Chemical Wedding (18)

Reviewed,Anthony Quinn
Sunday 23 October 2011 04:05

Caramba! This occult thriller, co-written by Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, has to be one of the most toweringly preposterous ever to achieve a cinema release. The plot, if it can so be called, centres on a virtual-reality experiment conducted by a young American scientist (Kal Weber) in a Cambridge laboratory. An unsuspecting don, played by Simon Callow (resembling a cross between Rowley Birkin QC and Boris Johnson), runs foul of the experiment and ends up possessed by the malign spirit of occultist Aleister Crowley, also known as "The Beast".

What ensues isn't exactly clear, but it involves astral planes, Masonic gatherings, scarlet women, the Whore of Babylon, a moon child, a couple of orgies, a semen-spurting fax machine (don't ask) and, for light relief, the funniest "student journalists" ever to chase a story. George Formby and Iron Maiden feature on the soundtrack. Kal Weber manages to keep a straight face (and almost his dignity) amid much provocation – his co-star Callow goes so flamboyantly over the top that I couldn't hear his lines above my own guffawing. "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law," he intones, a maxim that the film-makers appear to have followed. The result is dramatically indefensible, intellectually impenetrable – and a tip-top laugh riot.

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