Crowley is an interesting film written by Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden. It merges alchemy, sci-fi, occultism, fantasy and horror elements into a thought-provoking tale of dark magic. Dickinson’s knowledge of the occult legend, Aleister Crowley, and his knowledge of the art of alchemy, become the catalysts for this twisted storyline. It has the feel and look of perhaps an old Hammer Film crossed with the bizarreness of the 1980’s Gordon/Yuzna films. While it is not scary in the horror sense, it is intriguing as a perverse spectacle and character study of the real Crowley.
Aleister Crowley, by way of a quantum physics VR computer at Cambridge University, forces his way back from the dead to take over the physical body of the quiet Professor Haddo (Simon Callow). He now has three days to perform the ‘chemical wedding’ ritual and cement himself in the world of the here-and-now. As he prepares for this ritual he also indulges in an array of extreme perversions including (amongst many); urinating on his college students during a big university lecture and initiating a massive orgy at one off-campus group meeting. Lia, a young reporter for the university newspaper, is always on the prowl for a good story and thinks she has found the big one with Professor Haddo’s sudden onset of strange behavior. Along with Dr. Joshua Mathers, one of the co-inventors of the VR machine, they set out to discover what has taken over Professor Haddo and inevitably work together to try and stop Crowley. They struggle to halt the madman from completing his ritual but they are always one step behind. As it turns out, Lia is a much more important aspect to the ritual than they would ever fathom.
Through this movie we get a glimpse into the mind and provocative beliefs of the real Aleister Crowley, including his strange interpretations of the Catholic Bible and his views on resurrection. He was dubbed with the title of “the wickedest man in the world,” and often referred to himself as “The Beast”. The occultist who’s conflicts with the Catholic Church and even L. Ron Hubbard brought him international attention during his life, passed away in the 1940’s. He vowed to his followers that he would return.
The Music Connection: In the mid 1970’s Crowley ’s Mansion was purchased by Jimmy Page leading to rumors that Led Zeppelin dabbled in witchcraft. Ozzy Osbourne’s premier solo CD, Blizzard of Ozz, included the legendary song Mr. Crowley. There was a photo of Aleister Crowley included in the montage of the Beatles, Sgt. Peppers album (back row, 2nd from left). A solo Cd from Iron Maiden vocalist, Bruce Dickinson titled, The Chemical Wedding was a concept album exploring the possibilities and legends of alchemy.