Kenneth Anger, influential avant-garde filmmaker, dead at 96

Influential underground / experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger has died at age 96. The news was shared by contemporary art gallery Sprüeth Magers that regularly had exhibitions of his work.

Born in 1927, Anger worked almost entirely in short film, having made 40 works since 1937, and his surreal style was a huge influence on David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, music videos, and more. Openly gay and a self-described pagan, Anger’s never made a film with a major studio, but worked with The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and others.

Anger’s 1963 film Scorpio Rising, about motorcycle subcultures, has been a hugely influential not just with other filmmakers but with musicians like Daniel Ash of Bauhaus and Love and Rockets. Featuring music by Elvis, Ricky Nelson, The Crystals, Bobby Vinton and more, Scorpio Rising is considered to be the first drama with a rock n’ roll soundtrack.

Kenneth Anger’s book Hollywood Babylon, about the scandals surrounding the wild, debaucherous first decade of Hollywood filmmaking, is an influential classic in its own right.

Rest easy, Kenneth. Watch Scorpio Rising and a few other of his films below.