Aleister Crowley – The Wickedest Man In the World was originally broadcast as part of BBC4’s ‘Masters of Darkness’ on February 19, 2002. Narrated by Brian Cox, this film is a look into Crowley’s life, in which he was alternately a mountaineer, poet, author, dark magician and drug addict. Self-proclaiming himself to be “the beast 666”, he was ultimately branded “the wickedest man in the world” by the British press. This is the best known documentary I know of on the life of Aleister Crowley.

Although Crowley died a penniless heroin addict on December 1st, 1947, his views on free love and sex were adopted & practiced by 60’s counter-culture, and thus began a revival of sorts in his writings. His influence permeated the music scene, most evident by John Lennon putting Crowley’s portrait on the cover of ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’ and later Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page’s obsession with collecting Aleister Crowley memorabilia. In addition to some amazing archival voice recordings of Crowley from 1920, interviews include Gavin Baddeley (author ‘Lucifer Rising’), Colin Wilson (Crowley biographer), Martin Booth (author & Crowley biographer), Kevin Logan (Church of England Minister) and Aron Paramer (author & occult researcher) who provides footage shot inside Crowley’s Thelema Abbey.

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