Chemical Wedding – film review

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”

After hearing at the screening of Flight 666 that Bruce Dickinson’s Chemical Wedding would also be shown, we had no other alternative but to go and check this film out as well.

The first thing to strike me was that the audience was much much smaller for this film than the other; since it was playing in a much smaller theatre I had actually been afraid that it wouldn’t be possible to get any tickets but those fears where definitely put to shame.

It also surprised me to see how few Iron Maiden (or metal in general for that matter) fans there were in the audience; I believe there might have been one except for us of course.

Anyway, on to the film.

As you may, or may not know; Chemical Wedding the film, as well as Chemical Wedding the song and album by Bruce Dickinson are based on Aleister Crowley, the early 20th century magician know also as ‘the wickedest man in the world’ or simply ‘the beast’.

This is clearly a subject which has fascinated Dickinson for some time, as references can be traced back to early Iron Maiden lyrics at the least.

As the story starts, two young students visit the aging Crowley at his deathbed.

One gets cursed by his dying breath and the other takes the clock to which Crowley had clung desperately.

Now the young man has grown old, and works at the very university that Crowley himself taught at.

By chance, a young American doctor of science, Joshua Mathers, arrives at the school to set up an experiment involving a suit which will put the wearer in a virtual reality.

The first experiment goes wrong, and the teacher, a Crowley enthusiast called Haddo, who wore the suit emerges with a different personality. Has something happened to him to make him believe he is the old magician, or is it true what Haddo himself claims; that he is Aleister Crowley reborn?

A frantic chase begins by Mathers and the old teacher as they learn that Lia Robinson, a young girl from the school newspaper (a girl which Mathers has more or less started a relationship with) might be the subject of Crowley’s final perverted ritual for complete reincarnation.

I didn’t quite know what to expect as I entered the theatre, but as it turned out I actually quite liked the film.

I found it to be well-acted (with some famous faces popping up here and there), the effects were tasteful for the most part, and the tempo was good as it increased throughout as the main characters got closer to revealing the truth. And the fact that it was littered by clips of Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson songs didn’t do anything bad for it either, although this might be subject to taste.

Sure, there were a few things which I felt weren’t properly explained, and some things I felt were left hanging in the air without proper closure, but as a whole they didn’t bother me enough to care about them as I watched.

Certain scenes might offend some people, but they are still legit as they help paint a portrait of what kind of man Aleister Crowley was. Still, peeing on students as a form for education might not sit well with everyone…

Chemical Wedding might not be the best film out there, but I would still recommend it to those who like horror films where everything doesn’t add up to how many severed limbs you can get in one shot; and I found it genuinely entertaining.

Text: Tobias Nilsson

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