On Nov 28, 1998, one of the truly original figures to emerge from the American landscape, Kerry Wendell Thornley, died after a long illness. Unfortunately, Thornley’s passing went totally unnoticed by the mainstream press, though his death–in my opinion–was just as significant as the recent demises of such counterculture icons as Ginsberg, Burroughs, Leary, and Castaneda.
Shortly after Thornley’s death, I synchronistically stumbled across a two part interview that my buddy Matt Lutz published in his zine Working Class Hero a couple years ago, and thought it a good time to bring this wonderful piece back before the general fringe public, in memoriam to our fallen comrade, the father of Discordianism, and inspiration for Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus Trilogy. My thanks to Matt for granting permission use it here. According to Matt, the new issue of Working Class Hero will be available in January ’99. Copies are $2.00 ppd. from: Matt Lutz, 418 Peninsula Drive, Lot 5, Erie, PA 16505. Included in this issue are articles by Paul Rydeen, Mae Brussell and some joker named Adam Gorightly, plus an interview with Linda Thompson.
W.C.H.: You were friends with Lee Harvey Oswald in the service, and you wrote a book about this. What was your inspiration for the book?
K.T.: His defection to the Soviet Union. I was writing a novel about my experience in the military. When Oswald deserted, I pretty much understood why. At the time I was feeling pretty anti-American myself and in retrospect I realized I didn’t know shit. But back then I felt I knew exactly why he did this.
W.C.H.: What, do you feel, made him want to defect?
K.T.: I thought he was disgusted with the way we (the military) behaved overseas. They think they are “concrete heroes”. A generation after the war when they go to Japan, they still feel like they are concrete heroes. They’re very loud, very belligerent.
W.C.H.: The “Ugly American Syndrome”?
K.T.: Right. I read THE UGLY AMERICAN the summer after Oswald defected and it was partly an inspiration for my IDLE WARRIORS. That’s why my book seems so disjointed, because I felt I didn’t need any unity or continuity. I just wanted to tell a bunch of different stories.
W.C.H.: When you were stationed with Oswald, did he express to you what he felt an ideal marine corp life would be like before the reality of the situation hit him?
K.T.: No, my guess was that he had come from a marine corp family. I also sensed he was disillusioned by the fucked up morale situation in the Far East. My main character was a third generation marine. As it turned out, I was pretty close; his older brother was in the service. For Lee it was a matter of being too gung ho in the beginning, in my opinion, and later becoming disheartened because things were nowhere near perfect. They were below zero. (laughs)
W.H.C.: Yes…I can understand that, I’m a vet myself. Was Lee Harvey Oswald a loner?
K.T.: He seemed to enjoy solitude. He didn’t reach out to form friendships. But I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time. When I was younger, I was pretty shy myself, so it wasn’t anything hard for me to understand, or anything puzzling to me.
W.C.H.: So he was reluctant towards active participation?
K.T.: It seemed that way to me…I hate to reinforce anything The Warren Commission ever said, including the idea that he was a loner. But nevertheless, when you got too close he pulled away. You saw my testimony about how he spoke for the last time. I didn’t actually say: “…comes the revolution”; I said something so unbearably silly that I didn’t even want to tell the Commission what it was. (laughs) We were sitting there looking at this parking lot with gravel on it, and I was thinking in terms of “1984”, because I was reading it at the time. Oswald loaned me his copy. So I said something about the revolutionary gravel, and Lee turned to me and said, “Not you, too, Thornley?!”, then got up and walked away.
W.C.H.: Like he was pissed?
K.T.: Yes, he was quite pissed about it! To me it was a perfectly harmless statement and at the time I felt he thought I was “Red Baiting” him. If I’d known that he was going to become one of histories most interesting individuals, I would have corrected his impression. (laughs)
W.C.H.: Well, he had been in numerous misdemeanors or misconduct.
K.T.: Lee was extremely rebellious.
W.C.H.: Vying for attention possibly?
K.T.: Look, he was a C.I.D. agent. There’s no possibility he was anything else. He was working for military intelligence; he was trying to identify communists in the outfit by pretending to be a communist. I’m sure of it.
W.C.H.: Which outfit? C.I.D. or C.I.A.?
K.T.: No they call them C.I.D. outfits; he went into the C.I.A. later…I don’t know what C.I.D. stands for.
W.C.H.: Aaaahh…Central Intelligence Of Defense, I believe.
K.T.: Yeah, probably.
W.C.H.: I was in the Ç N.S.A. for several years.
K.T.: If you want to hear a hair raising story about that period in the marines…
W.C.H.: Love to.
K.T.: David Bucknell was in that outfit. He contacted me in 1978. And asked me if I remembered an incident that involved myself, him and Oswald. I told him I didn’t remember the whole incident, except for certain highlights. All right…Bucknell made notes about this incident the next day. Oswald, Bucknell and I were called on the PA system to go into the administration office of our radar outfit on the perimeter of the base. We did, and they sent us over to base security. On our way over there Bucknell and Oswald were talking to one another and I was lagging behind about 20 feet. I caught up with them and said something. Oswald looked at me and said, “Thornley, this is a private conversation.” I said, “Oh well, excuse me,” dropped back and let them finish their talk. Bucknell told me what was going on was that he and Oswald were running a loan sharking operation. Bucknell was afraid that that’s what the security inquiry was about and Oswald was arguing saying, “No, then why would I be involved?” We went into a room with a bunch of guys from other outfits and a captain got up and introduced this man in civilian clothes, a latin looking guy with a “DA” haircut. The captain only gave his name as “Mr. B”. Mr. B said, “We’ve called you all together, because we understand that you’re all admirers of Fidel Castro.” This was right after the Cuban revolution, before Castro came out as a Marxist. They said we have reason to believe Soviet Agents have infiltrated Castro’s government, and we want volunteers to help get rid to them. Then they interviewed us one at a time. Now as best I’ve been able to figure out, what I think probably happened is that they found out I was about to go overseas and I didn’t qualify for the training program. As for Bucknell, he said he went in and talked to Mr. B privately and they filled out a little form first. A security clearance form. One thing he had to do was list 3 references. One of them he listed was a maternal grandfather of his, whose first initials were “E.H.” and last name happened to be Hunt. However, Mr. B said: Who’s this? Bucknell told him and Mr. B chuckled to himself. Whoever he was, he knew Howard Hunt…Now, when I went over to Atsugi afterwards, Howard Hunt was there at the same base. He was with the C.I.A. at the time. Of course, I didn’t find this out until years later when I read his autobiography, so it appears to me that if Oswald was in Military Intelligence already, he was recruited at that meeting. There also was one guy in that outfit named “Delgato” and he was a fan of Castro. I remember this part too, I remember being surprised that he wasn’t there. So I went back to the outfit and I said to Delgato, “I’m surprised that they didn’t want to talk to you.” He said,”Kerry, I think Castro’s turning communist.” And I said. “Oh, all right.” He thought everyone was a communist; he thought Oswald was a communist. None of the rest of us took him seriously, you know? So that’s the hottest piece of information I’ve come across about that period in the marine corp. David Bucknell, I don’t know where he is, the last I heard he was living in San Francisco. There’s a guy who’s living in San Jose by the name of Bottello. He’s a judge now. He was in the same outfit. Bucknell was going to get the three of us together. Bottello wasn’t with us that day, but we were all going to get together, anyway. Bottello later told one of my friends that he didn’t remember Bucknell. However, I remember Bucknell vividly ! I e Éven remember his nickname; they called him “Bucky Beaver”. I’m sure Bucknell was telling the truth.
W.C.H.: So, do you think that there’s any connection between the Gary Powers incident and…
K.T.: Oh yeah! Very possibly. Powers said something to that effect. The U-2 used to take off and land at Atsugi all the time, and we didn’t know what it was. We were told “not to even think about it,” unless we wanted to get our asses in a sling. I thought it was an experimental aircraft. The U-2 incident occurred while we were over there.
W.C.H.: Do you think Oswald was set up from day one?
K.T.: Sure he was! I think they were out to set up one of us. I had a whole lot of talks with a guy I now feel was Howard Hunt. Ever since Watergate I’ve been ranting and raving about this everywhere, getting very few people to pay any attention to it. When I was in New Orleans after I got out of the service, I met a man who looked exactly like Howard Hunt, except he was bald. And he told me his name was Gary Kirsten and claimed he was a Nazi and had come from a family of Nazi’s in the Mid-West. He talked at great length about assassinating Kennedy…I just thought: this guy’s nuts, you know? But, his idea of reality was very different from mine…As it turned out, mine was very naive! (laughs) The last thing he ever said about Kennedy–2 weeks prior to the assassination–was, “The only remaining question is, who to frame?” I said, “Why do you have to frame somebody?” “People need answers”. His idea was to frame a “jail bird”. I said, “Why do you want to frame a jail bird?” “Because criminals who are so stupid as to get caught, shouldn’t be allowed to breed. They should be locked up, so they can’t produce offspring.” So I said: “I don’t think you should frame a jailbird,” and he asked, “Who should I frame?” And he knew what I was going to say, ’cause he was smirking so hard he couldn’t look me in the eye. I said, “Why don’t you frame some communist.” He was setting me up. He knew then that he was going to kill J.F.K. Because one of the first things he ever said to me was, J.F.K. was a menace to the country and ought to be assassinated. Since I was into “AYN RAND” at the time–very right wing and very anti J.F.K.–I agreed with him, and we shook hands on it. My only problem was, I didn’t find him very credible. What he was probably hoping for is that I would name Gary Kirsten to the Warren Commission. And that way, if they insisted Oswald had an accomplice, they would accuse this alleged Nazi from the Mid-West, who in reality was probably a KGB agent or something. I’m certain though it was Hunt or someone that looked like him–to thoroughly confuse the issue.
W.C.H.: And the final payoff was the continuation of The Vietnam War?
K.T.: Yes. His thing was, he didn’t want a war with Cuba, because Castro was a “White Man”. And he felt if there was to be another war against communism, it should be against an Asian country.
W.C.H.: Who felt this? Johnson?
K.T.: No, Hunt.
W.C.H.: E. Howard Hunt?
W.C.H.: I didn’t think he had that much clout.
K.T.: I think he’s an enormously powerful man. He had other people with him like Charles Cabell, John Connally.
W.C.H.: Kennedy had a lot of enemies, especially after the attempt to dissolve the C.I.A., and the plans to pull out of Vietnam.
K.T.: Well, according to Oliver Stone…I think what Stone left out was the Nazi angle.
W.C.H.: Nazi angle?
K.T.: Right. In the movie, “Mr. X” was Fletcher Prouty. Prouty is buddy buddy with Willis Carto. Carto is a raving anti-semitic who publishes the SPOTLIGHT. He also publishes some of Mark Lane’s stuff and the C.I.A. renegade, Marchetti…That’s the one thing that Stone did not touch upon. Mike Paine–husband of Ruth Paine, with whom Marina Oswald lived with in Sept. ’63–was working for a Nazi at the time at Bell aircraft, General Walter Dornberger. There were all these ex-Nazis over here. According to Mae Brussell, there was a goddammed “WEREWOLF TEAM”, a Nazi commando team. Known members of the famous Nazi werewolf commandos were in Dallas two weeks before the assassination. George DeMohrenschildt’s wife admitted–when he died–that he had been a Nazi agent during World War II.
W.C.H.: Who do you think actually killed Kennedy?
K.T.: I think basically it was General Gehlen’s organization, which I don’t think really had an actual name to it…Gehlen defected to the Allies when the war was over and entered the U.S. Army without a reduction in rank. He was given a monopoly on the intelligence area about the Soviet Union. But he never did tell the C.I.A. who was in that outfit.
(Editor’s note: The Gehlen organization became the West German Federal Intelligence Agency (FIA) after his defection. During the war, Gehlen had been a member of the German General staff unde µr Hitler and was in charge of wartime intelligence for Foreign Armies East. He had been recruited into the C.I.A. by then Bonn Station Chief, Henry Pleasants. Gehlen employed many former SS and Wehsmacht intelligence officers. Gehlen’s organization was not officially part of the West German government until July of ’55. Three of those former Germans e mployed by Gehlen, hence C.I.A., were Heinz Felfe, Hans Clemens, and Erin Tiebel. They actually conducted espionage against West Germany for over ten years and were arrested, tried, and convicted in July of ’63.)
W.C.H.: Do you think they continued on with Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X?
K.T.: The guy I talked to in New Orleans always said that they were going to get Martin Luther King. As for Bobby Kennedy, I don’t know. There’s one common thread that runs through all this stuff and that’s an organization that was organized shortly after Kennedy’s death and that was the PROCESS CHURCH.
W.C.H.: I’m familiar with that.
K.T.: They had tried to frame me in New Orleans for something I didn’t do, which had been my actual participation in the assassination, which I didn’t realize until later. They were involved in Kennedy’s death somehow, I believe. That might be the link right there.
W.C.H.: They seemed to almost be a Manson like cult.
K.T.: Some of them were. Some of them were with Papa Doc Devallier, some were with Trudeau, (laughs) I forget the other name…but there were three questions to find out whether you were a Satanist, a Luciferian, and a Jehovist. The Satanist answer was Papa Doc; the Luciferian answer was Trudeau. So their politics were quite varied.
W.C.H.: It seems like the church was involved in the conspiracy.
K.T.: It’s like fate, the conspiracy. There were Nazi breeding experiments which I think Oswald and myself may have been products of.
W.C.H.: Similar to the C.I.A. mind control experiments?
K.T.: That was involved also, but it was a little more complicated than that. The North Koreans had some enormously sophisticated mind control technology. As it turns out members of North and South Korea’s government were part of the Japanese (column?). During the war, they were getting this technology from the Japanese, it was stuff the Germans developed unbeknownst to American Intelligence. I believe I was being mind controlled by them even before I went into the military. Then the C.I.A. got a hold of me up until the Kennedy assassination.
W.C.H.: Controlled in what manner?
K.T.: Well, it’s spooky; very hard to believe.
W.C.H.: Like the Russian E.S.P. experiments?
K.T.: Very strange. They could influence my choice of words, so that it would sound like I was speaking in intelligence code. Things that I didn’t realize even existed. And I think back on arguments I had with my parents, and I remember how “freaked out” they were at the time. It was like, all of a sudden one day I started speaking these double entendre sentences. Like a type of “cant” language.
W.C.H.: Like doublespeak?
K.T.: Yeah, exactly! Precisely! And my parents thought I was a “genius” (laughs) of some kind, to have figured all of this out by myself. Then later on they deduced I was being mind controlled. Also Dulles went nuts trying to figure out how the Koreans got ahold of such sophisticated techniques. Then when I got into the marines, I think Delgado at Yale planted something in my head at that point. I believe one of the purposes of the Kennedy assassination was to get those of us who had been torn out of the clutches of the Japanese by the C.I.A., back into the hands of the Japanese. (laughs)
W.C.H.: I’ve seen your name mentioned in Robert Anton Wilson’s COSMIC TRIGGER I and…
K.T.: Everything nice Robert Anton Wilson says about me is a lie! (laughing) Especially in COSMIC TRIGGER. He was just trying to sniff out impersonators that way.
W.C.H.: Are you still in contact with him?
K.T.: He stopped speaking to me in 1976.
W.C.H.: What about Greg Hill and Bob Shea?
K.T.: I’ve never actually held more than a 15 second conversation with Bob Shea years ago when he was publisher of “CAVALIER”, before I met Wilson. Also, Shea stopped corresponding with me around the same time I lost track of Robert Anton Wilson. They both became very strange as far as I was concerned. Greg Hill and I were in contact up until my appearance on “A Current Affair”. I called him up and told him I was going to be on the show and asked if they would let them interview him. He was very pleased to hear from me, but he didn’t want anything to do with Current Affair. He felt that they were “Yellow Journalists”. I told him that I’ve been ranting and raving since 1975 about being involved with the Kennedy assassination and I haven’t been able to get this stuff in front of the American public. I’m not in a position to be choosy about how I get my information across.
W.C.H.: Have you read any of Wilson’s other work?
K.T.: Just THE ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY and COSMIC TRIGGER I. He changed a lot in the early 70’s and sort of lost me. He was very much into politics and individualist Anarchism, Tucker Spooner, Lawrence Lapperty and all that. He converted me to a lot of their ideas. I found him a very exciting person, very knowledgeable about psychology. Then he got into magic and everything and just lost me.
W.C.H.: Right. I bought COSMIC TRIGGER II, thinking it would be a continuation of the first COSMIC TRIGGER and it was completely different.
K.T.: Wilson has gone to great lengths to avoid me, including telling Greg Hill that he didn’t want me to know where he was living.
W.C.H.: I think he’s in L.A.
K.T.: He just got really strange on me every time I’d bring up the Kennedy hit. Why, I don’t know.
W.C.H.: That sucks. Anyway, there were a couple other things I wanted to ask you…Have you heard about Bill Cooper?
W.C.H.: Have you read his book?
K.T.: No, I listened to a tape of his. He doesn’t sound like a very convincing person. He’s entirely misinterpreting facts.
W.C.H.: He seems to have patched together a number of different sources.
K.T.: Well, we all have to do that (laughing) when we write.
W.C.H.: He’s been accusing everyone of being a C.I.A. plant.
K.T.: I know why that happens. I went through a phase of that also. There are a lot of people in the Intelligence Community and there are a lot of people, without realizing it, are working for the Intelligence Community because they’re connected with organizations like the Rosicrucians and The Masons and so forth. It’s very compartmentalized and they all think their working together and each group thinks they’re serving that group. So it’s very easy to get the idea you’re surrounded by C.I.A. agents, when in fact there are agents of many, many powers. (laughs)
W.C.H.: So then you think The Illuminati and Bilderbergers are real organizations?
K.T.: Undoubtedly! Yeah, I have to deal with these people all the time. There’s been some kind of misunderstanding between me and them that has been deliberately cultivated by the KKK. They’re Aleister Crowley people–probably not Adam Weishaupt’s Illuminati–but its inspired by similar ideas.
W.C.H.: There have been all kinds of claims about this group, fiction or otherwise. One of the claims involves satanism.
K.T.: There’s a lot of satanism, because within the Catholic Church you’re going to have somebody into satanism. Then you can blackmail them in the church, control them. And use them as spies within the church. So a lot of so-called “satanism” serves a purpose. It’s not that people actually believe in a “devil”, per se. They can be atheists and still be a satanist. Shell Oil Company is deeply involved with present day illuminati. They’re not particularly into Central Ba Önking; the original conspiracy was supposed to be a conspiracy of bankers and revolutionaries.
W.C.H.: Like the Rockefellers?
K.T.: The impression I get is that these Illuminati are monetary federalists. They’re against central banking.
W.C.H.: So then what’s their game plan?
K.T.: To make the whole world look like the U.S.; turn it all into a Gringo Planet. (laughs)
W.C.H.: A McDonalds and Burger King on every corner? I see Coke is pretty pissed off that they can’t open up shop in Vietnam.
K.T.: Shell Oil Co. has all kinds of property in Vietnam. I had a friend over there during the war and he said he saw Shell Co. property everywhere he went.
W.C.H.: I read a review of your book IDLE WARRIORS in “Anarchy”, and I’m not sure if it was a direct quote from you or not, but the inference was that the Kennedy hit was a starting point to set the “New World Order” scenario into motion?
K.T.: I don’t remember seeing that in the review myself; I read it, also. I can tell that guy had only read one or two chapters in the book. I can’t say for sure which chapters. He didn’t read the intro section; he probably read the chapter: “At Comocura”, maybe one or two others. He was just faking it, basically.
W.C.H.: Really? I thought it was a good review.
K.T.: It was a nice review.
W.C.H.: What’s the thrust of your books?
K.T.: All different types of things. In 1964 I wrote a book about Oswald, which I tried to explain why I thought he shot J.F.K., a non-fiction book. It was published by “New Classics House”. I’m not all that proud of it, because at the time I accepted the Lone Assassin Theory”, because conspiracy theories to me smacked of McCarthyism. I wanted to be an intellectually respectable right winger, not a McCarthyite. After that I wrote the IDLE WARRIORS and that was published in 1991. That same publisher (Illuminet) also put out my ZENARCHY. It basically popularizes the ideas of the beat era.
W.C.H.: Getting back to the ü Korean mind control experiments: Did you ever think you were just really paranoid?
K.T.: Oh yeah! I spent years fearing paranoia so much that I wouldn’t look at the stuff at all, you know? That’s why I testified the way I did at The Warren Commission, because I didn’t want to look like a paranoid. I didn’t even mention the guy who discussed killing Kennedy for 3 years in New Orleans. Evidently they thought I was covering up for him, or they thought that I thought I was covering up. (laughing) I was very impressed by the “Caine Mutiny” and all that stuff. I found people I thought were paranoid very entertaining and I went to great lengths to avoid actions that might be considered paranoid.
W.C.H.: A little bit of paranoia’s healthy.
K.T.: Paranoia is heightened awareness, actually. A lot of paranoids are confused as to who’s persecuting them, not that they aren’t being persecuted. Claude Steiner, (a radical therapist) said that most people are persecuted beyond their wildest dreams. (laughs)
W.C.H.: Are you still right wing?
K.T.: No, I’m a raving left wing anarchist. I’ve been that way since 1969. Wilson converted me to a far left, anarchical point of view.
W.C.H.: Given that stance, what do you think about Clinton?
K.T.: He’s a crypto republican. I think Nixon assassinated all the liberals in this country. A friend of mine read an article that said Nixon has assassinated 400 of his political enemies since he left office. Nixon and Hunt found out that the C.I.A. bureaucrats would sign anything that was in their “in” box without reading it, because they trusted their underlings that put the stuff there. They created their own government that way. And so on paper it all looks perfectly legal. One of the things they did was to pick certain people and said that they were assets to national security and anyone who tried to kill them could be legally killed themselves. And they used us to provoke âenemies of Nixon to try and kill us. But they were killed instead. I was one of the people used for those methods.
W.C.H.: Bill Cooper touches on that a little bit.
K.T.: Hunt, Hoover and General Gehlen were at the core of the assassination. I think they also tricked Charles DeGaulle into participating, by convincing DeGaulle that Kennedy was trying to kill him.
W.C.H.: We just saw a lecture by a guy called Jim Marrs. Are you familiar with him?
K.T.: I looked through his book.
W.C.H.: His lecture was very convincing. He came across as real down to earth, a “good ole boy” kind of guy, being from Texas and all. His contention was that a french assassin killed J.F.K.
K.T.: Frenchie they called him, yeah. I think that was William Seamore. He was an anti Castro activist at the time. I met John Stockwell (he’s a renegade C.I.A. agent) when Oliver Stone interviewed me. He said that the Corsican Mafia and the French Intelligence are synonymous. There’s been numerous articles indicating and linking the Corsican Mafia with the Kennedy assassination. I believe Hunt was posing as a C.I.A. agent named Maurice Brooks Gatlin Sr., who was supposed to be a legal advisor to Guy Bannister. He went over to France and gave a lot of money to some French generals who were plotting to kill DeGaulle. And they arranged for DeGaulle to be tipped off about the alleged hit. So DeGaulle thought Kennedy, through the C.I.A., was trying to kill him. So DeGaulle and The Corsican Mafia really muddied the waters, so to speak. It left all kind of evidence laying around that didn’t point to Nixon, Hunt or Gehlen.
WCH: How or why do you think so many people allegedly got involved in the Kennedy hit?
KT: The guy I called “Brother-In-Law” (aka Gary Kirsten)–who I thought was Howard Hunt, that I talked to about assassinating J.F.K.–told me that he was going to talk to everybody in the country who wanted Kennedy dead. He also said to me, he thought it would be a good idea to involve a whole lot of people, who all thought they were working on other projects.
WCH: The Triangulation of Fire Theory?
KT: A maximum complicity crime. In other words, if everyone–the CIA, FBI, French or Corsican Mafia, the KGB, the Cubans–thought they were the only ones sitting around with Howard Hunt talking about killing Kennedy, then they’d all think they did it. This was the opposite approach I wanted to use, which was to use as few people as possible and to tell as few people as possible. It seemed very impractical the way he (Hunt) wanted to do it, to me at the time. I didn’t understand that he was a goddamm CIA trained assassin who knew exactly how to pull these things off and how to pull off a political coup.
WCH: How feasible, do you think it is, that the possibility of a “New World Order” scenario will happen?
KT: I think…I’m not sure how you pronounce her name, Stephanie Caruana? The woman who wrote THE GEMSTONE FILES. I met her at Phenomicon. Everybody there was talking about, well, what are the plans of the New World Order, The Ideology of the Illuminati and so forth. Stephanie said, “Don’t be so naive! These people don’t have any ideology!” She said people with power want to keep their power and they use any ideology at hand for purposes of accumulating power. And I think that’s exactly what it is. I don’t think they have any particular plan for this, that or the other thing. When they take over, that’s all they want to do, period.
WCH: In the Cooper book BEHOLD A PALE HORSE, there’s a chapter called “Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars” which is a sort of preconditioning for a one world government. The “Mark Of The Beast” and all that.
KT: Well, the thing is they’ve got pretty much what they want already. A central banking system, where if someone wants to borrow money they have to pay the bankers interest for doing virtually nothing. When in fact they can issue their own money on their own collateral or their own credit. Basically, they’re milking everybody for all they’re worth, the poor, the middle class, even the rich to some degree. It’s just a matter of them consolidating their own gains, I think.
WCH: Getting back to Clinton: Do you think he’s screwed–or in the process of screwing up–the Democratic party for another 12 years?
KT: He sounds just like George Bush to me. He hasn’t said anything that Bush wouldn’t have said. He’s been as vacillating and unprincipled as Bush, besides.
WCH: I think he has lied more than Bush.
KT: Probably so (laughs). It’s really discouraging. It’s really in the hands of the Rockefellers, as far as I can tell. Clinton’s a Rockefeller man. Bush was a Rockefeller man. Perot’s a Rockefeller man…
WCH: And Carter?
KT: Carter’s undoubtedly a Rockefeller man, although personally I liked Carter. He’s the only president I have liked, for that matter.
WCH: Right. You, me and about 10 other people–maybe Tip O’Neal.
KT: I had very high respect for the man, because he restrained himself so much over the hostage situation, which is where he lost everybody else. He was the first Democrat that didn’t get us in a war. I’m very proud of him for that. Be that as it may, it didn’t impress anybody else (laughs).
WCH: If Clinton blows it for the Democrats, who do you think will be the front runner in ’96?
KT: I’m an Anarchist. To me, whoever wins, we all lose (laughs). People are so far from understanding Clinton. Man, we s houldn’t be worrying about paying off the deficit, we should be canceling the National Debt and demanding reparations from bankers. (laughs) And shooting Reagan for creating such a huge deficit to begin with, putting him before a firing squad, you know? To my way of thinking, Clinton doesn’t even mention anything about the banks, about the role the banks create. There’s a book called THE ILLUMINATI CONSPIRACY by Donald Holmes. Read the introduction by Robert Anton Wilson if you want my view of the whole banking situation. To me, Clinton’s just a pawn of the bankers, who pretty much rule the world.
WCH: The bankers being…?
KT: Not the Jewish bankers; the Templar anti-semitic bankers; the German bankers.
WCH: i.e. The Bilderbergers?
KT: Them, too. They’re just some of the richest people in the world. A lot of those (German) bankers are members of the Bilderbergers. See there’s a lot of bankers in Germany who proudly proclaim to be directly descended from the Templars, because the Templars were the first Christians who were allowed to practice banking and the Pope gave them a special dispensation. I believe they originated anti-semitism. They spread the ideas that Jews were stingy and so forth.
WCH: Like the “Elders Of Zion”, that type of thing?
KT: Yeah! In fact the “Elders Of Zion” is supposed to be the minutes of a Templar meeting that were doctored to look like…they think they are the original Jews; they think that Europeans are the lost tribes of Israel. And they dug up some stuff on the temple mound and they thought they had recreated the original religion that preceded modern Judaism and Christianity…I think in this c ountry it’s mostly the Rockefellers, the Warburgs, the Helphands. In my opinion, the Templar bankers financed both Bolshevism & Nazism and are now financing laissez-faire capitalism. Because with every laissez-faire capitalist institute you will find some revisionist historian and the revisionist historians say there was no holocaust, all of this stuff. If you read AMERICAN SWASTIKA by Charles Highams or Sandor A. Diamonds book HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN NAZI MOVEMENT, you’ll find that this was the German propaganda line during the war. These days it seems laissez-faire capitalism is gaining a lot of support.
WCH: It just seems ironic in light of the rise of the neo-nazis in Germany and all of the white supremacists around the states, that lot of kids today don’t study or could care less about recent history. So when they hear this revisionist bullshit, they believe it.
KT: Oh yeah, a lot of the “Nation Of Islam” people believe it, too. It’s really scary, but then again look at Israel, how reactionary they are. I think Zionism might be a Nazi plot. It’s very easy for Jews and Germans to pass themselves off as each other in the post war confusion.
WCH: How do you see the “Christian Right” as playing a role in the ’96 election.
KT: I really don’t speculate about elections that much. I don’t think they make that much difference. I try not to predict the future. Cone Bendid (sp?) in his book OBSOLETE COMMUNISM speaking about the 68 student uprising in France said he was attending the commune meetings, the ad-hoc communes that had come together as the government was being paralyzed by the strikes. He said, you could tell they weren’t ready to rule themselves because instead of talking about what they were going to do, they were saying, what’s going to happen to us? To me, it’s like, that’s not a very fruitful area of speculation, worrying about what’s going to happen. Whatever you predict, it almost never happens that way.
WCH: The only reason I say that, is growing up in the ’50’s & the ’60’s, the Cold War and all of that. It seems to me that lately there has been a definite conservative shift, or pendulum swing to the far right.
KT: I feel there’s been a goddamm “war” on Cold War liberals, which involves both the extreme left & right. And in some ways, rightly so. I can see why the Communists were unhappy about the Cold War liberals and why the right wing was unhappy with them, also. Although I can see the liberals viewpoint. In the late ’50’s/early ’60’s, there were a lot of people who were totally liberal except for the fact that they hated Communists, because they didn’t want to be accused of being Communist. And they went out of their way to be anti-Communist. J.F.K. was one of those “types”. And I think probably Oswald. That’s partially what I think the Kennedy assassination was; war on those types of liberals.
WCH: That you feel is still going on today?
KT: Oh yeah! I feel they’ve pretty much won by now. “Brother-In-Law” used to say the Nazis won WWII. I’m beginning to think he was right (laughs).
WCH: What I’m referring to is, oh say, the popularity of someone like Rush Limbaugh.
KT: The country’s in a very strong right wing mood. It was surprising that Clinton got elected.
WCH: I was amazed!
KT: There’s no doubt we’re living in very reactionary times.
WCH: Now that you’re on the subject of right and left extremism, it’s almost turned into a sort of “Civil War”!
KT: That’s very interesting! Because I was told that George De Mohrenschildt & his wife were KGB agents and by the time of the Kennedy assassination that Kruschev was trying to stir up a civil war in the U.S. And you’ve got everybody in this country arguing about who’s straight or who’s gay.
WCH: Right, all of these petty distractions from the real issues. And that’s what Kennedy seemed to address, the real issues.
KT: Well in that respect, yes, but even he was appointing racist southern judges and federal judgeships up until the time he was assassinated. He was not a raving radical. He was a very pragmatic man.
WCH: Pragmatic, i.e. political. He knew which side hi ïs bread was buttered on. It just seems there is a type of Civil War going on and who’s going to win?
KT: I don’t think anyone wins a war.
WCH: I consider myself an anarchist, definitely leftist. Do you think there’s any hope for the left?
KT: Well, I like to think there is, but I’ve become–in the process of dealing with the Kennedy assassination over the last 17 years–extremely cynical. Someone accused me the other day of being “a little” cynical. I said I’m not a little cynical, (laughs) I’m overwhelmingly cynical! The thing about anarchism is that it’s so logical that once people understand what it is, they can usually convert to it. But until such time as anarchists take over a major media network or something, then–and only then–will there be any type of anarchist society. The other thing that worries me is the ecology. It seems to me that possibly I’ve misspent my life politically with all this anarchism because…the ocean for example is extremely delicate. If it ever stagnates, if the seas ever stagnate, which they very well may, that’s going to be the end of human life on this planet.
WCH: That’s what bugs me so much about the right. They really don’t give a shit about ecological concerns. With those clowns it’s money/power/industry–the ecosystem be dammed! We need jobs, now!
KT: There will probably be some enormous ecological disaster that will destroy all life on the planet before any anarchist uprising. I used to be extremely optimistic. I thought when the ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY was published that there would immediately be an anarchist revolution. (laughs)
WCH: Did you see the bombing of The World Trade Center? KT: I heard about it. WCH: That was leading into my question about synchronicities.
KT: Well, you know with The World Trade Center, that’s the same Bloomfield/Shaw…All those people were tied into the Defense Industrial Security Command…All that Torbitt manuscript stuff. I thought that was an interesting choice of targets.
WCH: Right. It just struck me as funny. Now terrorism is starting to hit our shores.
KT: Well, it has off and on from time to time. Hijacking airplanes to Cuba used to go on all the time.
WCH: There was a long shot of the Trade Center on CNN, and in the upper left corner of the shot on the building was the #23. I saw that and my jaw hit the floor.
KT: (Maniacal laughter)
WCH: After I’d read COSMIC TRIGGER I for the second time, I started seeing 23’s all over the goddammed place. I’m still seeing them to this day. And I get all these weird little synchronicities all the time, like driving over here tonight. There was this car in front of me with a mason plate on it. Does that happen to you a lot?
KT: Oh, yeah. Keep one thing in mind: If you decide 23 is a significant number, you’re going to notice it every time it appears somewhere. There are two clandestine communication networks in the U.S. One of them is one the Japanese created during the war, which was a camouflaged German propaganda network. The other one is the Masons; they communicate the same way. A lot of cryptic symbolism, numbers and so forth.
WCH: I still think my “seeing” the 23’s is some kind of subconscious mind trick.
KT: I have a friend who does the same thing with the number 22 (laughs). But one night I went to St. Petersburg to borrow a copy of BRAVE NEW WORLD from an assassination buff named Helen Hartman in 1969. I got home and there was a letter from Robert Anton Wilson. There was a certain passage from BRAVE NEW WORLD that I wanted to quote…about he was trying to free people, and they wanted to lynch him…basically about the slave mentality. Anyway, Wilson’s letter was about the #23 and Burroughs, Capt. Clark and so on. I turned to the copy of BRAVE NEW WORLD to search for the chapter I wanted and it was on page 23, and the scene took place in the Park Lane Hospital! That was the same hospital they took Kennedy to & it rhymes with Mark Lane (laughs). I just flipped, it was very spooky.
WCH: Do you still have those types of synchronicities?
KT: Oh, all the time. Sometimes it’s obviously things that couldn’t possibly be anything but coincidences. I used to assume that stuff was coincidence; now I assume that it isn’t, until proven otherwise. In some book I was reading, they were talking about intelligence agents and they said: Officers in intelligence are very wary of coincidence because they’re usually not near as many coincidences as people have been led to believe. In fact many people, myself included, believe Jung was a raving Nazi–not a Hitler Nazi, but a raving Nazi, nonetheless. Dulles–when he was in Switzerland, striking up a deal with the S.S., trying to negotiate a secret separate peace–his principle assistant was Mary Bancroft, who was in
therapy with Carl Jung. Jung’s theory was: The chief problem with Nazism was the father in the German family. The authoritarianism was the problem because Germans were so male patriarch oriented. Basically, the idea was if Nazism was a matriarch it wouldn’t have been so bad. I read a lot about Dulles before I came up with this idea and I mentioned it to John Stockwell, who was friends with Dulles. He said, “Kerry, that’s exactly what happened, exactly!” Anyway, Jung had been accused many times of being a Nazi, plus he was the one who came up with the theory of synchronicity. Let me say something else about the #23. The code book that the Nazi’s used during World War II was MEIN KAMPF. After the war, because they needed protection from the U.S. government, ex-Nazi’s began to work for Communist countries, particularly North Korea, especially when we were at war with North Korea, because they were very used to working for the enemy, including my own parents. At some point they began using the “Little Red Book”. All right…five was the number this guy named “Brother-In-Law” talked about. He said it was a very important number. That’s why I made it the sacred number of The Discordian Society. Five in the “Little Red Book” means we must work with non party people within the intelligence community. There are three kinds of people who believe in working with non party people. One of them are the page nine people; these are people who believe history is driven forward by its contradictions and therefore they are double agents. George De Mohrenschildt and his wife are in vol. 9 of the 26 volumes. Nine signifies the middle of the roaders. Page 17 of Mao is: Reactionaries will make a last ditch effort. 17 signifies the type of page 5 people who want to work against the Communist party. And 23 says the Communist party is young & full of vigor. So 17, 9, 5 and 23 –before I ever realized this–are numbers that were being bandied about between me, Shea and Wilson. I think that was somebody’s little lesson to show how the intelligence community was processing people.
WCH: Since I’ve been aware of the #23, I still don’t fully believe it’s all a mind trick.
KT: Well, nowadays it’s become a fad to graffiti the #23 all over the place.
WCH: I see it in underground magazines a lot.
KT: Oh, yeah. Wilson has a lot of readers (laughs).
WCH: Bill Cooper was calling him a CIA plant.
KT: I have heard that he’s a member of the Illuminati.I have heard that the “real” R.A.W. was assassinated by Gerald Ford’s agents and replaced by a double. I’ve heard all kinds of stories like that. It’s very possible that any one of those are true. I’ve heard that he was a Nazi all along. He’s a very brilliant man, whatever he is.
WCH: That sounds like a disinformation campaign directed at him by rivals possibly.
KT: He’s a very mysterious person.
WCH: When you were still conversing with him, was he a pretty regular guy?
KT: No, not at all!…What do you mean by that? To me a regular guy is somebody who’s a conformist. He was very much a non conformist. He had a rather macabre sense of humor. He was just a brilliant anarchist and could explain to me what Laurence Lapperty didn’t like about central banking and what Phurdome (sp?) didn’t like about land monopoly. And he helped weed out all the irrationalities of “Ayn Rand”.
WCH: Did you like him on a personal basis?
KT: I only met him once. That was down in Tampa in 1969. I liked him enormously. He radiated a very relaxed, very sensual…aaahhh…
KT: Yeah, and he was very hip. He had taken acid many times by then. He seemed very unarmored in the Reichian sense. You could almost feel the sexual energy coming out of him. He had enormous sympathetic eyes, which at the time I found very reassuring, until I read the appendix in THE ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY where he was talking about making human sacrifices and identifying with the victim (laughs).
WCH: I’ve read that he’s in so many churches, covens…
KT: He believes in being as many things as you can be and joining as many secret societies as possible.
WCH: Then at times he seems to downplay all this conspiracy stuff as if he’s trying to throw people off the track.
KT: Well, yeah. He enjoys playing mind games. He eventually got me so fuckin’ paranoid about him, by 1975–when I was trying to find out about all of these matters–he would write me, ever so often, and ask: “Are you getting paranoid about me yet? Because I know I say some pretty weird things in my letters to you.” However, it was becoming increasingly hard not to (laughs).
WCH: Do you miss being in contact with him?
KT: Oh, hell yeah! He taught me half of everything that I now know.
WCH: That’s what I was getting at. It seems like you two have so much in common that he would still be in touch with you.
KT: He was here (Atlanta) at Phenomicon a couple years ago and I had low blood pressure, because I still had my kidney condition and I couldn’t stand on my feet without getting dizzy, so I couldn’t go see him. But I wrote him a letter right afterwards; he never answered it, so fuck it! And that’s the other thing I’m suspicious about: He has gone out of his way not to see me in person, all this time. Howard Hughes was that way and Oglesby thinks he was killed and replaced with a double. So I don’t know. I think it’s very possible he’s not the same guy I knew back in the sixties.
WCH: Do you mean in a physical sense or a mental sense?
KT: I believe Gerald Ford killed him and replaced him with a double, at least that’s what I was told. I didn’t know whether or not to believe it at the time.
WCH: It sounds almost too far fetched to believe.
KT: Well evidently the ILLUMINATUS TRILOGY revealed a bunch of information which sabotaged the plans Lyndon Johnson had made to create a welfare state. A lot of people were pissed at him including a lot of left wing people. I didn’t realize this until recently, so I don’t know–it could have happened. I wish all of this stuff didn’t sound so far out, because I know you’re trying very hard to be credible with your audience. But that is why they get away with so fucking much. Did you see that movie RUBY?
KT: Well, in there, Jack Ruby is dealing with a CIA agent who acts likes the comedian George Gobbels more than anybody else (laughs). And later on in the movie, Ruby is talking with one of his gangster friends and says, ÒYou know, I’ve figured out what the CIA’s scheme is: They act in such a kooky way, that if you tell someone about it, they wouldn’t believe you. It’s a form of camouflage. It really is!
WCH: The further I delve into conspiracy work, invariably the strangest scenarios seem the most plausible.
KT: The stuff I laughed at initially was the stuff I wound up believing later on.
WCH: That’s why the way out ideas and theories don’t deter me from further research.
KT: I know, but you’ve still got your readers, you’ve got blue collar readers who try to work within consensus reality.
WCH: Not really. Most of the people that read this are very interested in this type of material.
KT: And I haven’t even touched on the stuff they do with technology that nobody even realizes exists because it didn’t have any commercial value, so they used it for political purposes.
WCH: Like What?
KT: Wireless transmission of currents, things that Nikola Tesla invented. He was a good friend of J. P. Morgan and George Westinghouse. And I believe they created the “Miracle Of Fatima” in order to blackmail the Pope. It’s amazing what they could do with that technology! A lot of the things people think is magic(k) is just a bunch of German scientists with this advanced technology that nobody realizes exists…J. P. Morgan was financing breeding experiments, as well. Look at it this way, they staged the “Miracle Of Fatima”, which is all stuff Tesla could have done. Tesla used to have shows on weekends where he would run thousands of volts of electricity through himself, without being hurt. Then they’d get the Pope to certify “Fatima” was a miracle and afterwards reveal to the Pope it was man-made. So the Pope is proven to be fallible, then they can blackmail him. They want the Pope to keep his mouth shut about the Nazi’s, he keeps his mouth shut!
WCH: Do you ever read Mondo 2000?
WCH: In some of the recent issues, they’d been featuring a guy named Xandor Korzybski, who kind of goes along with what you’re telling me.
KT: There’s another guy (Alfred Korzybski) I laughed at until I found out what he was talking about…Tesla could make lightning strike during a storm. He figured out a way to suspend the earth’s gravity. He never actually did it, obviously, (laughs) but he did figure out how to.
98 – INT. MAGIC CASTLE – REPOSITORY – NIGHT Harry takes a sheaf of papers, and hands them to Billy.
HARRY : You go through these. Go on! Reluctantly, Billy does so. Harry picks up a faded photograph of the doorway to Nix’s house (with the sigil painted on it) and Butterfield the child standing in the sun. There are other cultists standing around. And in the doorway – a barely visible figure (and all the more intimidating for that) – is Nix.
HARRY : Wait a minute… He stares at the boy’s face. The eyes are clearly different colours.
HARRY : That’s Butterfield…
BILLY : (points to man in doorway) And who’s that? On Harry, staring at the ambiguous presence.
On the photograph of the shadowy figure.
HARRY : At a guess? The Puritan. Nix. Billy picks up an etching, water-stained and dirty. It shows a horror we recognize: a man’s hand pressed into the flesh of another man’s head.
BILLY : Take a look at this.
HARRY : (looking at it) A Nix speciality? Billy is getting subtly spooked now. He puts the etching down and starts to go through others in the series. We glimpse them as he does so. In one, a man regurgitates a serpentine form made of flame. In another, a man stares at his own hand which is stripped of flesh. There is no bone beneath. Only a form of solid blackness. In a third, we see a head with a slit in the middle of the brow, emanating darkness.
BILLY : I don’t know any of these tricks… Harry studies the etchings.
HARRY : (a slow burn) Maybe they’re not tricks.
BILLY : (mystified) I mean there’s no instructions – (realizes what Harry said) What do you mean they’re not tricks?
HARRY : What did Vinovich say? Something about walking a path between –
BILLY : Trickery and divinity. Yeah, he says that all the time.
HARRY : That’s because he knew. He’d seen these files and he knew.
Draft Three – February 1994
“I’m just working on a draft of that [Last Illusion] [ August 1991]. It won’t be the next movie to go, [planned to be Eden USA] but it may very well be the one after that.”
By WC Stroby, (i) Fangoria, No 109, January 1992 (ii) Horror Zone, No1, August 1992
It’s a very rich palette and it’s as far from violating girls in showers as you can possibly get. I wanted to do a completely different kind of movie. I feel like the other kinds of horror movies, including the ‘Hellraiser’ movies, have sort of run their course and it’s time to look again and see if we can make something fresh. I’ve long considered him [Harry d’Amour] an interesting character to put into movies, partly because horror movies of the last ten years have been dominated by the villains… and there are limitations that come with that. One of the obvious limitations is that the more often you see a villain, the less scary they are. It’s the law of diminishing returns… I thought if I’m going to make another series of horror movies, why not base it around the hero. Harry can be involved in a series of very different confrontations from movie to movie. You’re almost taking a little leaf from ‘Die Hard’ or ‘Indiana Jones’ and transferring that to the horror genre. The intention of this movie is to give people a profound sense of dread and send them out of the movie thinking, ‘I tasted something, I felt something.'”
Lord Of Illusions – Filming The Books Of Blood
By Michael Beeler, Cinefantastique, Vol 26 No 3, April 1995
“Lord Of Illusions uniquely parallels something that’s going on in my own art all the time. It deals with illusions and illusionists, and illusionists provide, for bourgeois audiences, narratives – they are, loosely speaking, narratives in the form of tricks or illusions – that seem to be pieces of frivolous entertainment but are, at root, extremely rich and dark tales of death and resurrection. There’s a little exchange in Lord Of Illusions in which Valentin is making the distinction between magic and illusions. He and Harry are driving and Valentin says, “Illusions are trickery”, and produces a flower out of his hand. Then he scrunches the flower up and shows his bare hand, saying “Magicians do it for real”. There’s a beat and then Harry leans across and says, “Where did the flower go?” And in that line – which, by the way, was an ad-lib by Mr Bakula – is the voice of the audience. “Where did the flower go? I know it’s a trick, I know it’s not real magic, but where did the flower go?” I wanted to lay into the texture of Swann’s illusions images which somehow or other recurred elsewhere in the narrative. So we have sand, obviously because of all that desert stuff. We have a sarcophagus, which speaks for itself. We have skeletons, we have fire, we have the demon statue… In other words, there on the stage are images which in some way or other refer to other elements of the movie. I don’t necessarily expect the audience to pick up on that, but it was a way for us to make some choices out of the millions of directions which we could probably have gone.”,
A Kind Of Magic
By Maitland McDonagh, The Dark Side No 45, April/May 1995
“‘The Last Illusion’ was almost a Philip Marlowe type of thing, but this movie isn’t a homage to ’40’s noir. This isn’t going to be about Venetian blinds and ashtrays with a cigarette left burning with lipstick on it. We’re really just focusing on this everyman who is drawn into the heart of darkness over and over again because of some karmic thing which he has no power over. My belief is that the movie on the page delivers. My duty now is to put that on screen as clearly as possible, with as few compromises as possible. We have a tight budget and obviously we may have some compromises. I just have to know what movie I want to put up on screen. The one thing I guarantee is that it will be a horror film unlike any you’ve seen before.”
The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 1 – Preproduction
By Anthony C Ferrante, Fangoria No 138, November 1994
“The audience reaction was good, but the feeling was that the movie should be shorter. I’ll be tightening the talk and playing up the effects and scares. I’m actually very pleased; it’s been a rough postproduction and, in the long run, with the extra time, we will have a better movie.”
The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 4 – Postproduction
By Anthony C. Ferrante, Fangoria, No 141, April 1995
[on first test screening] “By and large, they didn’t like the explicitness of the sex. It surprised the hell out me. I don’t know why, from the bottom of my heart, I don’t know. I think horror fans are used to sex scenes being a prelude to death. They’re used to sex scenes being about murder and this one wasn’t. If one of the characters got out of bed and got a spear through the chest, they might have been perfectly content. They felt people talked too much. I think audiences are used to horror movies being 90 minutes and then get the hell out of there and our theatrical version is 104 minutes, so it’s still 14 minutes longer than a Nightmare On Elm Street picture. I happen to like movies that spend some time on character… . One of the things that happens is that, if you take a few dialogue scenes out and pare them down, the acts of violence get closer together and the feel of the movie is more intense. Now suddenly you have this picture that is really going for the jugular and doesn’t give you a moment to breathe since, of course, I took out what few moments there were where the audience was allowed to breathe… . At the second screening the numbers doubled. They said it was the scariest movie they’d ever seen. The sex was pulled back, the violence was not. I did not realise how much people would be freaked out by the cultist stuff and the notion of cults. The whole sort of Manson/Koresh thing that goes on in the movie really got under people’s skins with an intensity I didn’t anticipate and it freaked the hell out of them. I was also surprised by the little pieces of violence that really distressed people. The cutting of one character’s lips bothered them. Sometimes it’s a lesson. You can have these incredibly elaborate special effects and they may not be as devastating to people as something so small and intimate.
The Conjuring Of Lord Of Illusions Part 5 – The Last Interview
By Anthony C. Ferrante, Fangoria, No 146, September 1995
“I’ve always loved illusionists. There’s always a dark side, and illusionists present them to you. It’s very much life-and-death illusion – you sawed the woman in half, but she’s still alive. They’re presented as breezy , funny, entertaining pieces – but, subtexturally, they’re stories of death and resurrection. I love stories that deal with those things, and ‘The Last Illusion’ is a movie about just that. It’s also about magic… and it’s about monsters. It will be very much an independent. There’s lots of stuff in the movie that a studio wouldn’t do. I don’t want to give anything away, but we’re going to break some rules. Besides, the most interesting stuff in horror movies has been done outside the studios. There are very few examples of mainstream horror movies that work.”
Barker Looks Back
By Anthony C Ferrante, Bloody Best Of Fangoria, No 12, September 1993
“This extra stuff includes intense material, dialogue material, subtext material – a lot of stuff that helps people understand what the movie is all about. It’s not twelve and a half minutes of blood and gore, it’s actually the thematic guts of the movie. What MGM/UA did, and I’ll think they’re wrong till the end of my days, was say that this isn’t enough of a horror movie, we want to make it more intense. It was a bad commercial decision in my view. They wanted to take out some of the detective elements. I said no. Part of the point of the movie is that is a genre-breaking movie. It moves from film noir to horror and back and forth and that’s what makes the movie work. But MGM/UA was adamant. They said, “We’re gonna take this stuff out, either you do it or we do it.” So I said I would take it out, so long as they promised me that a director’s cut would come out on video and laser disc. Worldwide… Putting together a special edition laser disc like Lord Of Illusions is very time consuming and it does change the way you look at the entire film making process, the outtakes and deletions. When Hellraiser was shot, the biggest task was simply to finish the project. Nine years on, we only now realise how valuable all the outtakes and the supplementary stuff is. Finding out that someone was on set one day with a video camera is incredibly exciting. All those throwaway things become like gold dust. Ironically, Lord Of Illusions probably looks better on laser disc than it did theatrically. There are lots of tricks you can do during the film to video transfer. We did some work on the special effects sequences. If a prosthetic appliance looks too rubbery and fake, we can take some of the shine off it. We can colour correct the images. Improve the computer generated effects sequences…”
Lord Of Illusion
By [ ], Home Cinema Choice, September 1996
“Horror movies haven’t really explored magic, so it’s the perfect background for a film which, I hope, will scare the bejesus out of people. But while I pray that people will be so frightened that their asses will be separated from their seats, I want them to realise that they’re in a world which is totally believable. This movie is set in such places as Bel Air and Hollywood, locations which we all know. It’s a challenge to make a movie which connects with the audience and gives them brand new material which nobody has ever seen before – something which is really important. Instaed of the sterotypical ‘girl stalked in shower’ scenes, we’re combining a film noir thriller with the darkest and most horrific elements. Quite honestly, I’m hoping to invoke the same feeling of dread and anxiety that I initiated when I directed the first Hellraiser movie. In that film, you never knew what to expect – the horror that unfolds within the course of that story is totally unexpected and unique. So we really push the envelope in this film and, as fans will know, that’s something which I’ve become quite famous for doing.”
Lord Of Illusions – A Fable Of Death And Resurrection
By Simon Bacal, Sci-Fi Entertainment, Vol 1 No 5, February 1995
“One of the things I wanted to do with Nix was to make him very uncharismatic. There is nothing appealing about this man and, towards the end of the movie, when the temptation would be to go into apocalyptic mode, the movie pulls in exactly the opposite direction. Nix becomes this frail, rather pathetic creature. In one of the final scenes, Dorothea asks the metaphysical question, “What are you?” and Nix says, “I’m a man who wanted to be a god and changed his mind.” And I like that. I like the fact that he is just a man. He wanted to be something more but he gave up on this useless endeavour. He’s murdered all his acolytes, his devotees, and now he’s alone in the dark. I actively went after that, even though it was flying in the face of what the audience expects.”
Clive Barker – Lord Of Illusions
By Nigel Lloyd, SFX, No 16, September 1996
“We’re not skimping on the viscera – [Lord of Illusions is] a pretty strong movie. It also has a lot of the qualities which will endear it to an audience that wouldn’t be so keen on the viscera flying. I think we’re making a class act which has eruptions of weirdness and violence. This environment is sort of like a little corner of hell. And I like that combination. The picture has a big budget look and feel to it – it’s beautifully performed and photographed – but then you’ve got a lot of this nastiness which you normally don’t get with pictures like this.
“This isn’t an homage to 1940’s detective movies like ‘Angel Heart’ was. This is not going to be a movie full of immaculately backlit women with a lot of smoke. This is not going to be about Venetian blinds and ashtrays with cigarettes left burning with lipstick on ’em. What we have, though, is a hip, interesting, brave Everyman who is drawn in the Heart of Darkness over and over again because of some karmic thing which he has no power over. I think that will be fun to watch.
“I wanted to make a movie that scared the fuck out of people. The short version does that better. Ironically, the people who didn’t like the movie said, ‘This movie is too fucking weird’ or ‘I was scared shitless. I don’t like this. I don’t want this done to me.’ Now as far as I’m concerned, even though they didn’t like the movie, they at least didn’t like it for the right reasons. Nobody said, ‘The movie didn’t affect me.’ ”
By Anthony C. Ferrante, huH, Issue No 12, August 1995
“Nix is a villain I think we can relate to; he’s not unlike Charlie Manson. Halfway through shooting this picture, somebody came in with a newspaper with a headline about these mass deaths in a cult in Switzerland. I don’t think we even yet know quite what happened there. The craziness of Waco, the craziness of Jonestown, the Manson stuff – Nix is the embodiment of the charismatic leader who says, “Follow me to death,” which is something that’s part of our culture. So I thought, Supposing we had a villain like that, but instead of this guy just being somebody who can weave words and make promises, he genuinely has a greater power? That, to me, is scary and interesting.
“There are two huge special effects gags in the movie. In one of them, Nix calls all his cultists together and causes a storm in the room in which they’re standing. The rain comes down with such force that it turns the ground beneath them to mud and they’re all sucked to their deaths. It was a mess! But the biggest logistical challenge was the magic-show accident in which Swann dies. We had this huge stage set with dancers and 10 swords hanging above him-and he’s going to get skewered by eight of them. He’s going around and the swords are going around, and the dancers are dancing and there’s a thousand people in the audience. We shot it at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, which was very cool because it’s a place with a real history; it’s where I first saw Copperfield, in fact. And there we were, staging this magic act which goes horribly, disastrously and bloodily wrong!
[are cast bothered by the content ever?] “Oh. Yes! And crew members, too. We have a scene with an 11-year-old girl and a baboon at the beginning of Lord of Illusions that got the crew very squeamish. But that’s part of what I do. Pushing a little bit further than anyone else is how I came into this business; I got my reputation by going places other people haven’t gone. And I don’t want to stop doing that. It isn’t always going to be about horror: It can be as much about fantastical journeys as it can be about frightening ones.”
Clive Barker’s Lurid Fascination
By Dan Lamanna, Cinescape, No [ ], January 1995
“In Lord of Illusions, I got to do all kinds of shit that I wanted to do. The bondage stuff in there, the girl and the ape, all kinds of shit. It’s very funny because Frank Mancuso was head of MGM/UA at that time, and he didn’t like the movie at all. There was one shot of a dead child on the floor, and he said, ‘This shot will never appear in an MGM/UA movie.’ As it turns out, it did, because I took it out, and then when he wasn’t looking, I put it back in. I knew he’d never bother to see the film again.”
Fuck The Canon
By Dennis Cooper, LA Weekly, Literary Supplement, 31 August – 6 September 2001
“I’ve travelled a long way with Harry D’Amour. He first appeared in a story I wrote almost a decade ago now, ‘The Last Illusion’. Since then , I’ve recounted his life and troubled times in two novels and some short fiction. I’ve not made the road very easy for him. His destiny, it seems, is to be in constant struggle with what might be loosely called ‘the forces of darkness’, though he claims he’d be quite content investigating insurance fraud. His reluctance is, I trust, part of his charm. He’s not a Van Helsing, defiantly facing off against some implacable evil with faith and holy water. His antecedents are the troubled, weary and often lovelorn heroes of film noir – private detectives with an eye for a beautiful widow and an aversion to razors . It therefore seems perfectly appropriate that Harry finds his way onto the cinema screen, where his world can intersect with that of the grand guignol horror movies I’ve had the pleasure to create hitherto. This self-willed collision of genres – horror movie and detective film – caused the studio some headaches when I first screened ‘Lord of Illusions’. They wanted a simpler picture, with less emphasis on the noirish mood. I reluctantly made some excisions, on the understanding that the director’s cut would be available on tape and laser disc. So here it is. The complete, unexpurgated ‘Lord of Illusions’. I think the picture is much stronger in this version than in its theatrical incarnation: the characters richer, the plot clearer, the atmosphere darker. Thanks to the vision of my colleagues at United Artists, this cut was not cobbled together after the fact. Simon Boswell scored this version. We mixed it, dubbed it and timed it. In short, we did everything but put it on the big screen. Ah well… This is, quite simply , the definitive ‘Lord of Illusions’ – the version by which I wish the work to be judged. ”