderful battle between ancient magic and modern science, which results in a twist ending that would be bad to reveal here.

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

 

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Philip French
Saturday 31 May 2008

Chemical Wedding (107 mins, 18)
Directed by Julian Doyle; starring Simon Callow, Kal Weber, John Shrapnel, Lucy Cudden, Jud Charlton, Paul McDowell

The feature debut of Julian Doyle, Chemical Wedding is one of the most bizarre movies to come out of a British studio in recent years. The plot is labyrinthine and involves the spirit of the monstrous black magician Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) entering the body of a mild Cambridge classics professor, Dr Haddo (Simon Callow), and transforming him into a megalomaniac Mr Hyde.

Stylistically, it resembles a demented version of those Hammer Studios occult horror flicks based on black magic novels by Dennis Wheatley, a writer much influenced, in his fiction at least, by Crowley's personality and works. There are references to Einstein, L Ron Hubbard, Stephen Hawking, black holes, alchemy, quantum physics, along with much copulation, masturbation, urination, decapitation and mortification.

It's unintentionally funny and indifferently acted, except by Simon Callow, who gives a barnstorming performance that seems to be an attempt to rival Donald Wolfit and Henry Irving in The Bells. But it's never boring.

 

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Genre: Horror / Thriller
Released: 2008
Director: Julian Doyle
Starring: Simon Callow , Esmé Bianco, Robert Ashby, Thomas Nelstrop, Sean Rea, Geoff Breton, Helen Millar, Mike Shannon, Richard Franklin, Terence Bayler, John Shrapnel, Paul McDowell, Jud Charlton, Lucy Cudden, Kal Weber

Run time: 104 min.

Very poor script / Poor acting.

Chemical Wedding 'The Wickedest Man in the World' Aleister Crowley is reincarnated in the body of a bumbling Cambridge don in this sci-fi horror summoned up by Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson Aleister Crowley and Lafayette Ron Hubbard. Now there are two names to conjure with: the notorious occultist and the demonised father of Scientology. Both pioneers in their way, both fully aware of the other, sharing an initiate in the shape of controversial 1940s American rocket scientist Jack Parsons. A film featuring Crowley and L Ron arguing the theological toss would be a fascinating prospect, but although the association is alluded to, and quietly dropped, that's not what we get here....

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