When watching a film, where one’s own mother refers to her son as the wickedest man alive and then proceeds to give him the title of the Great Beast 666, then has the press cover him in myths and mysterious overtones, one feel curious to see a biographic film about Aleister Crowley. Aleister’s name closely followed, often misunderstood with regard to Satanism, Black Magic and Pure Humanist, and with many films now appearing on the market, concerning the end times, biblical stories, Reality Entertainment brought forth the legend of the beast. Director and writer Dom Lenio, presents the audience with a spiritual journey of this highly media covered and documented (sometimes incorrectly) with a darker nature of reality or rather a truer sense of pure human behaviors with a series of flashbacks all from Aleister’s deathbed.
John Symas portrays Aleister from his bed, and accounts for his life, with an ailing style, while looking healthy and lacking the overpowering charms, hence opening the storyline in a series of flashback reenactments while his wife, Rose (Val Monk) sits by his side comforting him. Henry Amphlett, stars as the younger Aleister, a brash, arrogant man, seeking acknowledge with a fascination for chess, as part of life, which conflicts with his liberating personality, with offensive decree be respectful of rules, of both society and cults. Henry carries the scenes, hitting all his required marks, except for his character’s tone, a little more research learning Crowley’s lofty tone, and personal characteristics to understand this self-appointed creator of guiding humanity’s path for future generations. Meeting his wife, Rose (Melanie Delholme, known for her role in Anna: Scream Queen Killer), captivates the screen, with her beauty, and understanding him, his essence and sexual hunger in both of them, but leaves him after the death of their daughter Lilith. The storyline travels through many of the sensational accomplishments of his storied philosophy, poetry, to even his experience mountain climbing, and talent chess playing, in all cases pushing the envelope of society morals. Yet, sadly omitted are the battles with the norms of society, many referring to him as a Satanist, which in reality was mere myths, likely place by religious and moral believers that wish to keep his outside-the-box wisdom in a darkened closet. By the time the plot comes full circle, near the end of his life, Aleister amasses a great following, along with sadness, successes and anguish, his magical conjuring centered on using Wicca and understanding the forces of nature and power.
The production, of the story brings about some dullest moments creeping onto the screen, lulling the audience to a sleepy state, huge chunks of dialogue given in a monotone manner, a cast distant from the true account, lost in the conversation, while the subject material lies with a counterculture icon. The vastness of the ocean of details, the selection of references lacks for the commercial success, many icons in today society related to his teaching style, knowledge driven to extreme points, questioning all points reflect those of David Koresh, Jim Jones, and Charles Manson. The special effects also present a detriment to the film, reminiscent to those of bad television show, and mix with the poor audio the remote control must kept close for the sound control.
For an 80-minute production, the script glances over some of the more colorful parts of his life, and never explores his post-death impact on society, which makes one asking questions why not, a more probing investigative tale would creature a better product. Absent from the film, is Crowley interest in the Nazi rise in Germany, and later his negativity to Hitler, relegating him to the level of a black magician seeking his own self-purposes. Perhaps the budget was extremely low, a common element in the Reality Entertainment products however, pre-production and a solid script solves most of the problems, one never knows what exists in confines of an editing room. The influence of Aleister’s life, impacted The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Ozzy Obsourne with his song Mr. Crowley, and many horror films, which all sadly absent from this film. Therefore, this documentary, while with flaws in style, in neither evidence nor facts really is another starting for one to discover and learn about Aleister Crowley.