Sympathy for the Devil

Saturday, March 26 @ 12:30pm  |  Harvard Film Archive

2015 | UK | 101 minutes
Director: Neil Edwards
Cast: Waters, George Clinton, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Gary Lachman

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The psychic well of the late 60s and early 70s was tapped by many an Aquarian-age, neo-Jesus movement; one of the more enigmatic cults of flower power’s shadow side was The Process Church of the Final Judgment.

Founded in London by a charismatic, young pair of former Scientologists—Robert DeGrimston and Mary Ann MacLean—The Process worshiped an un/holy quadrangle of Satan-Christ-Lucifer-Jehovah as a means to an enlightened end, a concept that confounded non-believers to the point of regarding them simply as Satanists. They wore a lot of black, had an alluring sense of design, and a gravitas that drew in satori-seeking, vulnerable young jet setters.

What is the Process? There are over a quarter-million Google results that attempt to answer this question, ranging from apocalyptic prophets, satanic acolytes, and death worshippers, to splinter-group Scientologists and Helter Skelter aiders and abettors.

Countercultural icon Ed Sanders describes them as “an English occult society dedicated to observing and aiding the end of the world by stirring up murder, violence, and chaos” in his authoritative account of Charles Manson’s career, The Family, a chapter-long sensational assertion he’s later legally obliged to retract in re-printings of the infamous tome.

Accused of influencing Bobby Kennedy’s assassination and the Son of Sam killings, processeans were no stranger to controversy. But really, what is the Process? In Neil Edwards’ comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining documentary, former members of the obscure religious group are given the chance to answer themselves.

– Nicole McControversy


The Double-Blind Experiments, 2 min.

Five VFX artists go to town experimenting with fine art depictions of satanic familiars.