Occult Hollywood

MrRING

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#1
I was recently watching an old film (Whistling In The Dark) which featured an occult organization meeting in fairly public circumstances in 1940's California. I've seen such things mentioned before in many media, which makes it seem like there were many such groups operating at the time.

What occult groups and new religion/fringe groups were operating in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area between the 1920's and the 1970's? I've heard the claims that an occult group with Kenneth Anger, Jack Larson, and director Curtis Harrington tried to create a homunculus.
 

escargot

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#2
What a fascinating subject. 8)

Sadly, I know nothing about it, but let's hope someone here does. :D
 

Heckler

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#3
Here's two to start you off:

The Church of the Process

See the Gary Lachman FT article here

And of course The Church of Satan the founder of which, Anton Svandor LeVey, was a close friend of Anger, however his own Occult explorations lay on a Thelemic path and the incident you mention above allegedly took place whilst he was a member of the Thelemic organisation the OTO (Order Templi Orientalis)
 

GNC

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#4
Anton LaVey was in cult favourite The Devil's Rain, too. According to IMDB he was an advisor on not so well-liked The Car (maybe he was a Satanic mechanic?).
 

MrRING

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#5
Thanks for the links. I know about the Process Church (that is a cool article tho) and Church of Satan, but I was particularly hoping to find out about the earlier groups and things that might fall under "New Religions" as well. Maybe it was only OTO at the time.

Would modern American Wicca have been first practiced in California? And was John Whiteside Parsons in the Hollywood orbit?
 

JamesWhitehead

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#7
There's loads of diabolical Hollywood stuff on YouTube. I settled back to watch a long-form doc. one night, only to discover it came from the fundiment end of humanity. Not much fun but very brown in quality.

Once upon a time, I read a lot of stuff about the relations of Crowley to Manson etc. etc. But quite a lot of it seemed to stem from the Lyndon Larouche fan-club. The project to create a "Moon-child" rings some sort of bell . . .

I think Kenneth Anger begins his first Hollywood Babylon book with a rather grandly Satanic overview of the whole unholy project but it quickly descends to an all-too-human taste for muck-raking.

His most recent film(?) Mouse Heaven, may be his most diabolical production yet, though seemingly innocuous. Can it still be seen for free on YouTube?

Oh yes it can! :evil:

I've just watched it again and I think it may be his masterpiece! Really.

edit: Some slight rephrasing.

Going back, for a moment to MrRing's original post, I am reminded of the supposed Palladian cult in Greenwich Village, which features in The Seventh Victim, one of my favourite Val Lewton pictures. The butch owner of the company gives the cult an air of Sapphism, though what it is doing advertising itself with occult designs in its packaging for a line in cosmetics, I have never been able to fathom! The Palladian name seems to have been derived from a French anti-Masonic scandal and I doubt if it throws much light on Hollywood's dark corners. :idea:
 
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#8
I saw a photo online of Marilyn Monroe sitting on Le vain's or whatever his name is, leader of the church of satanism's, lap. I also saw an unphotoshoped photo of Marilyn Monroe where she had a HUGE deep scar on her right side from an "operation" which I heard was actually unnecessary. I also believe the church of scientology was already active at the time. I also once saw a black and white movie where a woman becomes interested in the zodiac and then experiences strange occuranaces, which lead to her house being burnt down, which happens to stand by a baseball field. Go figure.
 

EnolaGaia

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#9
frostingrain said:
I saw a photo online of Marilyn Monroe sitting on Le vain's or whatever his name is, leader of the church of satanism's, lap. ...
I think that may have been Jayne Mansfield rather than Marilyn Monroe. Mansfield had a much-publicized meeting with LaVey in the mid-1960's, and some writers claim she maintained a relationship with his Church of Satan. LaVey's church issued her a certificate of membership, which is commonly claimed to have hung in her bedroom.
 

Heckler

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#10
EnolaGaia said:
I think that may have been Jayne Mansfield rather than Marilyn Monroe. Mansfield had a much-publicized meeting with LaVey in the mid-1960's, and some writers claim she maintained a relationship with his Church of Satan. LaVey's church issued her a certificate of membership, which is commonly claimed to have hung in her bedroom.
And of course she was alleged to have spurned the church and was told by LaVey that she would die by having her head cut off. She then dies in a car crash where her car goes under the back of a truck bed on a winding road at night tearing the top of the car and her head off.

Of course it's all baloney on closer examination, LaVey never mentioned his 'curse' prior to her death and the 'head' photographed at the scene by some ghoul journo was actually her blonde wig.
 

GNC

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#11
I think LaVey claimed an affair with a pre-fame Marilyn Monroe, too. At best, he was a dedicated fantasist.
 

escargot

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#12
A few years ago I went to a seminar at the Cornerhouse in Manchester on the film 'Performance', presented by CP Lee. It was all about the various intertwined musical and occult imagery in the fillum, and especially about the musicians, directors and other characters involved.

A highly impressive,er, performance, but complicated. Wish he'd written book about to take home! :D
 

MrRING

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#13
Mick Jagger did the music to one of Kenneth Anger's films (Invocation of My Demon Brother), and he was bopping around the Stones in that time period...

Here's Anger's film if you want to hear some experimental Jagger:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8EclJTIWQA

I think Bob Kane of Batman fame also claimed to have an affair with Marylin Monroe.
 

WhistlingJack

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#15
frostingrain said:
I also saw an unphotoshoped photo of Marilyn Monroe where she had a HUGE deep scar on her right side from an "operation" which I heard was actually unnecessary.
That would be one of the 1962 Bert Stern photographs, The scar was from a recent gall-bladder operation.
 

GNC

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#16
MrRING said:
Mick Jagger did the music to one of Kenneth Anger's films (Invocation of My Demon Brother), and he was bopping around the Stones in that time period...
I believe Mick dropped his new Satanist pals like a hot potato once Altamont happened. Some would see a connection, courting the Devil and all that, though I think it was more down to bad organisation of the concert.
 

Ulalume

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#17
The alleged "Laurel Canyon Conspiracy" may fit here, moreso than the conspiracy forum. As a conspiracy it's really weak, IMO, but much of the information in itself is solid. It's weird, real weird, and involves just about every odd character hanging around Hollywood/Laurel Canyon in the 60's.

Inside the LC: the strange but mostly true story of Laurel Canyon and the birth of the hippie generation
http://www.whale.to/b/inside_the_lc1.html

While the "conspiracy" element seems to be government/CIA or something (it's not clear, actually) it comes back to the occult again and again, which is where it gets interesting.

If you visit the link, be prepared for a long night of reading.
(I confess to being fascinated the whole way through, though. :oops:)
 

Slider

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#18
MrRING, It is very much after the fact of your original post, so perhaps in the interim you have already run into the occult activities of Jack Parsons, one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in southern California during the earlier part of the period you mentioned. The article below gives a pretty good initial overview.

http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2014-04/23/jpl-jack-parsons
 

GerdaWordyer

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#19
Yes, reading a bio of Parsons will give info about Crowley and about L. Ron Hubbard, Parsons himself was fascinating. Preston Sturges bios name drop rather sensational non-Hollywood weirdness that happened to the great director as a child traveling in Europe with his eccentric mother; she claims an affair with Crowley, he claims Crowley intended to EAT him! By the way, she created and gave Isadora Duncan the scarf that literally wound up in the wheels.
 

FrKadash

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#21
Kenneth Anger turned 90 today, the Italian article below is titled, ''KENNETH ANGER: THE 90 YEARS OF HOLLYWOOD LUCIFER'' and needs translating. If you're using Google Chrome it does a quick and pretty accurate job translating pages.

KENNETH ANGER: THE 90 YEARS OF HOLLYWOOD LUCIFER
AN INNOVATIVE FILMMAKER, OBSCURE AND CONTROVERSIAL: KENNETH ANGER HAS REVITALIZED THE STYLISTIC FEATURES OF UNDERGROUND CINEMA AND REVEALED THE HIDDEN LIVES OF THE AMERICAN MOVIE STAR IN THE CULT BOOK "HOLLYWOOD BABYLON''
http://www.mam-e.it/kenneth-anger-90-anni-lucifero-di-hollywood/
 

JamesWhitehead

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#22
Safari and Google Translate give the following:

"Kenneth Anger today taking 90 years, but it is hard to imagine the director of Lucifer in transgression, the exhumer great stars of the golden coffins of Americans celebrate the anniversary with a cream pie and strawberries and Coca Cola."

He has had that melty-latex sulk-face on for about thirty years now, so this melty-latex sulk-translation seems fitting. :D
 

GNC

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#24
Kenneth Anger's films got a Blu-ray release a few years ago and there's still plenty of interest in them. They're not "shit", either, they're extremely stylish and influential. The Hollywood Babylon books were bestsellers. I think he does OK.
 

FrKadash

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#25
Kenneth Anger's films got a Blu-ray release a few years ago and there's still plenty of interest in them. They're not "shit", either, they're extremely stylish and influential. The Hollywood Babylon books were bestsellers. I think he does OK.
I think he probably has private financial means, especially at his age and with all the work he's done and his continued output, but he's never actually been very good with money and has expensive and extravagant tastes. He also had a patron for the production of his earlier films until the guy passed away. I don't think his films are shit either, always liked his style, Lucifer Rising is my favourite film of his.
 

JamesWhitehead

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#26
The response anticipated from teenage students about anything put in front of them!

Adults - usually - can do better: genre, audience, skills exhibited, extent achieved.

Writers may still hate Anger's fims but shit-levels can then be estimated for both artist and critic.


I'm not a huge fan of Anger, though I'll admit to being nostalgic about all things first encountered in those semi-clandestine, smelly film-soc. showings of yesteryear.

There was legal advice that Scorpio Rising etc. was not to be shown to non-members!

As if the world would have blown apart had any such glimpsed it! :rofl:
 
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Ulalume

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#27
Kenneth Anger is an interesting character. Sinister as hell, but interesting.

I confess to loving Hollywood Babylon, even if (it's said) chunks of it were made up. Regardless, it captured this wonderful, awful, decadent old Hollywood feel.
 

McAvennie

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#28
I was recently watching an old film (Whistling In The Dark) which featured an occult organization meeting in fairly public circumstances in 1940's California. I've seen such things mentioned before in many media, which makes it seem like there were many such groups operating at the time.

What occult groups and new religion/fringe groups were operating in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area between the 1920's and the 1970's? I've heard the claims that an occult group with Kenneth Anger, Jack Larson, and director Curtis Harrington tried to create a homunculus.
P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness And Normalcy) were pretty big for a while in LA.
 

graylien

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#29
'Professor' George Adamski led some kind of proto New Age/Theosophical group in California called The Royal Order of Tibet before he got into the UFO scene. (During prohibition religious groups were allowed to make wine for ceremonial purposes, and Adamski reportedly made a tidy profit selling it.)

This freely downloadable biography covers his early years in some detail.
 
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