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Askew Review 15

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(Fantoma) 94 minutes. Not rated, brief nudity. Born Feb 3, 1927, Kenneth Anger was one of the first openly gay filmmakers and is a fixture in the underground avant-garde film scene and author. This collection includes: Scorpio Rising (1964, 28 min), Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965, 3 min), Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969, 11 min), Rabbit’s Moon (1979, 7 min), Lucifer Rising (1981, 28 min), The Man We Want to Hang (2002, 14 min).
  Because they are knee deep with symbolism and I am simply just not that deep, none of the above five short films made much sense to me, but I sill enjoyed them enough to write this review and even do bsome actual research. To me, the history of some of the shorts are more interesting than the shorts themselves. Scorpio Rising invloves bikes and Coney Island bikers, is backed with a cool soundtrack of 13 popular songs from 1959-64 (
Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, The Rondelles, Bobby Vinton, etc), and was denounced by both the L.A.P.D. and the American Nazi Party. Now that’s what I call an accomplishment!  Mick Jagger composed the synthesizer soundtrack for Invocation of My Demon Brother. Anger hired Jimmy Page to write and perform the soundtrack for Lucifer Rising, but when it was delivered three years late and minutes short, Anger ditched Page and used music written and recorded by Bobby Beausoleil (Charles Manson family associate) while in prison. The Jimmy page soundtrack was later illegally released, but lawsuits put an end to that nonsense. This version of Rabbit’s Moon is the shorter version found on Volume 1 and is about mimes and shot with a blue tint. For The Man We Want to Hang, Anger filmed a number of artwork by Occultist Aleister Crowley. The shorts are hard to review because 100 viewers will have 100 thoughts and opinions, and I have my own. However, I shall not bore you with my silly words concerning Kenneth Anger’s work, other than offering that I am unsure if these shorts are gay themed or if they just have a gay slant due to being directed by a gay man. There is insightful commentary by Kenneth Anger for each of the shorts and a very nice, high quality 48-page book is included with the DVD. – Denis Sheehan



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