Lucifer Rising: The NSFW Lost Film That Was Shot in Egypt

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Have you ever heard of Lucifer Rising, a short film by Kenneth Anger that features mythological figures such as Isis, Osiris, Lilith and Lucifer? If not, you are not alone. This film has a dark and controversial history that involves drugs, violence, theft and betrayal. It was also shot in some of the most sacred sites of ancient Egypt, without official permission or security.

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What is Lucifer Rising?

Lucifer Rising is a 1972 film by Kenneth Anger, an avant-garde filmmaker and author who was influenced by the occult teachings of Aleister Crowley, a British occultist, hedonist, and author. Anger followed Crowley’s religion of Thelema, which is based on the motto “Do what thou wilt”. Anger incorporated Thelemic symbols, rituals, and prophecies in his films, especially Lucifer Rising, which depicts Lucifer as a light-bearing god and the coming of a new age.

Kenneth Anger
Kenneth Anger

The film features various mythological figures such as Isis, Osiris, Lilith and Lucifer, and was shot in historical sites of sun worship in Egypt, England and Germany. The film was completed in 1972, but was only widely distributed in 1980, after Bobby Beausoleil, who played Lucifer, delivered the soundtrack from prison, where he was serving a life sentence for murder.

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Why was it filmed in Egypt?

Anger was fascinated by the ancient Egyptian culture and its connection to the sun god Ra, whom he identified with Lucifer. He also believed that Egypt was the birthplace of Magick, the spiritual practice that he followed. He wanted to film in some of the most sacred and powerful places in Egypt, such as the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Temple of Karnak, the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut.

However, filming in Egypt was not easy. Anger did not have official permission or security, and he had to bribe the guards with cigarettes and money to access the restricted areas of the ancient monuments. He also faced some dangers, such as sandstorms, snakes and scorpions. He even claimed that he was attacked by a group of Bedouins who tried to steal his camera and film.

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Anger also had some encounters with the Egyptian authorities and the locals, who were not very welcoming of his presence and his activities. According to Anger, he was chased by a group of angry locals who thought he was a spy or a devil worshipper, and that he had to hide in a mosque until they dispersed.

He also said that he was arrested by the Egyptian police for filming a scene of a ritual sacrifice in the desert, and that he had to convince them that he was making a documentary on ancient religions. He said that he was released after showing them his passport and his membership card of the OTO, which he said was a “diplomatic passport”.

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However, these claims have not been verified by any independent sources, and some critics have questioned their authenticity and accuracy. Anger is known for embellishing and fabricating stories about his life and his films, and some of his statements may be exaggerated or false.

What is the controversy behind the film?

The film has a dark and controversial history, involving drugs, violence, theft and betrayal. Anger initially planned to document the countercultural movement in California, and cast Beausoleil as his Lucifer after seeing him play guitar and lick sweat off a woman’s breasts at a party.

However, their relationship soon soured, and Anger accused Beausoleil of stealing the footage and the money he had raised for the film. Anger then abandoned the project and declared the film “cursed”.

In 1969, Beausoleil was arrested for the murder of Gary Hinman, a music teacher and associate of Charles Manson. Beausoleil claimed he acted in self-defense, but was convicted and sentenced to death, later commuted to life imprisonment.

bobby beausoleil parole
Bobby Beausoleil

Anger later resumed the film with a new cast, including singer Marianne Faithfull as Lilith and Mick Jagger’s brother Chris Jagger as Osiris. He also received financial support from Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who was also a follower of Crowley and initially agreed to compose the soundtrack. However, Anger and Page also fell out, and Anger fired him and publicly denounced him as a “dabbler” in the occult.

jimmy page lucifer rising

Anger then contacted Beausoleil in prison and asked him to create the music for the film. Beausoleil agreed and recorded the soundtrack with a group of fellow inmates called the Freedom Orchestra. He sent the master tape to Anger, who finally released the film in 1980.

Beausoleil lucifer rising

Lucifer Rising is considered a lost film because it was not widely distributed or screened in the country where it was filmed.

There is not much information available about how Egypt reacted to Lucifer Rising, or if it even knew about its existence. The film was also banned in some countries, such as Germany, for its controversial content and imagery.

What is the significance of the film?

Lucifer Rising is considered a masterpiece of avant-garde cinema, and a powerful expression of Anger’s vision of Lucifer as a rebellious and creative force. The film is also a testament to the turbulent and tragic times of the 1960s and 1970s, and the dark side of the hippie movement. The film has influenced many artists and filmmakers, such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, and Marilyn Manson.

The film is also a unique and fascinating document of Egypt’s ancient history and culture, and its connection to the occult and the sun. The film captures some of the most stunning and sacred places in Egypt, and shows them in a different and provocative light.

Lucifer Rising is a film that you may not have heard of, but it is definitely worth watching, if you can find it. It is a film that will challenge your perceptions and expectations, and make you wonder about the mysteries and secrets of Egypt and the world.

Where can you watch Licifer’s Rising?

Lucifer Rising is a film that is hard to find and watch, as it is not available on any streaming platforms or DVD releases. The only way to watch it is to find a rare copy of the original VHS tape, or to visit one of the few museums or film festivals that occasionally screen it. 

You can also watch a low-quality version of the film on YouTube, but it may not be the best way to appreciate the film’s visuals and sound. But note that the film is extremely NSFW. 

What do you think?

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Written by Raghda El-Sayed

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of El-Shai.com and the crazy cat lady your mother warned you not to become!

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