Saturday, January 19, 2008

Review: Beyond Lemuria

Imagine that cult film director Ed Wood was also a ceremonial magician.

Or imagine a merger of Dion Fortune and Elvira: Mistress of the Dark. She would be perfect to introduce this film.

Imagine giant caverns underground filled with degenerate descendants of the Lemurians, accessible from the lower slopes of Mount Shasta.

If you can imagine all that, you should watch Beyond Lemuria.

Written by Poke Runyon, well-known in West Coast Pagan and magickal circles, and including several other veterans of that scene in its cast (as well as some much younger and cuter actresses to balance the mostly mature male cast), the movie was clearly a labor of love, with the director and cast enjoying themselves almost too much.

You can’t have an occult thriller without swirling visual vortices or bits of Central European menace: a black magician with a “broomhandle” Mauser pistol strapped over his robe, or a sinister Romanian carrying (oddly) the Hungarian name of “Zoltan.” And black magic must work, because that particular cabal seems not to need California license plates on their black SUV. Evidently they are invisible to the cops.

At the heart of Beyond Lemuria are a 19th-century occult bestseller, A Dweller on Two Planets, by Frederick Spencer Oliver and the “Shaver Mystery,” which sustained the sales of the old SF pulp magazine Amazing Stories for years, not to mention being a staple topic in Fate magazine as well.

Anyway, the good guys are all good and seek enlightenment. The bad guys are bad and seek power. “Other members of the expedition were expendable,” sneers the chief baddie.

A young initiate must choose between two paths. But evil is never permanently defeated.

You will have to buy it from the filmmakers or from Amazon, because you won’t find this occult thriller at Netflix or showing at the local cineplex. But once you own a copy, you can add it to your “midnight movie” collection. Think of it as Plan 9 from Inner Space.

Best line: “Now I don't care how politically correct and liberal you people are, believe me, these aliens are not people you want to have for your next-door neighbors,” delivered by Poke Runyon’s character of an over-the-top anthropology professor.

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Blogger Erik said...

Heh - sounds like fun!

8:22 PM  
Blogger Modemac said...

As part of our ongoing wiki project to find and review weird Web sites, the High Weirdness Project, we have a section especially for reviews of SubGenius Badfilms:

I would love to be able to add your review of "Beyond Lemuria" to this section, though of course I am asking your permission first. Please let me know if you like our site, and if we can add your review there. Thank you for your attention.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...


If you keep a link to the original blog posting, I have no problem with your adding the review. The Shaver Mystery definitely counts as "high weirdness."

12:19 PM  
Blogger dr. hypercube said...

Oh, yeah! This sounds like lots of fun - thanks for the tip. (I've always had a soft spot for C96s - Borchardt C93s too).

7:26 AM  
Blogger Steve Bodio said...

What John said- may have to borrow it (film not Mauser) from you?

Deros, Teros, Shaver- the crazed things nobody remembers from the fifties..

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comment: ...that particular cabal seems not to need California license plates on their black SUV. Evidently they are invisible to the cops." is more true than you think. On our trip back from Mt. Shasta we forgot to take the cover off but were passed up by several cops. Maybe we were invisible after all.

I am...

~ Dr. X ~

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Chas S. Clifton said...

Dr. X,

Sometimes the magic works.

4:19 PM  

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