The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda

film still
Courtesy the artist

The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda, created at the zenith of psychedelic culture, undertakes a journey into the more elevated spheres of cosmic consciousness. The film shows, in this order, a dream under the influence of opium, a shamanic ritual and, finally, an abstract sequence. The images, mostly made using an elastic distorting mirror and various prisms, are a counterpart to the disoriented, over-detailed mode of perception that arises under the influence of psychogenic drugs. Performed by the Universal Mutant Repertory Co., a sort of all-star ensemble from New York’s underground scene of the time, The Invasion consists of ecstatic group scenes and trancelike invocations, complemented by the polyphonic soundtrack. At the end, mercury melts off a mirror reflecting the blue of the sky—a symbol for ethereal ecstasy.


  • original Title: The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda
  • Date: 1968
  • Duration: 60′
  • Genre: Film

This work is issued in following texts