1965’s Hollywood Babylon (it was quickly banned upon publication and re-released in 1975), written by avant-garde author & occultist Kenneth Anger, is a must-read muckraking classic featuring a gory tableau of the best of “old Hollywood” open secrets.
Well, Anger is still kicking around at the age of 90, and recently did an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. His thoughts on Harvey Weinstein and the current schadenfreude in Tinsel Town?
“I’m afraid the present generation is pretty pallid.”
Hollywood Babylon reads like a horror story, touching on topics like the debunked “coke bottle” incident involving Fatty Arbuckle and Virginia Rappe, Jayne Mansfield’s so-called decapitation during a fatal car accident, and silent star Ramon Novarro’s alleged death from having an “art deco dildo” shoved down his throat.
So many of the tales in that book seem to need “allegeds,” and many are denied in the present day—but they’ve also had an enormous influence on how this Old Hollywood was perceived (especially by Hollywood itself in movies like David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive and even, in a more metaphorical way, Twin Peaks).
But it seems as if the current scandals of Weinstein and Co. are perhaps too “mundane” for Anger, who made films with Anton LaVey and Manson member Bobby Beausoleil, and has the word “LUCIFER” tattooed on his chest. Too many lawyers, media statements, and procedure, and not enough technicolor blood and guts (though I think if we knew the full story of some of these recent cases, we might actually get to that point).
As for Anger himself, he seems not to have too many fucks left to give:
“I haven’t really thought of where I’ll end up as a corpse…I really don’t care, but I’ve got lots of friends at Hollywood Forever [Cemetery], and I go visit there from time to time.”