Kenneth Anger, experimental filmmaker and occultist, RIP

Kenneth Anger, the groundbreaking experimental filmmaker and occultist, has died. He was 96. Anger's visionary approach and integration of magick into his life and work is best embodied by Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969) and Lucifer Rising (1972). Those films and others in Anger's Magick Lantern Cycle were thematically based in the teachings of Aleister Crowley and visually amplified by the era's vibrant psychedelic aesthetic. Anger's films were a major influence on David Lynch, John Waters, Martin Scorsese, and, really, the cut-up style of early MTV music videos. Anger was also the author of the Hollywood Babylon books, collecting the endless stream of rumors and gossip he heard while living in Tinsel Town. From the New York Times:

Mr. Anger embodied the love-hate relationship between underground art and mass culture. Few other avant-garde filmmakers borrowed so liberally or so subversively from popular iconography. And with his sensuous, mystical imagery and pioneering use of pop soundtracks, perhaps none saw their work so readily absorbed back into the mainstream[…]

He was intrigued by the interplay of ancient myths and pop culture. Several of his films simultaneously portray and enact rituals, using sound and editing to create trance-like, incantatory works, such as "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" (1954), which depicts a party whose guests are dressed as pagan deities. Mr. Anger likened the making of a movie to the casting of a spell.