Ira Cohen – The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda [+Extras] (1968)

J. Hoberman in the Mar. 16, 2006 Village Voice: “Part ‘Dr. Strange,’ part ‘Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome,’ [‘The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda’ is] so High ’60s that you emerge from its 20-minute vision perched full-lotus on a cloud of incense, chatting with a white rabbit and smoking a banana…. ‘Invasion’ is a languidly opiated costume ball in which an assortment of masked and painted bohos, some sporting outsize elf ears, loll about a candlelit, Mylar-lined set, blowing soap bubbles and nibbling majoon. …In lieu of action, Cohen uses all manner of superimposition and prismatic image-splitting; his big effect, however, is the deliquescent Mylar reflection. What saves ‘Invasion’ from preciosity is the vague menace of Angus MacLise’s improvised pan-piping, tabla-tapping, creature-yipping score. Although this masterpiece of Tibetan-Moroccan-Druidic trance music was reissued on CD several years ago, it truly blossoms in conjunction with the exotic smorgasbord served at Cohen’s psychedelicatessen.”

I must say this is the most chemically abused piece of cinema I’ve ever seen – I actually feel under the influence now, I don’t know if I’m safe to walk home. It’s so narcotic that I’m surprised it’s legal to buy over the counter… all this and it was made in 1968 – one year before Woodstock? Well I’m surprised, I was sure people were still locking up their daughters back then, not injecting them with Opium and feeding them sheets of acid… All the same, this is an essential document of the period by director Ira Cohen, and has been lovingly repackaged and issued by the folks at Arthur magazine on their label Bastet (who were responsible for issuing Sunburned Hand of the Man’s ‘No-Magic Man’ if you want any more background). Here’s the technical bit > High-quality transfer from the original 16mm film, with colour correction supervised by the director. The legendary soundtrack has been newly remastered by Tim Barnes, featuring The Universal Mutant Repertory Company (Loren Standlee, Ziska Baum, Angus MacLise, Raja Samayana, Tony Conrad, Henry Flynt and Jackson MacLow). Contains two new, never-before-released alternative soundtracks to “Invasion” by Sunburned Hand of the Man and Acid Mothers Temple SWR (Tsuyama Altsushi, Yoshida Tatsuya and Kawabata Makoto). Also packaged is “Brain Damage,” a new film directed by Ira Cohen and produced by Bastet created from never-before-seen original 16mm outtakes, featuring a new soundtrack composed by Will Swofford with the Expanded Instrument System. “From The Mylar Chamber,” an original slideshow of 60 mylar photographs with soundtrack by Angus MacLise and original poetry by Ira Cohen. And as if this wasn’t enough, there’s a director’s commentary track by Ira Cohen. Phew… are you stoned already?

1.10GB | 1 h 34 min | 640×480 | avi



  1. Hi! The third link is broken.

    Thank you!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.