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Robert Anton Wilson on Aleister Crowley
02:53 pm


Aleister Crowley
Robert Anton Wilson

Perhaps this will only prove of interest to really hardcore Crowley buffs (and not necessarily RAW fans who aren’t Crowley nuts) but this is, for sure, the best Bob Wilson interview on the topic of Aleister Crowley that I’ve ever heard.

I’m pretty sure this comes from the CD box set of interviews with Wilson, Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything: (or Old Bob Exposes His Ignorance) that came out in 2005.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Suddenly, NOTHING HAPPENED: End of world, great spiritual awakening, etc, fail to occur last night
05:21 pm


Daniel Pinchbeck

When President Kennedy was assassinated, “sick comedian” Lenny Bruce came onstage just hours later, took the mike and paused for a long time, looking at the audience and shaking his head before sighing: “Poor Vaughn Meader” (Meader was a popular and wealthy 60s nightclub entertainer whose act consisted solely of his uncanny JFK impersonation).

This morning I couldn’t help but think, “Poor Daniel Pinchbeck…”

When I woke up today, feeling exactly the same as I had yesterday and pretty much all the days before that, it didn’t even occur to me to wonder if “the end of the world” (as we know it)—or if you prefer, a global spiritual awakening—had happened last night as the wife and I watched the final episode of The Crimson Petal and The White, because, well, I’d forgotten all about it.

When my eyes opened today, after I had taken a piss, walked the dogs, made some tea, and was looking at Huffington Post’s headlines, I remembered, oh shit, the 2012 “apocalypse” thing was supposed to have happened last night. I certainly didn’t feel anymore “enlightened” that’s for sure. If some sort of cosmic transformation of mankind was supposed to have taken place—as some New Agers were predicting—then I was a groggy Bodhisattva this morning…

I checked if there had been any mass suicides or any of that sort of activity. Nothing on HuffPo. Drudge came up snake eyes on that front as well. That’s good, since at least one mass suicide seemed virtually assured…

And then I wondered if Daniel Pinchbeck had published anything about this momentous event—or notable lack thereof—on his blog. He had in fact, in a piece titled “The End of the Beginning,” that, to my mind, rather comically hedges on what did or did not just happen…

It begins like so:

At last, we have reached the end of the classic Mayan Long Count calendar, the 5,125-year cycle that ends on December 21 of this year. The mainstream media has, predictably, used the occasion to ridicule the straw man they irresponsibly helped to set up: That this was a doomsday threshold, as silly as Y2K. At the same time, the worst and best predictions of alternative theorists ranging from Graham Hancock to Paul LaViolette to Jose Arguelles, Terence McKenna, John Major Jenkins, David Wilcock, and Carl Johan Calleman have failed to materialize.

Apparently, a galactic superwave is not engulfing our planet, as LaViolette proposed. We are not confronting immediate cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as Hancock sensationally predicted in his bestselling Fingerprints of the Gods. We are, also, not suddenly attaining collective enlightenment as Calleman, Arguelles, and John Major Jenkins conceived. Our pineal glands are not being instantaneously flooded with DMT, as Wilcock concocted. We have not reached the Eschaton or Singularity, where time collapses as we construct the final technological object at the end of history and complete the Great Work of alchemy, as McKenna playfully projected.  We are not ascending out of our bodies into the astral plane. But does this mean that this threshold was meaningless? Not at all.

Oh, I think that’s still pretty debatable, but it’s not a topic that I, personally, would care to debate with anyone. That would just be a fool’s errand, for obvious reasons.

Back to Pinchbeck:

As a personal aside, I am delighted we are finally getting beyond this date with destiny. Over the last months, my work has been constantly ridiculed and put down by mainstream journalists who parrot preconceived ideas. Almost as a rule, these journalists avoided watching the film I made with director Joao Amorim, which is freely available on Netflix, or reading my book. Each article is a tiny piffle of stupidity and ignorance, adding to the great vapidity. Although I am used to it, it is still painful to be misunderstood.

I’m sure it is, but such is the lot of a pop-up prophet in the age of snarky Internet blogs, right? Comes with the territory.

Now I want to be clear that I don’t have anything against Daniel Pinchbeck. We’re acquainted, although I have not seen him for for several years. I happen to agree with much of what he espouses, at least his more earthbound ideas on a post-capitalism future. I think he does a good job getting younger people excited by Occupy, saving the environment and these kinds of important issues with his prose and I am a fan of his writing myself, having excerpted some of his Breaking Open the Head book—which I loved—in my own Book of Lies occult anthology.

But whether it’s coming from Daniel Pinchbeck, or another source, this 2012 jive was/is a bunch of soft-brained New Age hooey—it doesn’t deserve any respect—and the idea that he’s trying to forge ahead and act like he was somehow right about it the whole time—unlike the rest of ‘em(!)—and rhetorically pivot away from the “failed” 2012 prophets made me chuckle as I read it. Pinchbeck’s own name is at the very top of that list and he damned well knows it.

In a 2006 Rolling Stone profile, “Daniel Pinchbeck and the New Psychedelic Elite” by Vanessa Grigoriadis—the article that first brought him some mainstream exposure—there are so many goofy quotes from Daniel that I’m sure he’d like to live down, that I don’t know where to start:

“I’d like to move off the grid, to escape the chaos and hustle of city life.” When we talked about it earlier, he said, “But there is no escape,” his eyes burning into mine. “We have to fix this situation right fucking now, or there’s going to be nuclear wars and mass death, and it’s not going to be very interesting. There’s not going to be a United States in five years, OK?”

Got it!

His current book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, has been largely panned in the mainstream press. In fact, his original publisher dropped it, with Gerald Howard, a venerable editor of authors like Don DeLillo, offering the comment “Daniel, you’re not Nietzsche.” Says Pinchbeck, “It was hard for him to conceive that someone of my generation was doing something of primordial significance.”

Perhaps Mr. Howard, in retrospect, might be forgiven his trespasses against our self-ordained prophet, eh?

“I’m generally a humble person, but I do feel I’m surfing the edge of consciousness on this planet,” he says. “A shaman risks their ass to get knowledge that the tribe needs to continue. In this case, the tribe is potentially the whole fucking world.”

On a blog post on his Amazon author page, generally humble person Pinchbeck responded to Grigoriadis’s tart Rolling Stone article:

I find myself in a peculiarly bittersweet relationship to fame, worldly success, etc., as part of the concept I am promoting is of a shift in consciousness that will be so swift and so profound, when it arrives, that it will annul our current categories and conventional reward systems. As I noted in ‘2012,’ I sometimes feel like I am communicating ‘backwards’ from this future state of ‘time freedom,’ and it is a peculiarly uncanny sensation. From that impersonal perspective, I am simply watching a process unfold in linear time – the process of the accelerated evolution of consciousness. As a messenger or prophet (certainly not a guru), I am simply sending out a signal to be picked up by those who are ready to receive it.”

I’ll just let that one fall to the ground with a mighty thud.

Even if Daniel is from the future, he’s not allowed to change the past: A writer named Tom Swiss penned a short take-down of Pinchbeck’s seeming belief that he was a cosmic messenger of the gods in an online essay, “Why Daniel Pinchbeck needs a smack upside his head” that highlights the most… well, the funniest aspect of Pinchbeck’s whole idiosyncratic 2012 trip: If Aleister Crowley could declare himself the prophet of the new aeon, then by gum, Daniel could do it, too.

Generously “borrowing” from The Great Beast 666, with a hefty dollop of Terence McKenna’ trippy apocalyptism thrown into the mix, the whole “channeled message” nature of Pinchbeck’s psychedelic holy man shtick is—how do I put this kindly—FUCKING RIDICULOUS:

Daniel Pinchbeck is the guy probably most responsible for kicking off the idea that some great transformation is going to occur in 2012. In his book 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, he claims to have received “transmissions” from the Mayan deity Quetzalcoatl telling him about this momentous event. An excerpt from these transmissions:

The writer of this work [i.e., Pinchbeck] is the vehicle of my arrival—my return—to this realm. He certainly did not expect this to be the case. What began as a quest to understand prophecy has become the fulfillment of prophecy. The vehicle of my arrival has been brought to an awareness of his situation in sometimes painful increments and stages of resistance—and this books follows the evolution of his learning process, as an aid to the reader’s understanding.

The vehicle of my arrival had to learn to follow synchonicities, embrace paradoxes, and solve puzzles. He had to enter into a new way of thinking about time and space and consciousness.

Almost apologetically, the vehicle notes that his birthday fell in June 1966—6/66—“count the number of the Beast: for it is the number of the man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

The Beast prophesied is the “feathered serpent,” Quetzalcoatl. [Pinchbeck, 2012 p. 370]


That’s one hell of a zany, paranoiac, monumentally self-important megalomaniacal feedback loop, ain’t it?

As I type this today, one aspect of the 2012 trip is certain, and this is that all of those fucking full-of-shit blow-hard New Ager/“Burner” types who made cocksure bets about SOMETHING (anything!) happening (solar flares, earthquakes, killer asteroids suddenly coming out of nowhere, or even the more mundane predictions of a great spiritual awakening and turning point for all mankind) on December 21, 2012 are going to have to pay up... as well they should.

New Age-types: STOP BEING SO GULLIBLE. You’re no better than Fox News viewers if you bought into this bullshit!

I mean, seriously, people, anyone who promoted or defended any manifestation of the 2012 hoax without tongue placed firmly-in-cheek, needs to have their noses rubbed in it bigtime. Learn a lil’ lesson, brah. No, really, take a serious bloody hint about how you evaluate your information sources and maybe. just maybe seek out some different intellectual inputs before somebody gets… embarrassed.

Or hoist with his own petard.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Timewave Zero: Did Terence McKenna *really* believe in all that 2012 prophecy stuff?

Below, the grand finale of Beyond The Fringe, the hysterically funny “End of the World” sketch, restaged for The Secret Policeman’s Ball in 1979 with Peter Cook, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eleanor Bron and others. A young Rowan Atkinson fills in for Dudley Moore. This sketch will never get old… for obvious reasons!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Aleister Crowley’s ‘Bartzabel Working’: Video documentation of Brian Butler’s ritual performance
05:31 pm


Aleister Crowley
Brian Butler

Photos and video from Brian Butler’s performance of Aleister Crowley’s “Bartzabel Working,” a ceremonial evocation of the spirit of Mars, first written and performed in London in 1910 by the Great Beast 666.

The ceremony was performed at the west coast branch of L&M Arts in Los Angeles on December 4.

The ritual was part of the gallery’s current “For the Martian Chronicles” exhibit and employed custom robes made in the original A∴A∴ (Crowley’s magical order) designs and a circle, altar and triangle fabricated in Thelemic colors.



Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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James Franco and Brian Butler to perform Aleister Crowley ritual in Los Angeles art gallery

Three magi: Kenneth Anger, James Franco and Brian Butler

Occult artist / musician / filmmaker Brian Butler will be performing Aleister Crowley’s “Bartzabel Working” tomorrow night, Tuesday, December 4, at the L&M Arts gallery space in Venice Beach, CA. This occult ceremony is part of the gallery’s current “Martian Chronicles” theme exhibit and will employ custom robes made in the original A∴A∴ (Crowley’s magical order) designs and a circle, altar and triangle fabricated in vivid colors. Actor James Franco and Noot Seear from Twilight: New Moon will also participate in the ritual.

In conjunction with the current exhibition For the Martian Chronicles, L&M Arts is pleased to present The Bartzabel Working, a performance by filmmaker and artist Brian Butler. Based on a ceremonial evocation of the spirit of Mars, first written and performed in London in 1910 by the famed British occultist Aleister Crowley, the ritual later became part of Los Angeles history in 1946 when Jet Propulsion Laboratory rocket scientist and Crowley protégé Jack Parsons conducted his own version of this rite, with the intention of placing a martial curse on a pre-Scientology L. Ron Hubbard.

For his reinterpretation of this historical performance, Butler will conjure Bartzabel, the spirit of Mars, evoking the site that was once home to the late sci-fi author Ray Bradbury and currently comprises L&M Arts. The ritual will have Butler as Chief Magus, leading a cast drawn from his upcoming feature film King Death and featuring Henry Hopper as Assistant Magus, Noot Seear as Magus Adjuvant, and James Franco as Material Basis, the vessel though which the spirit of Mars manifests.

The performance will take place on Tuesday, December 4th at 8:30pm, followed by a reception with tunes courtesy of DJ & artist Eddie Ruscha.

Butler’s work has been shown at LAXART, in Portugal, Greece and in China. He recently performed with Kenneth Anger at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles as Technicolor Skull.

“The Martian Chronicles” exhibit, honoring the work of sci-fi author Ray Bradbury, runs through January 5, 2013

L&M Arts, Los Angeles, 660 South Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA, 90291, 8:30 - 11:30 PM

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Alejandro Jodorowsky is bestowed the title of ‘Grand Rectum’ by a University of Fools
12:29 am


Alejandro Jodorowsky

In March of 2011, Alejandro Jodorowsky traveled to Montreal, Canada to receive the exalted title of Grand Rectum from the University Of Foulosphie. In his honor, local artists paid homage to his extraordinary career as a provocateur, seer, shaman and subversive. Filmmakers and writers François Gourd and Matthieu Bouchard documented the week-long tribute to Jodorowsky, which included theatrical events and happenings celebrating Jodorowsky’s surrealistic mind-fucks: the Panique theater, El Topo, The Holy Mountain and his adept skills in using Tarot cards in the service of healing deeply fucked up people, of which many of us would qualify.

The grand old man still packs heat and his aim is as pitilessly precise as ever. I have very few heroes that still command my respect. Jodorowsky is one of the few still standing.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘The Bones Go Last’: A film on occult artist Austin Osman Spare

Artist and Occultist, Austin Osman Spare playing the clarinet.

AOS, ‘55

Improvising an original theme


“Libertine to the Gods”

This photograph led me to The Bones Go Last, a film documentary on AOS.

This is a film about Austin Osman Spare, perhaps the greatest artist ever to be ignored / overlooked / considered too weird by mainstream art history.  Spare’s work embraced religion, the occult, sex, magic, atavisms, ghosts and cockneys in ways never fully understood, or adequately appreciated. 

It doesn’t have a title, yet. 

What it does have, and is gaining more of (perhaps as you read this) is footage of Spare’s extraordinary artistic works along with the South East London urban sprawl that he made his home, plus interviews with foremost authorities / experts / fanatics.

Discovering Spare is one of the most rewarding art appreciation experiences there is.  When completed this film will stand as a pretty good first step on that journey.

More information here.

Part 2 of ‘The Bones Go Last’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Nancy Nova’s ‘The Force’: a bewitching but obscure New Wave Disco classic

I still remember where I was when I first heard this incredible record.

It’s not THAT impressive really, as it was only around three months ago in a friend’s kitchen. It was played as part of a Siouxsie Sioux BBC Radio 6 special, wherein Siouxsie chose an hour of her favorite music from (roughly) the punk era. A lot of her choices were, surprisingly, disco tracks, and when ‘The Force’ came on all casual conversation in the kitchen stopped ,and we all simply HAD to know who sang this incredible song.

Nancy Nova is, apparently, the daughter of British TV personality and Blockbusters game show host, Bob Holness. Her real name is Carol Ann, and her sister Ros was a member of the uber-camp 80s girl group Toto Coelo (who are best known for “I Eat Cannibals”.)

“The Force” is simply epic, a gothic disco-pop song that oozes menacing, spooky appeal, the kind Alison Goldfrapp would kill for. It really does sound like it comes form another bizarro planet. Like the best horror movies, it’s scary, thrilling and exciting all at the same time. Bass heavy disco production, reminiscent of Kid Creole’s best, Broadway-inspired work, is topped off by celestial choirs that could lure passing astronauts to their rocky doom, while a spare arrangement, that hints at the then-burgeoning goth movement, makes the most of Nova’s stunning voice.

Ah yes, THAT voice. Nancy Nova is one of those singers with a startling, unique vocal style that should be irritating but actually works. At times reminiscent of Betty Boop, at others quite similar to Noosha Fox of the band Fox (previously covered on Dangerous Minds here) it really is one of a kind, and guaranteed to beguile the listener.

So impressed were we by Nancy Nova and ‘The Force’ that we based Tranarchy‘s Hallowe’en ‘Zombie Pride’ video around it, in effect creating a pop video for a song that didin’t have one, but needed it. A surrealistic tale of drag initiation (featuring stunning make-up work by star witch Grace Oni Smith) I’d like to think that we have done the song proud, and that if Nancy Nova were to see it, she would approve: 

Nancy Nova ‘The Force’ (Tranarchy Zombie Pride V)


Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
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Conspiracy theory’s final frontier: Iran’s Ahmadinejad and ‘The Fonz’?
08:38 am


conspiracy theories

No offense to any actors out there – as it happens, I’ve always found you to be a perfectly charmin’ bunch of narcissists – but I can’t imagine a more frightening conspiracy theory than one that posits that they secretly rule the world, which is exactly what Ed Chiarini, aka DallasGoldBug, suggests in his hilarious, bizarre and entirely entertaining “research.” 

It can often seem as if conspiracy theory secretly aspires to transform everything into cinema. Apollo 11 – which many conspiracy theorists would like to see added to Stanley Kubrick’s Wikipedia filmography – is an obvious example, as are the array of special effects that populate 9/11 conspiracy theories, ranging from holograms to exploding buildings.

July’s Aurora shootings faced plenty of this sort of speculation. Here, after all, was a massacre that occurred in a cinema during a Batman screening, executed by a Joker copycat. A few days later, Batman himself (well, Christian Bale) would swing by the hospital. For the victims and perpetrator alike the line between cinema and reality was already smudged, and many conspiracy theorists have since asserted that the entire event was a kind of meta-hoax, with some even suggesting that the following impromptu press conference with an Aurora emergency doctor is a cameo by Tom Cruise! 

Personally, I can’t see it (a pity – I love the idea), but whatever your reaction to the above – “fuck off!” or “fuck me!” – plenty apparently experience the opposite, while the idea that public life is riddled with doubles, doppelgangers, actors and clones currently finds itself in a kind of conspiratorial vogue.     

Which brings us to Ed Chiarini. Many contemporary conspiratorial “researchers” have their own gimmick nowadays, and Chiarini’s is a selection of “biometric” techniques including voice recognition, handwriting analysis and ear comparison, that he uses to argue that numerous figures in the public eye, from politicians to famous felons, are actually played by actors who frequently reappear in other high profile roles.

We’ll get to some of these shortly. They’re pretty fucking out there. Chiarini’s three-hour, three-part magnum opus, The Truth EXPOSED , however, begins quite reasonably, gently taking the open-minded viewer by the hand, and leading them to the edge of the deep end before hurling itself in and attempting to pull them down with it.

After a cursory explanation of ear biometrics (the ears never lie, got it?) the documentary begins by arguing that various US “reality” television characters – none of whom I’d ever heard of – were played by actors who also appeared in other reality shows. It then moves on to the news, arguing that the actors from the “reality” shows also crop up as witnesses and protagonists in current affairs, alongside other recurrent performers. Chiarini supplements the amateur biometrics with other examples of apparent staging in the news, with particular events – like 9/11 and the Occupy protests – ostensibly swarming with plants and choreographed coverage.

At this point, my politely suspended doubt was meandering further and further afield, and I was quite comfortably ensconced in Chiarini’s world of luridly fraudulent news…

All of a sudden, though, it was back, and hammering madly on the window. Out of the blue, Chiarini seemed to be arguing that JonBenét Ramsey grew up to be Lady Gaga, and that Lady Gaga “was” (the supposition here is that they’re all played by an actor) none other than Amy Winehouse! As a Brit, this rather offended my pop music patriotism, but maybe, if he’d left it at that, Chiarini could have reeled me in a little further. As it was, the revelations were coming in so thick and fast you didn’t even have the chance to finish laughing at the last one.

Here, off the top of my head, are some of the best…

Matt Stone and Trey Parker “are” Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold

Barack Obama “is” Osama Bin Laden.

Karl Rove “is” Mark Chapman.

David Ike “is” Richard Branson.

And my own and any other reasonable person’s personal fave….

Henry Winkler – aka the Fonz – “is” Iran’s President Ahmadinejad…

Which prompts the perfectly reasonable supposition that Ed Chiarini “is” taking the piss.

For many fellow travelers in the conspiracy racket – at first extremely hospitable to Chiarini and his biometric party pack – the above claims and the many others like them stretched even their extremely flexible credulity to breaking point. Chiarini didn’t do himself any favors with this target audience by treating many of their heroes to a DallasGoldBug mash-up, suggesting that…

JFK “is” Jimmy Carter

Bill Hicks “is” Alex Jones


William Cooper “is” Jordon Maxwell (I can actually see where he’s coming from here).

The predictable result of these was that Chiarini was accused of being a shill sent by the secret government to make conspiracy theorists look like a pack of dickheads. In other words, they accused him of being an actor! Excluding a small hardcore of followers who’d probably believe him if he said Jon Bon Jovi was Albert Einstein, the sense was that Chiarini had gone rogue, madly folding his folded world while hollering “sue me” at anyone who objected to reading that they weren’t real.

Personally – and I’m quite possibly on my own here – regardless of whether he’s a nut-job, a spy, or a prophet in the wilderness, I find something oddly sublime in Chiarini’s claims, and the concept they throw up of an entirely artificial world in which the heroes and villains that constitute history, from Churchill (Lionel Barrymore) to Hitler (Kermit Roosevelt – who also played Walt Disney), are theatrical inventions seducing us from precipice to precipice in a daze of bogus love and loathing.

My imagination enjoys itself in Chiarini’s parallel universe, too. Take, for example, the aesthetic logic in Obama “being” Osama. What I love about this one is how experimental the latter’s assassination becomes – one character cannibalizing the other to enhance their essence, while their real consanguinity is hidden in plain sight by the near – and extraordinarily improbable – correspondence of their names. This showbiz Illuminati, it would appear, are not immune to a touch of l’art pour l’art.

There are, also, times when Chiarini’s parallel universe impinges upon this one. His commentary (see below) over that famous flick known as The Lonesome Death of Lee Harvey Oswald (starring Jim Reeves as Oswald and David Rockefeller as Jack Ruby) is a case in point, and leaves it looking – well, for a glorious moment or two – laughably, transcendentally phoney…

Thanks to Mark Reeve at ORB Editions

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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In Search of the Count: The Dracula Society tour Whitby in 1977

A suitably whimsical report for Halloween on the Dracula Society‘s day trip to Whitby in 1977, to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the publication of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, Dracula.

The Society was originally set-up in 1973 by actors Bernard Davies and Bruce Wightman, to offer fans the opportunity to visit locations from the book, and re-enact certain scenes. Whitby, of course, was where Dracula arrived in England from Transylvania as a dog, and continued with his vampiric deeds.

Almost 40 years on, the Dracula Society continues to:

‘...cater for lovers of “the vampire and his kind” - werewolves, reanimated mummies, mad scientists and their creations, and all the other monsters spawned by the Gothic genre.’

For more information about the society check here.

With thanks to Nellym

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Voice of the demon: ‘The Exorcist’ and the legacy of Mercedes McCambridge

Mercedes McCambridge and Linda Blair
Mercedes and the Monster (photo illustration by Todd McNaught)
It inspired an ocean of imitators and aspects of it seem quaint in the context of the age of digitally effected gore. But almost 40 years after its release, The Exorcist remains a chilling classic that transcended the horror genre due to both William Friedkin’s masterful direction and Linda Blair’s stellar acting.

In the spirit of Tara’s posting of creepy test footage from the film earlier this month, here’s the gifted Blair voicing the scene that introduces Regan to Father Karras followed by the eventual dubbing.

After the jump: meet the voice behind the possession…plus bonus audience reaction footage!

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Discussion
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