Weekend links 490

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An engraving from The Geometric Landscapes of Lorenz Stoer (1567).

• Curtis Harrington’s cult horror film, Night Tide (1961), receives a lavish blu-ray reissue from Powerhouse in January. The limited edition will include an extra disc of Harrington’s early short films which encompass Poe adaptations and also Wormwood Star, his portrait of occult artist (and actor in Night Tide) Marjorie Cameron.

• “He was the first American representative of an electronic sound that was largely coming from Europe, from bands like Kraftwerk, or producers like Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte…” Jude Rogers on Patrick Cowley.

Clive Hicks-Jenkins examines Hans Poelzig’s and Marlene Moeschke’s work on Paul Wegener’s 1920 film of The Golem. Wegener’s film is released this month in a restored blu-ray edition by Eureka.

• “Conrad was uncompromising in his beliefs until the end, sticking to his ideals with tenacious fervor.” Geeta Dayal on Tony Conrad: Writings, edited by Constance DeJong and
Andrew Lampert.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: 47 dead films. One of the films, Hu-Man (1975), a French science-fiction drama starring Terence Stamp, isn’t as dead as was assumed.

• The Danske Filminstitut has made a collection of Danish silent films available to watch for free online.

• The Last Time I Saw John Giorno, an Extraordinary Performance Poet by Mark Dery.

• “Like looking through butterfly wings”: Ira Cohen’s Mylar chamber—in pictures.

Callum James reviews the Early Poetical Works of Aleister Crowley.

• Drawing the Gaze: Revisiting Don’t Look Now by Jesse Miksic.

• Mix of the week: FACT Mix 745 by Visible Cloaks.

Mind Warp (1982) by Patrick Cowley | Go-Go Golem (1986) by Golem Orchestra | Night Tide (1995) by Scorn

Weekend links 420

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• I’ve wondered for years why there was such a difference in quality between Plight & Premonition (1988) and Flux + Mutability (1989), a pair of instrumental albums by David Sylvian and Holger Czukay. The former warrants repeated listening while the latter…doesn’t. David Sylvian‘s reminiscences about the recording sessions are enlightening.

• “There’s something evil and dangerous that is too old to comprehend.” Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead, directors of The Endless, talk to Virginie Sélavy about the creepiness of recorded media, the science of the supernatural and their belated readings of HP Lovecraft.

• “I hope my site will inspire people to see the world a different way,” says Nicolas Winding Refn, writing about the forthcoming launch of byNWR.com, a home for his collection of restored cult films. Good to see Night Tide (1961) by Curtis Harrington among the titles.

Dennis Cooper‘s favourite fiction, poetry, non-fiction, film, art, and internet of 2018 so far. Thanks again for the link here! Also: Laura Dern Day.

• Mixes of the week: FACT Mix 660 by 7FO, and Light Entertainment Programme: PRExotica 1914–1952 by Jesús Bacalão.

David Bennun on thirty years of the animated masterpiece that is Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira.

Diane Mehta on the rare women in the rare book trade. Related: Pyewacket Books.

• At Greydogtales: One hundred years of Philip José Farmer.

• In Paris, an omnivorous Asian phantasmagoria.

• The Strange World of…Jon Hassell.

Night Tide (1994) by Scorn | Dark Noontide (2002) by Six Organs Of Admittance | Flowery Noontide (2004) by Espers

Weekend links 411

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The Temple of Love (1911–24) by Herbert E. Crowley.

• My film viewing in the 1980s involved a considerable amount of backtracking: watching any film noir that turned up on the TV while chasing the early works of David Cronenberg, and various “New Hollywood” classics on television or at repertory cinemas (when such things were still plentiful). Contemporary fare by comparison was often a lot less attractive, although I’d be waiting for new work from David Lynch and Nicolas Roeg while pursuing obscurities (usually the banned or censored) on videotape. Popular films seldom generated actual loathing but throughout the decade I nurtured a persistent hatred for the works of John Hughes, an animus that can still return today when I read yet another nostalgic article about his oeuvre.

The monoculture of the 1980s was writ large on American cinema of the decade. From Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscle-rippling actioners to John Hughes’s adolescent confections, bombastic, generally upbeat films characterised the decade of the yuppie.

Christina Newland offers a welcome riposte to the pastel-hued retrospectives in a piece entitled “Reagan’s bastard children: the lost teens of 1980s American indie films”. While not exclusively teen pictures, I’d have mentioned three low-budget films written by Eric Red: The Hitcher (1986), Near Dark (1987) and Cohen and Tate (1989).

The Temple of Silence: Forgotten Works & Worlds of Herbert Crowley is a lavish (and costly) study of the strange comic strips and incredibly detailed drawings of Herbert E. Crowley (1873–1937). Mark Newgarden interviewed Justin Duerr about rescuing Crowley’s art from undeserved neglect. I missed an earlier interview by Steven Heller with Temple of Silence publisher Josh O’Neill. There’s more: The Wiggle Much a Tumblr devoted to Crowley’s comic strips and other artwork. (Ta to Jay for the tip!)

Pandemic is an interactive film by John Bradburn for The Science Museum. “A pandemic is causing heart failure–how far will you go to create a pig/human hybrid to provide donor organs?” The multiple choice begins at YouTube; there’s also a behind the scenes feature at the Museum blog, and a trailer. Anyone who remembers a certain scene in Lindsay Anderson’s O Lucky Man! may hesitate before playing.

Given the plain palette of so much 1969–70 rock—jammed-out bluesy boogie in the Canned Heat and Allman Brothers mode, nasal pseudo-country harmony singing à la CSN&Y and their afterbirth—it is tempting to imagine an entirely alternative history for rock. It’s a parallel world where Fifty Foot Hose’s Cauldron, United States of America’s self-titled album and synthedelic oddities from Syrinx, Silver Apples, Beaver & Krause and Tonto’s Expanding Head Band were just the run-up to a giant leap into the electronic future.

Simon Reynolds in an excellent piece on one of my favourite musical sub-genres, electronic psychedelia

• The week in animated film: Emerald Rush, a video for an extract from Jon Hopkins’ new album, Singularity; Awaken Akira, a short homage to Katsuhiro Otomo’s graphic novel/film by Ash Thorp and Zaoeyo; Extra (1996), a video by one of the Akira animators, Koji Morimoto, for music by Ken Ishii.

Tenebrous Kate on The Powers of Darkness & The Powers of the Mind: The Legacy of Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon. Related: a look at the film’s shooting script and pressbook.

• At Dangerous Minds: John Gray, the pre-Bosie lover of Oscar Wilde, and the man whose surname is memorialised in Wilde’s most famous creation, Dorian Gray.

• Skewing the Picture: China Miéville posts the full text of an essay from 2016 about the rural weird.

• Share a pastrami sandwich with TED Klein in Episode 65 of Eating the Fantastic.

• More Hodgsoniana: The Land of Lonesomeness, a short story by Sam Gafford.

• At The Quietus: Barry Miles on William Burroughs’ years in London.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Curtis Harrington Day.

Night Of The Assassins (1977?) by Les Rallizes Dénudés | Night Of The Earth (1980) by Chrome | Night Of The Swallow (1982) by Kate Bush

Occult gestures

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Dean Stockwell freaks out: The Dunwich Horror (1970).

I’m off to the NecronomiCon later this month so HP Lovecraft and all his works will be a predominant theme for the next couple of weeks. I’m also extremely busy right now so posts may tend to be brief.

One of the films showing in Providence for the convention is Daniel Haller’s 1970 production of The Dunwich Horror. I have a low tolerance for bad horror films, and this is a bad one despite being closer to its source than other AIP quickies. Dean Stockwell plays Wilbur Whateley whose goatish qualities are here reduced to a gesture which even the filmmakers may not have known as “the Horns of Pan”, a borrowing from the famous photo of Aleister Crowley in his magician’s robes. I noted an earlier borrowing of this gesture some time ago after stumbling upon an obscure silent film serial, The Mysteries of Myra. The use in The Dunwich Horror provides another odd link between Lovecraft and Crowley, and makes me wonder whether any other films have nodded to Crowley in this way.

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Aleister Crowley in 1912.

Another stray connection worth noting: Dean Stockwell was good friends with Dennis Hopper, and the pair are described in a number of sources as living for a while in a house run by Marjorie Cameron, an artist with a direct connection to Crowley via her husband, Jack Parsons. This may be rumour but Hopper and Cameron did appear together in Curtis Harrington’s beguiling Night Tide in 1961.

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Finally, the gesture appears again on the cover of the soundtrack album which AIP smartly titled Music of the Devil God Cult: Strange Sounds from Dunwich. The title was too much for easy-listening maestro Les Baxter to live up to but he does have the distinction of being the first composer to record a piece of music entitled Necronomicon.

Previously on { feuilleton }
NecronomiCon Providence 2015
The horror
Die Farbe and The Colour Out of Space
The Mysteries of Myra

More Songs for the Witch Woman

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This month I’ve been enjoying the latest quality publication from Fulgur, Songs for the Witch Woman, the centrepiece of which is a cover-to-cover reproduction of the book of occult poetry and art created by Jack Parsons and Marjorie Cameron in the early 1950s. It’s been a great pleasure in recent years seeing the welling of interest in Cameron’s work. In 2001 when I was compiling notes for an abandoned study of occult cinema, Cameron as artist, witch or mere human being was a shadowy presence about whom nothing substantial seemed to have been written; her art was impossible to see anywhere, all one had were fleeting references in books, and her appearances in The Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome and Curtis Harrington’s Night Tide, a pair of films that only exaggerated her mystique. The intervening years have seen a lifting of successive veils so we’re now able to watch Curtis Harrington’s film portrait, The Wormwood Star, and see her work in books and exhibitions like this one (also titled Songs for the Witch Woman) which will be showing at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles from mid-October. As an early precursor to that there’s this feature by Robert Garrova at SPRC which includes comments about the exhibition from organisers Scott Hobbs and Yael Lipschutz.

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Pan: art by Cameron, poem by Parsons.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Songs for the Witch Woman
More Cameron
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome: The Eldorado Edition
The Wormwood Star
Street Fair, 1959
House of Harrington
Curtis Harrington, 1926–2007
The art of Cameron, 1922–1995