The Beast based baddy in new Sherlock Holmes movie.
passportmagazine.com, contains an article about a new Sherlok Holmes movie to be released around x-mas this year, with a villain inspired by Aleister Crowley.
http://www.passportmagazine.com/departments/SherlockHolmes768.php "Globetrotting Sherlock Holmes’ Gay London" by Gretchen Kelly:
"The film was shot on location in Manchester and London with lots of local color and a new villain whose inspiration was the bisexual magician and self-proclaimed “beast 666,” Aleister Crowley.
Using a Crowley-inspired villain and Victorian underground settings like Golden Dawn orgies and public wrestling pits adds a distinct whiff of rough trade to Sherlock Holmes. If purists argue that Ritchie is taking liberties, scholars have argued for years that the “real” Sherlock was a solitary, stylish bachelor with a coke habit and a bear for a best friend."
http://www.passportmagazine.com/departments/SherlockHolmes768.php?pagenum=1 [same source second page of article:]
"A short tube stop away, St. Paul’s Cathedral was the last stop on my Sherlock Holmes tour of London. It is here, in the film, that Robert Downey Jr.’s Holmes chases a very vile Mark Strong down a spiral staircase to a crypt where nefarious doings are going on. In the film, the character is the leader of a cult called the Golden Dawn. In real life, the Golden Dawn was helmed by bisexual author, Aleister Crowley, who is still an underground hero to goths, witches, and wiccans worldwide.
Crowley, who famously wrote, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” is the inspiration for the villain Lord Blackwood in Sherlock Holmes.
Crowley’s cult, the Golden Dawn, did not practice satanic rituals at the bottom of the spiral staircase in St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was a well-established order of occultists that included Oscar Wilde’s one-time fiancée Florence Farr and William Butler Yeats. Crowley began his association with London’s underground occultists (gay, straight, and bisexual) as a young man in Victorian London while living on Chancery Lane in the City—a location just a stone’s throw away from the site where the real Sweeney Todd had practiced his own brand of barbarism. There, in a small flat, Crowley began writing poems and stories advocating sexual self-expression for inclusion in the underground newspapers and literary journals of the day. Other famous gay writers and artists who knew and socialized with Crowley at the time included Aubrey Beardsley, Ernest Dowson (who wrote the poem “The Days of Wine and Roses”), and Maugham, who was so taken by “The Beast,” that he wrote an entire novel, The Magician, based on Crowley."
"Today, Chancery Lane is a lot more buttoned down than it would have been in Crowley’s day when a motley crew of bohemian writers from Fleet Street would pass by for a drink at pubs like The Blue Anchor (35 Chancery Lane, London. Tel. +44-20-8748-5774.). The Blue Anchor is still there, although today you’ll be more likely to encounter a local lawyer having a pint after a court case than a self-styled bisexual magician."
"Wilde and Conan Doyle, Crowley, and even the fictional Holmes, however, would never have been able to sleuth out how the private “life” that once existed only in shadows and fog and behind closed doors would one day burst out of the closet into the daylight and onto the streets, where Oscar’s friend Mrs. Patrick Campbell claimed it would certainly “frighten the horses. [Published: December, 2009].”
http://thefilmstage.com/2009/05/06/new-sherlock-holmes-photos-trailer-news/ , contains the following on Crowley: "Mark Strong plays the film’s villain Lord Blackwood, an industrialist based on real-life occultist Aleister Crowley, who “holds sway over a cult of dark-arts practitioners and claims to possess supernatural powers, is linked to a series of murders."
And http://www.worstpreviews.com/review.php?id=1350§ion=preview has this: "Producer Lional Wigram is the Holmes fan who birthed the project, convincing Warner to develop it by producing a short (and never published) graphic novel depicting Holmes as a more bohemian, unkempt whip-wielding character…more as he was in the books, in other words. "The Descent" director Neil Marshall was originally going to direct, but Ritchie eventually took over the project for reasons that aren't clear. The story is from Wigram's graphic novel. It is not taken from any specific Holmes story, but is instead a kind of pastiche of Holmes's brand of adventure coupled with the Victorian obsession with the occult and spirituality. The villain, Lord Blackwood (played by Ritchie stableman Mark Strong) isn't a Doyle character but an amalgam of a number of Holmes's adversaries, also said to be inspired by real Victorian occultist Aleister Crowley."
http://www.thesherlockholmesmovie.com/sherlock-holmes-makes-the-detective-a-troubled-action-hero/ [This is a link to the offical site for the movie, containing the following on Crowley:]
"“Every single thing we have Sherlock Holmes do comes from the books,” adds Wigram, who often sounds like a walking Holmes encyclopedia, able to annotate which book provided which detail for the movie. This said, the film, which hits theaters on Christmas Day, follows none of Conan Doyle’s stories, which were deemed too small, but presents Holmes battling the ominous Lord Blackwood, a figure inspired by the Victorian occultist Aleister Crowley.
“We live in the world of big event movies. The stakes have to be huge. You have to have an extra supernatural element,” says Wigram.
The screenplay was written by Michael Robert Johnson, Anthony Peckham ( “Invictus”) and Simon Kinberg (”Mr. and Mrs. Smith”), who came on during production to modernize Holmes by making him more mischievous and irreverent.“"
Picture of The Beast based bady in the movie:
Well this looked interesting until I saw the name of the director, Guy Ritchie ! ! This is the person responsible for several appalling 'Carry on Gangster' type films. I have just been watching the trailer of his 'Sherlock Holmes' it looks awful. Perhaps I will wait a bit until I find the DVD at a car boot sale.
The usual sort of stuff in TimesLive: 'The film's chief villain, Lord Blackwood (Mark Strong), is a man obsessed with seizing power by occult means. He's a devious necromancer whose character is based on that of Aleister Crowley, who was fascinated with "the Dark Arts" and known as "the Beast".'
Sherlock Holmes gets a makeover: http://www.timeslive.co.za/entertainment/movies/article246683.ece
Owner and Editor
I think Blackwood was based less on Crowley and more on Madonna. Somewhere in Ritchie's subconscious.
Some of you may also recall a film released some years back called “Young Sherlock Holmes” - where villainy was similarly portrayed in the guise of an occult order led by a Crowley-esque baddie. Perhaps Holmes’ status as an archetype for the primacy of Reason & scientific method in the Industrial Age requires such a practitioner of Magick to represent his antithesis: the master sleuth pitted against a nefarious charlatan playing upon superstitious fears, whose conjurations are inevitably debunked by the supreme logical intellect. It’s as if the two hemispheres of the human brain were at war, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s protagonist were being co-opted for propagandistic ends the same way Nostradmus gets recycled every time another ‘enemy’ threatens to topple civilization. Wonder how Moriarty will fare in the sequel...
Never thought I would have to stick up for Guy Ritchie on this site but I certainly will.
I think he is the most entertaining director around, love all his stuff and just watched Rock'n'Rolla for the tenth time
with my son last night and I hope he makes 100 more fun movies...
Just in case you ever drop in on the site Guy thanks for the laughs...
I saw this film a couple of days ago, and unfortunately it's exactly what you'd expect a Hollywood version of Holmes to be: lots of impossible explosions, fight sequences, chases, etc. In terms of Holmes' "deductions", this is done in much the same exaggerated style, without any real effort at plausibility. Put simply, it's a burlesque version of Sherlock Holmes, but the jokes aren't funny and the characters are annoyingly smug and self-satisfied, in a sub-Russell T. Davies style.
As for the villain, we know he's evil because he wants to recapture the American colonies and, after revealing his evil plan, roasts the American Ambassador, who had previously been absurdly crow-barred into a previous scene in what is perhaps the only genuinely funny moment in the film (unintentionally so). I didn't notice any references to Crowley, except possibly the bit about the murders being committed around London in the shape of a pentagram, which could (I suppose) refer to Crowley's probably invented story about the Ripper.
As an admirer of both the original Conan Doyle stories (all of which I've read and enjoyed thoroughly) and also the Jeremy Brett TV adaptations (Brett almost went bats**t trying to do the definitive Holmes), I found nothing in this film to enjoy. It's particularly annoying the way the writers have picked up on a tiny bit in one of the original stories to justify turning Holmes into an action hero, but the bankruptcy of their script is pretty obvious if you consider what it would have been like if "action man" Steven Seagal had played Holmes instead of a smirking Robert Downey Jr. (and the same goes for any Russell T. Davies adaptation, by the way). This is a bit like Inspector Morse driving around very fast in an XJ220 for two hours flirting with Lewis, stopping occasionally to beat up a suspect. The plot, such as it is, is totally preposterous and therefore tedious. Previous credits for the Sherlock Holmes screenwriters include "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" and "X-Men: The Last Stand", neither of which I will ever see.
Normally tending strongly towards free-market libertarianism, this film reminds me of the usefulness of trade tariffs to prevent inferior foreign goods from saturating the market and destroying native industries. At the same time I'm hedging my bets by preparing a screenplay of a 19-year-old bisexual Miss Marple, recently departed from St. Trinian's, who (instead of subtly interrogating the witnesses over cups of tea with a ball of knitting) solves mysteries by seducing all the characters one by one until she figures out the plot, then takes the law into her own hands and kills the murderer Nemesis-style in a sassy, knowing and postmodern self-parodic manner. I'll justify it by pointing out to indignant Agatha Christie readers that it's clearly stated in the books that Miss Marple is a woman who solves crimes, is unmarried and tends to socialise with women, and that in many of the books the murderers end up dead. Any criticism is just "ageist" nonsense or prudery.
At the current rate of progress, I expect Gilbert and Sullivan to come back into fashion in about 10 years time, but this can only happen when the people who write these scripts develop some integrity and honesty and realise they're writing burlesque without the music, the jokes or the sense of realism.
So you wouldn't recommend it then Ian?
If we're talking Crowley in fiction, I preferred your Buffy pastiche. As for Holmes pastiche, it's notoriously difficult to do it well...
P.S. I thought "Chemical Wedding" was f***ing awful too, and I think somebody really ought to consult me on these matters before publication/release to avoid further embarrassments.