Sunday, 12 February 2012

Scorpio Rising (1964)

"Scorpio Rising" is one of three most important Anger’s works, being crude and gritty like a coal in the same time. Still this amazing short comes across with a very peculiar social and occult agenda, concerning Aleister Crowley’s discoveries in the field of aeonic shift, which Anger harnessed to his artistic vision making great use of his reformed system of astro-psychology. Besides strictly magickal message this picture is a very enjoyable collage of "The Wild One" samples, vintage movie about Jesus Christ and homosexual-biker footage shot by Anger himself featuring fictional, outlaw MC… and you even get Elvis singing "Devil In Disguise" (great rockabilly classic). Going a little overboard you might say it was a first 60’s biker movie while it definitely had some proto-biker flick quality.

However, what makes it special is indeed it's mysterious message. Scorpio is rising… hmm? Bikers? Jesus? Elvis? How does it mingle? First of all Anger believed in a doctrine of art as magick, where every act reveals the Will, which brings Change. The movie was supposed to break open viewer’s head communicating something very significant. The old world was crumbling and the new one was being bulit! "Scorpio Rising" is in fact a prophecy of the cultural change, but to understand it better, you’ll have to inevitably dive for a second into the world of Aleister Crowley – probably the most important occultist of XXth century.

Scorpio is a zodiac sign – represented in the movie by a brute – while the sign is a symbol itself. As Crowley wrote in his books, Scorpio must be considered a fiery water element, an active one. It corresponds with Tarot Of Thoth card number XIII (Death), being ruled by "planet" Mars (symbolic representation of war and destruction instincts). As Crowley put it out, this card leads from putrefaction to exaltation, which means that element forces necessary change without a danger of being grinded in the process. Death card features a skeleton with a scythe (a biker) and a fish (Jesus), which represents swiftness and cold-blooded ability of survival. Anger played out both symbols to proclaim that in fact change will be brutal and vicious, but even if the old religions are already gone, the new energy possesses spiritual insight to lead the way. In the end he was right!

When you look at the high 60’s revolution (especially 1968), his insight comes sound and clear. Anger made his picture before the worst shit happened, but he felt the storm coming. He was even marching on Pentagon with his own platform trying to do his part. When you take all that into account, "Scorpio Rising" stands out as the only picture where speed-crazed, savage lads on choppers are being granted a spiritual status. I suppose that "The Born Losers" and "The Glory Stompers" never pulled off any correspondences of this sort, hence if you are seriously into occult cinema, this is a must-see for you!