Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 1st, 2007
Theatrical Release Date: USA, 1964 (Scorpio Rising), USA, 1965 (Kustom Kar Kommandos), USA, 1969 (Invocation Of My Demon Brother), USA, (Rabbit’s Moon 1979 version), USA, 1981 (Lucifer Rising)
Director: Kenneth Anger
DVD released: October 2nd, 2007
Approximate running time: 95 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Full Frame
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Fantoma Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.98
Kenneth Anger is one of the most influential avant-garde filmmakers of the twentieth century. He was a former child actor turned filmmaker. His early works made prior to making his break out film Fireworks have all been lost forever. Anger also gained notoriety as one of cinema’s first openly homosexual filmmakers. His films are filled with surreal and occult imagery. Many of his films have been inspired by the works of occultist Aleister Crowley. His scandalous book about the darker side of Hollywood titled “Hollywood Babylon” helped further his notorious rise to fame. After the release of his film Senators in Bondage Anger would take a self imposed break from filmmaking that would last nearly twenty five years until the release of his next film’s Don’t Smoke That Cigarette and Ich will! Both released in the year 2000. In recent years Kenneth Anger continues create his unique style of art that continues to fascinate each new generation who indulge themselves in his work.
Scorpio Rising: Is a story about a gang of sexual adventurous members of a motorcycle gang! The soundtrack for Scorpio Rising is a collection of 1950’s Rock N’ Roll songs like “My Boyfriend is Back”, “Heat wave” and “Blue Velvet”. Visually Kenneth Anger occupies the frame with iconic imagery like Nazi Swastikas and images of pop icons like Marlon Brando and James Dean. Once again the main time running through Scorpio Rising like most of Kenneth Anger’s films is that of homosexuality. The biker party scene features many moments that are still as shocking today as when this film first premiered over forty years before. Ultimately Scorpio Rising is Kenneth Anger is film that has not lost any of its power and in many ways it subject matter is even more powerful today then ever.
Kustom Kar Kommandos: A boy works on his customized automobile. This is the shortest film included in this collection with a running time of just barley over three minutes. The film is essentially a boy working on and detailing his dream car. The way this one is photographed and pieced together is vivid like a dream.
Invocation Of My Demon Brother: This one is an abandon version of Lucifer Rising which includes footage of footage from the abandon project and footage of Kenneth Anger on stage in a religious like setting. The abstract score was composed by Mick Jagger who also makes a very brief appearance in the film. The footage that remains with the films lead actor Bobby Beausoleil is some of Kenneth Angers most striking and provocative. Ultimately Invocation of My Demon Brother is a very powerful experiment in filmmaking that succeeds even despite of its many short comings.
Rabbit’s Moon 1979 version: Is a tale about a mime named Pierrot and his unattainable quest for happiness which he thinks he will find if he could only get closer to rabbit on the moon. This is the shorter seven minute version of Rabbit’s Moon which features different music and shots. The end result of this shorter reedit in not a powerful as the longer sixteen minute version.
Lucifer Rising: This is a story about members of a cult who try to summon Satan to return to Earth. This short film more then any other Kenneth Anger film is blessed with many great location like erupting volcanoes in Iceland and pyramids in Egypt. The films sinter score was composed by Bobby Beausoleil who years before was incarcerated for murder which lead to the earlier version of Lucifer Rising known as Invocation Of My Demon Brother. Visually the images are equally haunting and enchanting. Ultimately is Kenneth Angers most polished and ambitious film to date.
All six short films included in this collection (Scorpio Rising, Kustom Kar Kommandos, Invocation of My Demon Brother, Rabbit’s Moon 1979 version, Lucifer Rising and The Man We Want to Hang) are in their original 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratios. Just like the previous collection of shorts from Fantoma these six short films has gone under extensive restorations. The short films included in this collection have never looked as good on home video.
All six shorts come with only one audio option. There is no spoken dialog all the shorts are accompanied by music which plays through out them. The soundtracks sound clear and free of any audio defects.
Extras for this release include a 48 page booklet with color inserts, essay written by Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin and Bobby Beausoleil, a Short film titled “The Man We Want to Hang” and audio commentaries with director Kenneth Anger for the six short films. The audio commentaries are full of insight and in many regards they are just as entertaining as the short films in this collection. Fantoma Films latest volume of films from avant-garde filmmaker Kenneth Anger picks up right where its predecessor the films of Kenneth Anger Volume 1 left off. The films of Kenneth Anger Volume 2 is one of most impressive and important DVD releases of the year, highly recommended.