We’re always being told that anger is a negative emotion. And yet, it can also be a powerful motivator for great irreverent creativity. Anger can inspire you to dig deep into a subject and settle some scores. Anger mixed with ambition can make you stand out from the crowd. Anger is also an irrational visceral demonic force, but beware: when it’s turned against yourself, you can hit rock bottom in agony.
Kenneth Anger is one filmmaker who’s lived the hellish roller coaster ride of the power of anger. I just had to include this ‘enfant terrible’ of cinema in my book, Sinemania!, illustrating the highs and lows of his career in an original manner. Now, I don’t wanna reveal too much here, but here’s a little glimpse…
Despite his claims, Warner Bros. studio records state that the character Anger said he played in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was actually portrayed by a girl named Sheila Brown. Anger also said that he made the experimental film ‘Fireworks’ when he was just seventeen. In fact, he was twenty at the time. Look, I’m not saying that anger necessarily makes you a bull-shitter, but it might stop you from getting your facts straight.
In any case, Anger’s avant-garde homo-erotic short films have been highly influential and should be seen by anyone who fancies himself a ‘sinemaniac’. Fabulator or not, Anger’s friendship with director Donald Cammell and The Rolling Stones was the real deal, and his influence on them is noticeable in their work. His juxtaposition of images and use of a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack are now commonplace, but he was a true pioneer in his day. For proof, just watch Anger’s short 1964 tribute to motor-psycho leather boys, ‘Scorpio Rising.’
Far be it for me to describe or analyze his films here. Instead, I’d rather entertain you by looking at how anger fueled Anger and his peculiarly strange behavior. After all, I do need to make my point on the power of ANGER, damn it!! Several points, to be exact.
“Lucifer is the patron saint of the visual arts. Color, form - all these are the work of Lucifer.” So said our Kenneth, lover of black magic, and that almost sums it up except that he should have mentioned demented filmmaking and vitriolic writing, along with color and form. He was, you see, very gifted in both crafts. In particular, Anger’s love of digging up the dirt on the stars of Tinseltown made him a prolific, incendiary, and Machiavellian word-spewer, starting with his sordid 1959 book, ‘Hollywood Babylon’.
Anger was living in Paris at the time so the original printing was in French. It quickly became a best seller in France and was such a hit that he later wrote the sequel, ‘Hollywood Babylon II’. Some of the facts in these books are debatable, but fabrications or not, these trashy tomes are bloody hard to put down! I wish he would’ve written more since burning bridges in Hollywood and cursing everyone for the sake of it is Anger’s favorite hobby.
And so, here’s point number one: anger can make you stick to a project like glue and make you infamous. Okay, if you’ve got to invent some facts so be it! Satan lies all the time, right? And if you get sued, you can always put a evil spell on the folks taking you to court.
Anger can also make you do impulsively dumb things as this picture undoubtedly proves.
Point number two: anger can screw up your rational mind. (That tattoo could’ve been worse; instead of ‘Lucifer’, it could’ve said: ‘Shove it up my ass!’)
The relationship between these two mischievous fellows (and lovers) ended when Anger kicked Beausoleil out of his house because Bobby had hidden some dope at his place. (You’d think the drugs would’ve fit Anger’s satanic agenda.) Beausoleil got back at him by stealing the footage of Kenneth’s film, ‘Lucifer Rising’, and burying it somewhere in Death Valley, California. Anger in turn put the curse of the frog on Beausoleil’s soul by trapping a frog in a well.
Point number three: anger can make PETA put a curse right back atcha! After all, what goes around comes around.
In 1984, Anger was invited as a guest on some TV show. When he arrived at the studio, his demand that someone from the staff pay his cab fare was turned down. Anger hit the roof and tried to drag the talent coordinator into the taxi. After she was rescued, he escaped the scene, throwing a $100 bill at the cab driver.
Point number four: anger can make you screw up good opportunities.
Pop artist Andy Warhol wasn’t only a maketing genius, but a well known cheapskate. Using his ‘friends’ in the name of art for zero financial reward in return caused lots of friction. Like any good narcissist, Warhol was exploitative and didn’t give a damn about others, using everyone to promote himself. And he certainly made an enemy out of Kenneth Anger who was jealous of Warhol’s success. He went on a vendetta against the artist and in 1980, attacked him… by throwing a bucket of paint on his front door! Alas, he got his timing wrong as Warhol was living somewhere else by then. Maybe Anger should’ve hired Valerie Solanas as a hitman instead?
My fifth and final point: anger makes you fight with Superstar Narcissists in a fruitless attempt to change their selfish behavior.
So, yes, anger can literally possess you to embellish the truth, do stupid impulsive things, make enemies, engage in self-sabotage, and attempt the impossible. It can also make you a very good innovative storyteller and one sonovabitch hellraiser! All hail the power of ANGER!
For a taste of Anger, Satan commands you to watch this!