Vincent Price & Peter Cushing: On location filming ‘Madhouse’ in 1974

A location report for Jim Clark’s 1974 film Madhouse, starring Vincent Price, Peter Cushing, Robert Quarry, Adrienne Corri and Linda Heyden. The film was very loosely based on Angus Hall’s pulp thriller Devilday, which told the story of a dissipated actor, Paul Toombes (Price) and his return to acting in a TV horror series about the evil Doctor Dis (Doctor Death in the film). Toombes was an obese, unrepentant, drug addicted and sexual predator, who dabbled in Black Magic, and is suspected of a series of brutal murders. Hall’s character owes something to Orson Welles and Aleister Crowley, and the book offered quite a few interesting plot lines the film never developed. Clark went on to edit Marathon Man, The Killing Fields, and The World is Not Enough, amongst many others. Madhouse was his last film as director.

Here director Clark talks about his admiration for the gods of film James Whale and Todd Browning, while Vincent Price and Peter Cushing talk about why ‘horror’ or ‘thrillers’ are so popular.

With thanks to Nellym.

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Get in the weekend mood with The uplifting sounds of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple Choir!
08:26 am


Jim Jones


“He’s a friend – to the friendless
He’s a father – to the fatherless
He’s your joy – he’s your sorrow
He’s your hope – for tomorrow”
(“He’s Able”)

This week I’ve been busy putting various menial finishing touches to an exciting forthcoming Headpress release on music and the occult by Mark Goodall, Gathering of the Tribe: Music and Heavy Conscious Creation. The collection includes essays on various “occulted” artists ranging from Captain Beefheart to John Coltrane, the Beatles to the Wu Tang Clan, and features contributions from Mick Farren, David Kerekes and myself, among others.

For the last day or two, I’ve been mostly embroiled in the book’s final chapter “Mindfuckers: Cult Groups, Outsider Artists and Their Sounds,” and so by osmosis have ended up predominantly listening to music made by psychopathic demagogues and their unfortunate minions. Most distinctive of these, perhaps, is the saccharine, sunny, seventies pop gospel of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple Choir, almost all of whom would be wiped out in the Jonestown massacre about five years later, resulting in the re-release of their 1973 He’s Able album with a far darker cover (see above) than the one in which it first appeared. The playlist below treats you to the entire life-affirming record – which was once described as, “coming out of your stereo speakers like a sunbeam through a stained glass window.” 

Hands up who’s in the mood for a refreshing glass of Kool-Aid?  

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
Carl Sagan writes to Timothy Leary in prison, 1974

Interesting glimpse at the written correspondence between Carl Sagan and a then-incarcerated Timothy Leary. Seeing what scientist Sagan made of Leary’s distinctly un-scientific book Terra IIthe occult side of Leary’s ideas coming out to be sure—is an unexpected treat.

Terra II is probably one of the least known of any of Leary’s books. However, when Leary wrote to Sagan, and included a copy, he wrote back, enthusiastically, about an in-person visit. People with Sagan’s reputation and level of success generally avoided Tim like the plague, but Sagan took him seriously enough to come to one of the worst prisons in the country to talk to “the most dangerous man in America” (as described by President Richard Nixon in 1970).

Terra II is a super rare book, it’s true. It was published by Leary’s common-law wife, Joanna Harcourt-Smith, while Leary was in Folsom State Prison and never properly distributed. According to the authoritative Annotated Bibliography of Timothy Leary by Michael Horowitz, Karen Walls and Billy Smith, only between 800 and 900 copies were printed. Most copies were probably sold to directly to supporters to raise money for Leary’s legal fees.

It took me years to get my hands on Terra II. It’s super far-out stuff and something I’ve found to be an object of intense fascination for years. I actually asked Tim Leary about it myself at his house in 1995 and I could tell immediately from his reaction that it was not something he really wanted to discuss (Robert Anton Wilson, who devoted quite a bit of space to the ideas presented in Terra II and Leary’s “Starseed Transmissions” pamphlet in his book Cosmic Trigger gave the topic a cold shoulder as well, as I wrote about here). I just love the idea of Carl Sagan reacting to the ideas in Terra II. Remarkable!

February 19, 1974

Dear Tim:

Thanks for your last note and the book TERRA II. I have no problems on chance mutations and natural selection as the working material for the evolutionary process. In fact, with what we now know about molecular biology, I see no way to avoid it. But I loved your remark about the “transgalactic gardening club.” Of course, if extraterrestrials are powerful enough, they can do anything, but I don’t think we can yet count on it. I’m enclosing an article on “Life” that I did for the Encyclopaedia Britannica which you might like.

On the basic requirements for interstellar exploration, I doubt if a manned expedition to Mars could be done within the next 25 years for less than $300 billion. Try really costing your spacecraft and see what it would cost. In fact, maybe the reason we haven’t been visited is that interstellar spaceflight, while technically possible, would beggar any planet which attempted it.

If we can do it, how would you like a visit from us in the last week in February? I have no idea what the visiting privileges are, but if your and my schedules permit, Linda and I would love to visit you in Vacaville on the morning of Thursday, February 28. Frank Drake has also expressed an interest in such a visit, as has our mutual acquaintance, Norman Zinberg of Harvard Medical School. What’s your feeling about it? Write to me at the St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco, where I’ll be staying beginning Sunday, February 24, and I’ll try to firm up the visit, if it seems possible, shortly thereafter.

With best wishes,


Carl Sagan

P.S. The enclosed poem, “The Other Night” by Dianne Ackermann of Cornell, is something I think we both resonate to. It’s unfinished so it shouldn’t yet be quoted publically.

The short film “Timothy Leary in Folsom Prison” was made in 1973 to raise money for Leary’s legal defense and keep his name out there. Leary discusses his jailbreak (intimating that the daughter of a United States senator he refuses to name helped him), the revolution in consciousness and drugs, Eldridge Cleaver and what it feels like to be an imprisoned philosopher. Leary was released from prison in 1976 by then—and current—California Governor Jerry Brown.

Posted by The Timothy Leary Archives/Via Boing Boing

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Τὸ Μεγα Θηρίον: Happy Birthday Aleister Crowley!
02:13 pm


Aleister Crowley
Charles Krafft

Aleister Crowley teapot by artist Charles Krafft.

Happy Crowleymass! Aleister Crowley, thee Great Beast 666 was hatched from a dragon’s egg on this day in 1875.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
‘Occult Program’: Kenneth Anger & Brian Butler’s Technicolor Skull, live in Paris

Kenneth Anger and Brian Butler‘s ritualistic “anti-rock” project, Technicolor Skull, live at L’Étrange Festival 2012’s “Occult Program” in Paris on September 8th.

A limited edition blood red vinyl-only pressing of the Technicolor Skull album can be acquired at the Technicolor Skull website.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
The Copycat Effect: Meet the man who predicted the Aurora shooting
02:50 pm


Loren Coleman

Loren Coleman may well be a modern-day Cassandra, but when I first happened upon his Twilight Language blog in July – via Christopher Knowles’s frequently fascinating The Secret Sun – I considered it an example of conspiratorial “synchromystic” navel-gazing par excellence. Instantly apparent, for instance, was the seemingly obligatory preoccupation with Christopher Nolan’s Batman films, in this case The Dark Knight Rises. I saw Coleman had done three consecutive posts on the movie – due for its US release the next day – and I browsed through them with a slightly superior air.

Essentially, it seemed to have caught Coleman’s eye for the same reason it had Rush Limbaugh’s – the “Bane” (as in, the villain) and “Bain” (as in Mitt Romney’s villainous company) homonym. While Coleman had no truck with Limbaugh’s widely ridiculed conspiracy theory that the correspondence was a Democrat propaganda ploy, he appeared to think that the “coincidence” (ahem) warranted scrutiny to an extent that I initially found idiotic.

So, Coleman examined the etymology of the two words, looked into the character called “Bane” and detailed the filming locations for the movie (these included a Romanian Masonic temple, wouldn’t ya know?). For the last in the short series – posted that morning (07/19/12) – he looked into the significance of the following day’s date, noting that it was historically associated with space exploration and assassinations. Finally, he moved on to events that had occurred on the release dates of the previous Dark Knight films (including Al Qaeda raids and a crane disaster), and observed that, almost exactly a year ago, Anders Breivik had embarked on his infamous killing spree on a day that also saw the release of Captain America, a movie that reportedly kicks off to the sound of Nazi rapid fire in Norway.

It was becoming obvious that Coleman’s analysis was not piecemeal, but cumulative – the assembled “data,” which meant next to nothing to me, had aroused his foreboding enough for him to describe the release of The Dark Knight Rises as “rushing towards us.” The very last words he would post prior to the Aurora massacre where these:

“What will happen on July 20, 2012?”

It ain’t often you seem to read tomorrow’s news today, and I certainly experienced an otherworldly chill when I learned of the shootings the following afternoon. And there was more…
Something I didn’t realize when I first came upon Twilight Language was that the blog’s founding and enduring purpose was to promote and elaborate upon Coleman’s 2004 book The Copycat Effect, an entirely sober work of behavioral science examining the media’s role in causing and exacerbating outbreaks of violence through sensationalistic wall-to-wall news coverage of suicidal and homicidal acts, as well as through violent film and music.

Funnily enough, it was in this precise context that Coleman had previously written of Nolan’s films, having predicted and then documented the emergence of copycats inspired by Heath Ledger’s Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. James Holmes, of course, would shed his gas mask, body armor, and fatigues to reveal that beneath his distinctly Bain-reminiscent exterior, he was himself a self-proclaimed Joker copycat.

Coleman’s ongoing analysis of Aurora’s aftermath has almost been as impressive as his anticipation of it. There has been, for example, the extensive copycat incidents that have proceeded it (you may have noticed the high number of mass shootings over recent months), not to mention the surrounding coincidences that connect them – ranging from the Sikh Temple shooter’s living on Holmes Street, to the name of the Quebec shooter being Richard Henry Bane.

In the immediate wake of the Aurora killings, Coleman observed that Aurora means “dawn” in Latin, while Colorado translates as “red”: red dawn, a traditional warning. He showed that related symbolism occurred everywhere, implicit in both the film’s title The Dark Knight Rises, and its subtitle, A Fire Will Rise. In The Dark Knight, character Harvey Dent voices the following line “The night is darkest just before the dawn, and I promise you, the dawn is coming.” Obama, referring to the Aurora survivors: “It reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues and people are strong. Out of this darkness, a brighter day is going to come.” Aurora is a hub of strangeness, what Coleman describes as a “complex ‘occult’ (as in the original meaning of the word, ‘hidden,’ not ‘paranormal’) synchronicity story of which more and more is being revealed daily.”

In recent correspondence with Coleman, I asked about his other predictions. There have been a fair few, many of them similarly ghoulish (homicidal and suicidal acts being an area of especial expertise). My asking inspired him to write up a selection of them, which you can read here. His acumen has previously led to attention from CNN, among others, but such coverage tends to emphasize his use of behavioral science and “pure psychology.” He encourages this, stressing that there’s “no magic here.” But there is a bit of madness in his method, to be sure.

I mean it as a compliment: that he seems to be able to make use of a Fortean/Jungian worldview of rippling relationships to peer into tomorrow’s news is riveting.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
‘Kubricks’: First teasers for the new Dean Cavanagh/Alan McGee film

The first in a series of teaser trailers for Dean & Josh Cavanagh’s Kubricks has been released. They feature the character of “Donald the Director” (played by Roger Evans), who suffers a mental breakdown during the making of a film, and begins to involve his cast (Joanna Pickering, Gavin Bain) and crew in his sinister and obsessive fantasies.

Produced by Alan McGee, Kubricks looks a cross between Ballard, Kubrick and Kenneth Anger, which suggests it may be brilliant, or indulgent, or like some of the best art, a bit of both. We wait to see. Meantime, check the Kubricks website for more details.

‘Kubricks’ teaser (((RABBIT)))
Bonus teasers for ‘Kubricks’, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Kenneth Anger’s ‘Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome’: The 1978 Electric Light Orchestra version

Via Mondo Film:

In 1978, Anger re-cut his landmark 1954 film, Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome by several minutes as well as changing the score of the film he had previous selected, “Glagolitic Mass” by the Czech composer Leoš Janáček. This re-constructed version, offered here today features Anger’s choice of the 1974 Electric Light Orchestra album, ‘Eldorado’ as score. This edition of the film would be labeled by Anger as his “Sacred Mushroom Edition.” Anger successfully screened this E.L.O. version of the film at the 1978 Boston Film Festival. This festival exhibition would be the only time in history this version of Anger’s film had been seen, until now.

ELO’s Eldorado concept album about the fantasy life of a “Walter Mitty”-esque character seems an old choice for a soundtrack to such a beautifully evil film, I must say. Interesting, to be sure, but I can see why Anger orphaned this in favor of the classic version of the film.

This feels a bit like the Giorgio Moroder scored and colorized version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to me. Maybe I’ve just seen the classic Pleasure Dome too many times.

Thank you kindly, Brian Butler!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Dean Cavanagh: Exclusive interview with the writer and director of ‘Kubricks’

Dean Cavanagh is that very rare breed – a maverick whose talents have been successfully proven over several different disciplines.

He is an award-winning artist; a screenwriter and playwright, writing the highly acclaimed Wedding Belles with Irvine Welsh and the forth-coming movie version of the hit on-line series Svengali. He has also been a journalist, with bylines in i-D, NME, Sabotage Times and the Guardian. Dean is also a documentary-maker, a film and TV producer and a musician, with along list of collaborators, including Robert Anton Wilson.

Now the multi-talented Cavanagh has written and directed (with his son Josh), his first movie - the much anticipated Kubricks.

In this exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds, Dean talks about the ideas and creative processes behind Kubricks. How he collaborated with Alan McGee, and developed the film with his son Josh, discussing his thoughts on cinema and synchronicity, and explaining howKubricks came to be filmed over 5 days, with a talented cast this summer.

Dean Cavanagh: ‘Stanley Kubrick has always fascinated me in that he was clearly trying to convey messages through symbols, codes and puzzles in his films.

‘For me his genius was in the way he presented the ‘regular’ audience with a clear narrative structure and for those who wanted to look deeper he constructed hidden layers of subjectivity. He was clearly a magician working with big budgets in such an idiosyncratic way that it’s hard not to be intrigued by him and his oeuvre.

‘I’ve been following Kubrick researchers like Rob Ager and Jay Weidner for the last few years and I really wanted to dramatize a story based around Kubrick as an inspirational enigma. There is a wealth of material about the esoteric side of Kubrick on the net and Ager and Weidner are great places to start the journey from.’

DM: How did you progress towards making ‘Kubricks’?

Dean Cavanagh: ‘I’ve been writing screenplays and theatre on my own and also with Irvine Welsh since the 1990’s. Up until last year, I never really had any desire to direct a film but Alan McGee encouraged me to have a go. He offered to produce a film if I would write and direct with the emphasis being on us having total control. This was music to my ears after having mainly dealt with people who are always looking for reasons not to make a film.  Alan’s credo was “just do it and let’s see what happens”. There’s a great freedom in working with him.’
Read more of Dean Cavanagh’s exclusive interview, plus free ‘Kubricks’ soundtrack download, after the jump…
Previously on Dangerous Minds

Alan McGee: Talks Magick, Music and his new Movie ‘Kubricks’


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Words, deeds and ‘The Marshall Mathers LP’: How Eminem’s ‘Kim’ almost killed Eminem’s Kim
07:13 am



Recording his first proper album The Slim Shady LP with Dr Dre in LA, Eminem decided he wanted to get his infant daughter Hailie on the work-in-progress “97 Bonnie and Clyde.” Then-wife Kim Mathers was curious to know what the song in question – in which father and daughter together dispose of mother’s murdered corpse – was about. Playing it safe, Eminem told her the lyric detailed his taking Hailie on a trip to Chuck E. Cheese’s, a Will Smith “Just the Two of Us”-style scenario the song parodies. When Kim heard the finished track, Eminem believably claims, she “bugged the fuck out.”

“97 Bonnie and Clyde” was the kind of composition that got Eminem in trouble with the Tipper Gore parade as well, along with others who would supply the controversy (those “picket lines” for his “wicked rhymes”) that would go on to inspire so much of the material for his next record The Marshall Mathers LP. One of the most thematically coherent albums in hip hop history, The Marshall Mathers LP features verse upon verse ridiculing the wider culture for its apparent inability to distinguish between word and deed, fiction and fact, often mimicking the confusion for poetic effect:

“Put lives at risk when I drive like this [screech]/ Put wives at risk with a knife like this [scream]”

In “Stan,” for example, the song’s famous protagonist has fatally confused Eminem (or Marshall Mathers) with Slim Shady, and ends up killing his own girlfriend in a manner reminiscent of “97 Bonnie and Clyde.” Elsewhere, Eminem reprised the wife-killing theme for the gothic murder-ballad “Kim,” a slower, crueler and darker version of its predecessor that ends with the following “dying” refrain:


While the rest of the accompanying album would be quick to remind us that “no actual Kims were harmed in the making of ‘Kim,’” did anyone ever wonder how the tune played chez Mathers?

Not that well, funnily enough, as I confirmed last week stumbling upon a 2011 interview with (the real) Kim (Shady) Mathers herself, a rather beleaguered woman horrified by her frequent cameos in the work of the twenty-first century’s most famous living poet. Indeed, in the Mathers’ fairly fraught marital home, Kim reveals that “Kim” was such a contentious issue that it was solely referred to (in passing or – you imagine – the odd nucleur domestic squabble) as “that song”…

So when Kim was planning to attend a show on her husband’s stadium tour in 2000, the occasion warranted a special conversation that afternoon as to whether Eminem planned to perform “that song” that night. Sensitive Mr. Mathers reportedly answered in the following reassuring fashion:

“No, because I know that you’re going to be there and I wouldn’t do that to you.”

Syke! At the concert, Eminem, would perform a robust “Kim” – acting it out with a blow-up doll, no less – before the sixty thousand strong crowd, including not only his wife, but her sister and some accompanying friends (must have been awkward for ‘em, eh?) – in the interview, the former Mrs. Mathers describes the surreal horror of being embedded in a stadium rocking with festive hatred – all indirectly directed at her – watching “everyone singing the words and laughing and jumping around in approval.

Altogether now


Sure enough, Kim went home and attempted to kill herself, slashing her wrists; so a song in which Eminem fantasizes about killing his wife… almost kills his wife. Words become deeds, fiction fact. Odd.

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Discussion
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