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