Chemical Wedding Update

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A new, rather amateurish publicity video for the movie: (Thanks to mutat…) No prizes for spotting errors of fact and spelling.

Also, read on for a fascinating account by long-term LAShTAL.COM correspondent Frater FS of the special showing of the movie yesterday in the UK…
AS a film it has been lampooned in several national newspapers as “so bad it’s good” and unintentionally hilarious. But Julian Doyle, director of Chemical Wedding, let a small group of cinema goers in a secret on Sunday night – relax, it’s supposed to be funny.

Doyle spoke before a showing at the film at the Rex Cinema, an art deco gem of a cinema on Berkhamsted High Street in Hertfordshire.

As a film maker, Doyle is steeped in that most British of comic traditions: Monty Python. His credits including special effects photography on Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Python spin-off The Rutles; and editor on The Meaning of Life. The sci-fi horror overtones of Chemical Wedding become more comprehensible when you note that Doyle was an editor on Time Bandits and particularly 1985’s Brazil, a black satire on dystopian technology.

In fact, you might have thought yourself at a Python conference during Doyle’s 20-minute talk. Using his own mini projector he showed some never-used extracts from Life of Brian, including a cameo role by George Harrison who had put up much of the finance (he appears to announce a crucifixion during a crowd scene). The much earlier Holy Grail was, he revealed, funded with cash from “EMI, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin”. It also emerged much of the Knights of the Round table spoof was filmed on Hampstead Heath.

So far so droll, but what of Crowley? Doyle said Bruce Dickinson suggested the film while he (Doyle) was making a video with the band – at that point the working title was The Number of the Beast. Doyle himself said: “I didn’t know much about Crowley myself and wasn’t much interested.”

However, he felt that Crowley – “a mad, amazing, fantastic character” – needed just such a film treatment to capture something of his life.

“When you watch this film, remember I am from the Monty Python tradition”, said Doyle, cueing in the film; “Points of it are meant to be funny.”

Well, students of comedy are unlikely to repeat the energised enthusiasm sketch like the Dead Parrot. But seen through that lens – and Brazil is perhaps stylistically closer than any other movie – Chemical Wedding begins to make more sense. Crowley, lover of riddles and occasionally lavatorial humour himself, would surely have approved!

(c) 2008 Frater FS

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