TO THE SORCERER CROW A SUCCUBUS TULPA OF A DAUGHTER
I really enjoy watching a good horror flick, preferably fantasy horror rather than slashers. However the same old focus upon an all male Biblical paradigm of an ‘Animus’ fixation just creases me up; I just cannot take them at all seriously.
Anyway, I still like them, even though a God upending a Devil and vice versa, via their incubus angels and demons, followed up closely behind by ‘Animus’ fixated minions, is absolutely hilarious. One film I have a fondness for from my childhood is the classic horror film, To the Devil a Daughter, directed by Peter Sykes, which was co-produced by Hammer Film Productions and Terra-Filmkunst back in 1976.
The film was adapted by Christopher Wicking and John Peacock from the 1953 novel of the same name, authored by Dennis Wheatley. The film starred Richard Widmark, Christopher Lee, Honor Blackman, Denholm Elliott, and of course the delectable Nastassja Kinski who I had the hots for; she was older than me, maybe the same age thereabouts, at the time, of my fantasy fueled conjurations.
It was the second of Wheatley’s black magic novels filmed by Hammer, following The Devil Rides Out, prior released in 1968, which is another film favourite of childhood memory. Like most horror films, let alone books, the film uses the same tried and tested generic formula of commonality.
The plot in general has an American expatriate occult writer, named John Verney (Widmark) who is asked by Henry Beddows (Elliot) to pick up his daughter Catherine (Kinski) from London airport.
Catherine is a nun, belonging to a Christian cult, calling themselves the ‘Children of the Lord,’ a mysterious heretical order based in Illuminati Bavaria. The cult was created by a excommunicated Roman Catholic priest Michael Rayner (Lee), just like the Emperor Constantine had done, when he appropriated the ancestral-self-identity of the Hebrew’s in order to create Christianity.
Beddows is only allowed to visit his daughter on her birthdays. Shortly after Catherine arrives, Beddows insists she stays with Verney. The cult members are outraged, who under Father Michael, use all their ‘Animus’ fixated efforts to get Catherine back into their flock, by using black magic to stop Verney protecting her.
Verney learns that the cult are preparing Catherine to become an avatar of the twenty-ninth spirit of the Goetia called Astaroth. Said spirit is described as being male in the classical Grimoires, even though Astaroth was originally based upon the Mesopotamian sex Goddess called, Astarte, the Sumerian’s and Babylonian’s knew as Ishtar, who the Saxon’s called Eostre, from whose name Easter is derived.
In the film Astaroth is an anti-thesis Christ figure, who is depicted crucified, upside down upon a cross, which is otherwise up-righted on an altar. Catherine wears the Astaroth crucifix around her neck of an ‘Animus’ fixation.
Catherine is to be wedded to her lord Astaroth on her eighteenth birthday just like many another nun being married off to their Christ; whereupon the priest systematically murders Verney’s friends in his attempts to retrieve Catherine from Verney.
But Verney battles the priest and his minions who eventually rescues Catherine from the clutches of the Astaroth cult, back into the folds of the Christ cult. What a laugh!
Suffice to say Nastassja Kinski’s ‘Tarot card XV’ role in the movie was verily conjured into a Faustian film amidst my Triangle Of Art imagination, which goes far beyond Marlowe’s and Goethe’s, Faust. So, when Faustus Crow presently summons Mephistophina, he is conjuring up childhood memories of a Night-Mare time when he was lucid dream formulating his Succubus Grimoire, of sorcerer artistry.