Curtis Harrington
USA 1956
10 min

A fascinating portrait of legendary West Coast painter and occultist Cameron - a devotee of Alistair Crowley and wife and muse to Jet Propulsion Laboratory founder Jack Parsons. Marjorie Cameron Parsons was an extremely powerful and enigmatic personality. A legendary artist and occultist, she was a muse for Jack, and an extremely talented artist of often disturbing visions. Particularly following Jack's death in 1952, she inspired a number of younger Los Angeles artists and filmmakers, such as Kenneth Anger, Dennis Hopper, Wallace Berman, and Curtis Harrington. Though his commitment to and interest in the occult was not as pronounced as Cameron's and her inner circle, Curtis Harrington was greatly influenced by her, and they were longtime friends. Before casting her in a small, but memorable role in his debut feature Night Tide, Curtis created this excellent portrait of Cameron the artist, focusing on her unusual visions executed in remarkable draughtsmanship and unique use of color and line. Curtis keeps a characteristic restraint in his editing and camera work, allowing Cameron and her artwork to dominate, though he does punctuate the film periodically with moments of elegant cinematic drama. In addition to providing a rare document and portrait of a truly legendary woman, The Wormwood Star is also incredibly historically important in that nearly all of Cameron's artwork depicted in the film was destroyed by the artist soon after the film's making.

This film is part of the program <filmlink id=\"3030\">Sunshine Noir</filmlink>.

  • Cameron Parsons
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