Kenneth Anger is a legendary underground filmmaker, actor, chronicler of 1960s Hollywood scandals, and devoted follower of occultist Aleister Crowley. He's perhaps best known for his book Hollywood Babylon (1965) and the Magick Lantern Cycle of films, including the above Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), Scorpio Rising (1963), and Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969). In the 50s, 60s, and 70s, he palled around with then-marginal characters like Alfred Kinsey, Tennessee Williams, Jimmy Page, Marianne Faithful, and Keith Richards. Esquire UK's Mick Brown recently spent two days in Los Angeles with Anger, now 86 years old.
Anger developed an interest in Hollywood macabre at an early age. The actress Thelma Todd lived just a couple of blocks from Anger’s family home, and when, in 1935, she was found dead in her garage of apparent asphyxiation (nobody could explain the blood on her face...), he went over to watch them take out the body: “I was always doing things like that.”
An unusual hobby….
“Well, other boys collected stamps… The fact was, I was in Hollywood and all these things were happening. I thought they were bizarre and interesting.”
He began to assemble an unrivalled collection of newspaper reports and photographs – gossip sheet tittle-tattle, police blotter notes, publicity stills, morgue shots, etc.