Moorhead and Benson on upcoming Aleister Crowley film project


Movie directors Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson—whose Spring, which opens today appropriately enough, is described as “a hybrid of Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft”—are working on a movie about Aleister Crowley.  As Moorhead reveals in an interview with Nuke the Fridge, “It’s no longer an idea kicking around. It’s very much a very solid plan to go make a movie. So we’re hoping to be filming sometime in the fall.” Last October/November they went to Scotland for a couple of weeks to scout locations, and even visited Boleskine, which they described as “a weird place, but it’s not a scary place. It’s like I feel like people would do a yoga retreat here. It felt like a spiritual place.”

Justin Benson, in the same interview, goes on to explain a little about the planned film:

There’s a lot of different ways to tell a story about Alester Crowley and many have attempted it in the past. A few that have pulled off at least getting to the point of making a movie, they’ve made a movie about the caricature devil worshiper. This old bald guy hellbent on literally raising hell or demons. Our movie does have a scary component to it that feels a little bit like the first 15 minutes of The Exorcist, a genuinely unnerving, scary, big unknown that is very much connected to Crowley’s esoteric beliefs and what he was into. But it’s also a story about a guy who the most interesting thing about him is that he’s remembered as a devil worshiper but he doesn’t actually belief in The Devil, so why is that? He was the first counterculture guy. He was the first counterculture celebrity to discover that actually he got more attention for misrepresenting himself.

For the full interview, see here. Given that the duo of Moorhead and Benson made Variety magazine’s 2015 list of “10 Directors to Watch,” it will be interesting to see what they come up with.





Richard Kaczynski

Richard Kaczynski is the author of the biography Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley (2002; rev exp ed 2010), the history Forgotten Templars: The Untold Origins of Ordo Templi Orientis (2012), the novel The Billionth Monkey (2015), Panic in Detroit: The Magician and the Motor City (2019), along with a bunch of other books, articles, and chapters that you can read about at his website,

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