Kenneth Anger  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Kenneth Anger (born February 3, 1927) is an American ex-child actor and underground avant-garde film-maker and author. In addition to filmmaking, Anger also has written an exposé of Hollywood behind-the-scenes, Hollywood Babylon.


Born in Santa Monica, California February 3, 1927 as Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer, as a child he played the child prince (aka Changeling Prince) in the 1935 version of A Midsummer Night's Dream and attended the Maurice Kossloff Dancing School with Shirley Temple.

He gained fame and notoriety from the publication of the French version of Hollywood Babylon in Paris in 1958, a tell-all book of the scandals of Hollywood's rich and famous. (The U.S. version wasn't published until 1974.) He became fascinated with the supernatural and Aleister Crowley (as well as becoming an adherent of Crowley's religion of Thelema) sometime in his late teens and many of his films reflect occult themes.

He began making films around age 9, but his early films were mostly destroyed. His first film to see distribution was Fireworks, filmed in Los Angeles in 1947, which gained the attention of Jean Cocteau, who then invited him to go to Paris. In 1949, Anger directed The Love That Whirls which according to the 1972 book Experimental Cinema contained (faked) nudity, and was thus confiscated by the film lab. While most of his films are short subject (ranging from 3.5 minutes to 30 minutes) mood pieces, in 1955 he made a documentary film of the ruins of Crowley's Thelema Abbey in Cefalù, Sicily, which is now considered a lost film.

He developed a close friendship with Dr. Alfred Kinsey of the Institute for Sex Research. Anger would later recall that Kinsey was his first customer after Kinsey purchased a copy of Fireworks when they first met in 1947. Anger eventually helped Kinsey build his film archive. The Anger Collection includes correspondence between the two men, as well as letters to and from former Institute director John Bancroft. Anger would later speak openly of his participation in Kinsey's research, including being filmed masturbating.

During the late 1960s he associated with The Rolling Stones, as well as Bobby Beausoleil (before he gained notoriety as an associate of the Charles Manson family). Beausoleil, a musician who had played with Arthur Lee, was cast as Lucifer in Anger's proposed film, Lucifer Rising. Beausoleil and Anger had a falling out and Beausoleil left, taking most of the completed film with him Beausoleil is also rumored to have buried the film's negative in the desert at one of Manson's former hangouts). British singer Marianne Faithfull later appeared in Anger's re-shot version of the film. Some footage from the earlier version of Lucifer Rising (including Beausoleil) ended up Anger's Invocation of My Demon Brother.

Kenneth Anger had a widely publicized spat with Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page over the Lucifer Rising soundtrack. Anger claimed Page took three years to deliver the music, and the final product was only 25 minutes of droning and was useless. Anger also accused Page of "having an affair with the White Lady" and being too strung out on drugs to complete the project. Page countered claiming he had fulfilled all his obligations, even going so far as to lend Anger his own film editing equipment to help him finish the project. Page's music was dumped eventually and replaced in 1979 by music written and recorded by Bobby Beausoleil in prison.

Anger's life long interest in the occult brought him into contact with a variety of groups and individuals. He was a life long friend of Anton Szandor LaVey both before and after the founding of the Church of Satan in the 1960s and lived with LaVey and his family during the 1980s. In more recent years Anger accepted initiation into the Ordo Templi Orientis in a semi-honorary fashion.


  • Who Has Been Rocking My Dreamboat (1941)
  • Tinsel Tree (1941-1942)
  • Prisoner of Mars (1942)
  • The Nest (1943)
  • Escape Episode (1944)
  • Drastic Demise (1945)
  • Escape Episode (shorter sound version) (1946)
  • Fireworks (1947)*
  • Puce Moment (1949)*
  • The Love That Whirls (1949)
  • Maldoror (1951-1952, unfinished)
  • Eaux d'Artifice (1953)*
  • Le Jeune Homme et la Mort (1953)
  • Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954, recut in 1966)*
  • Thelema Abbey (1955)
  • Histoire d'O (1959-1961)
  • Scorpio Rising (1963)*
  • Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965)*
  • Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)*
  • Lucifer Rising (1970-1980)*
  • Rabbit's Moon (1972)*
  • Don't Smoke That Cigarette (2000)
  • The Man We Want to Hang (2002)
  • Anger Sees Red (2004)
  • Elliott's Suicide (2004)
  • Mouse Heaven (2004)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Kenneth Anger" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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