Chemical Wedding

Chemical Wedding
Chemical Wedding

The 2008 film Chemical Wedding is a fictional story about the resurrection of the 20th century occultist Aleister Crowley. Written by Bruce Dickinson–yes, THE Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden–and Julian Doyle, it is best described as a low budget horror flick. It fulfills every expectation that that description creates: the story line is kind of cheesy, the effects are mediocre, and it features numerous sexual situations.

The story of the film is fairly straight forward. A professor of theology at Cambridge University is involved in a virtual reality experiment which goes horribly wrong and becomes the reincarnation of Aleister Crowley. Crowley comes to rebuild the temple in three days and perform a virgin birth. Crowley’s objectives during the movie rely heavily on adaptations of Crowley’s interpretations of the Christian Gospels and the story of Osiris. He regards the impregnation of Isis by a reed as the greatest form of sex magick and seeks to recreate the event through a chemical wedding with a red-headed woman.

The Freemasons play an important role in this movie. It is apparently assumed by the writers that the Freemasons had a great effect on Crowley, when the truth is that Crowley really wanted to have a great effect on the Freemasons. Nevertheless, the movie even features a fairly lengthy scene portraying a Masonic lodge meeting. The Freemason will notice the absence of factual information in this lodge meeting and that the movie is obviously portraying the fraternity in a negatively light.

The movie also spends a lot of time showing explicit scenes of Crowley’s sex magick rituals. The squeamish viewer should be warned, watching this movie requires a fair amount of fortitude. In the end, the sex magick is portrayed as being the whole of Crowley’s interest and he is portrayed as a man addicted to the most depraved of sex acts. It is necessary to note that if the inaccuracy of the movie’s portrayal of the Freemasons is an indicator, the portrayal of Crowley and his teachings is probably also a bit far out.

To be honest, the only truly redeeming quality of the movie is its soundtrack. Thankfully, Bruce Dickinson is a shameless self promoter and features the music of his band Iron Maiden. I have long believed that Maiden is the king of metal as they bring everything to the table: wide-ranging vocals, deep lyrics, searing guitar riffs, and rock solid rhythm. My favorite scene of the movie features a man sitting in an alley who says to Crowley “Your time will come,” which Dickinson uses as an opportunity to fade into the chorus of “Wicker Man.”

I would recommend this movie to a person that likes very edgy entertainment, is intrigued by the occult, and cannot be offended or upset by graphic sex and violence scenes. If you get upset about seeing Freemasons being portrayed as the “bad guys” or think that Crowley was more than just a sex addicted madman, then you probably don’t want to see the movie.

I’d give Crowley 4 out of 5 stars as it is for select audiences only.

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A devoted student of the Western Mystery Traditions, Greg is a firm believer in the Masonic connections to the Hermetic traditions of antiquity, its evolution through the ages and into its present configuration as the antecedent to all contemporary esoteric and occult traditions. He is a self-called searcher for that which was lost, a Hermetic Hermit and a believer in “that which is above is so too below.” Read more about Greg Stewart.


  1. I just had the opportunity to get this in the DVD player, and wanted to add a “part 2” to the review. I’ve definitely seen worse films in the past, and say that this was several cuts above the usual “made for cable” flicks you see creep up on the usual suspect channels. What it lacked in star power, I think it made up for in overall story.

    It does ramble a bit, and does get lost on its own ideas, it does weave a strange take of the late Aleister Crowley and the sex magic occult that was his art. On top of that the mentions of Jack Parsons and L Ron Hubbard, it tried to paint a fairly occulted (pardon the pun) picture of the science behind the mysticism, where occult ritual rubs side by side with the beautiful simplicity of the binary computer. Mix in a bit of the “Scarlet Woman” and divine incarnation via the ceremony of the Chemical Wedding and you get the 2nd coming (not literal) of the beast himself.

    It is definitely not a film for the feint of heart, and if the ideas of over gluttonous sex and ritual practice, then you may take offense. But if you digest the bits down and look below the cover of Nuit, you can see where some of their subtle symbolism was going, and especially in the aspect that Masonry factors large. His Rite of the Chemical Wedding requiring the church of all faiths, I.E.: a Masonic Lodge, the temple of the tektons.

    It ends in a flourish, and with a substantial question of multi-dimensions and the possibility of parallel worlds. But what it sparked in me was the mid 20th Century connections between Jack Parson, Crowley, and Hubbard.

    All in all, I give it 3.5 stars, and well worth the Netflix rental to see it.

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