Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seven Occult Flicks

Happy Halloween! I thought I'd dive into pop culture for some Halloween reviews. I celebrate both secular Halloween and our Pagan Samhain, usually on separate days.

I love horror flicks - or at least some kinds. These days far too many films in the bin are torture-fests, or chem-zombies. Sorry, zombies without black magic just doesn't excite me. I'm always on the lookout for films with a bit of the feel of 'real' occultism, or even with fantasy magic that pushes the right buttons. I don't mean Pagan flicks (I'll do a list of those soon, maybe) but good old Evil Occultism, preferably with some good-guy occultism to oppose it, though that's hard to find. I suspect I'm not the only one with these little peccadillos, so here are seven flicks that did the job for me. Understand that my tolerance for cheese is high. Several of these are small movies, with marginal production values. I wouldn't refer to each of these as a 'good' movie, by standards of er... taste; they are all movies that entertained me. They all had something sorcerous that got them on this list. In no particular order:

• Outcast (2010) A flick that will engage the Traditional Witchcraft crowd, or folks who like their sorcery earthy, bloody and hard. A tale of the Fae living on the edges of human society - an urban fantasy that hasn't been washed and brushed-up.

• All My Friends are Funeral Singers (2010) - a tarot reader is aided by her allies among the Dead, until a mystery arises that points toward pacts made by her equally witchy mother. A marvelously atmospheric set-piece, with marvelous music by Califone.

• The Skeleton Key (2005) Hoodoo and the blues in the Louisianna bayou - and they get it fairly right. Home-duty nurse finds her way into the conjure room of the old gothic mansion. Suggests that sorcery-vinyl didn’t start with heavy metal.

• Lo (2009) One of the few attempts to show a goetic evocation, and one of the most successful. Our protagonist's girfriend has been carried off by demons, and he evokes the demon Lo in an effort to get her back. The excellent script shows the demon and the evocator writhing in one another's grasp. Excellent script, very funny, watch for demon vaudeville...

• Crowley (2008) So, this really has surprisingly little ritual magic in it, but it *is* about Uncle Al, in its way. Of course Crowley is functionally the demon of the movie, come back into the body of a hapless professor of English. The depiction of Crowley is funny at times, bombastic and totally Hollywood. If you like AC it’s kind of like watching a train-wreck, but hang in there for a surprising Wilsonian ending...

• The Devil’s Rock (2011) Nazi occultism on the brink of the Normandy invasion. Two commandos stumble upon the remnant of an experiment gone bad. Excellent grimoire prop, ritual magic chamber, constrained demon and even a bit of attempted ritual magic.

Magus (2008) I almost didn't list this, because the magic in it bears minimal resemblance to any real occultism, with plenty of rays of power shining from hands, etc. But it does have a nice bit about a young woman who finds her personal power, and it also has both Julie Strain as a washed-up sorceress and her younger sister Lizzy as an amazonian bodyguard.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lo is great fun, and not just because the protagonist looks like Michael Dangler. And thanks for the rest of your recommendations - I just put "Outcast" and "All My Friends Are Funeral Singers" in my Netflix queue!