Tarot at Youtube (2009)

More private, but very talented and very amusing, are the explanations and realisations of Tarot card readings of the young youtube fan Dana Rae with her Horror Tarot, which uses bottles (= cups), bones (= batons), feathers (= swords) and keys (coins) as suit signs. "i got stuck in salt lake city utah. i made a video with some of my tarot cards. as usual. wow. cable tv just isn't what its cracked up to be. i would rather talk to myself." That's in the true "old spirit" of youtube, a webcam makes a moviemaker - a further development in the times of internet.

[Danae Rae herself some time later gave me further information on the deck, it's called "The Collective Tarot" and "it is a queer-centric, radical-politicked tarot deck re-imaged to fit our times." "A collaborative art project" ... "with more than 22 contributors", ... "first released in Spring 2008". The 2nd edition includes a 280-page accompanying guidebook, "wrapped in a black cardstock sleeve". Well ... and it's a limited edition of 750 pieces.]

"Real" Movies - also at youtube

A new Phillipine movie with the title "Tarot" by Jun Lana started at 26th of August 2009: It's - as many other Tarot movies - a horror movie and the trailer is online. Various reviews have appeared, for instance by Philstar.com, one of the many signs, that Tarot has reached a worldwide distribution, also on the Phillipines. More social context of Tarot reading might be exspected from another Phillipine movie, which started at 09-09-09, "Ang Manghuhula" (the difficult word Manghuhula means "Fortune telling") : it's a real life movie and about the common struggle to survive. Eula Valez descends from a family of fortune tellers, her mother was a pioneer in the trade, her daughter follows in the family roots. But the business is controlled by a syndicate, which demands protection money. A trailer is already at youtube and the first reviews sound interesting.

Judging it from the trailer of "Tarot" (called a "good horror movie"), the relatively new Scoop (2006) by Woody Allen about a Tarot card killer, who is captured with the help of the ghost of a dead journalist, might be more funny (probably the movie had been inspired by the Tarot card sniper, who in reality terrorized Washington 22 days long in October 2002).
Still a legend in the series of Tarot Movies with horror aspects is "The Ninth Gate" by Roman Polanski (1999). The 9 engravings similar to the usual Tarot motifs are seen in the review.

Remarkable in the Tarot Horror movie category, though perhaps a little unknown, should be the "philosophical horror" "Lunacy" (2005) of the Czech surrealist artist Jan ?vankmajer from Prague. The cards of the film (the critique calls them "bloodthirsty") had been made by his wife, the artist Eva ?vankmajerovŠ, who died after Lunacy was finished. A short trailer of "Lunacy" and other scenes are given at youtube, but I couldn't detect the Tarot card scenes.
Instead I found between the many other films of ?vankmajer a short work called "Darkness/Light/Darkness" (1989), which rather obviously is a reference to the Golem topic, which had its origin in Prague, the home town of Jan ?vankmajer.

With the Golem topic we're back in the years 1912/1913, when Gustav Meyrink wrote his rather successful fantastic story "Golem" and published it first in a newspaper 1913-1914 and later as a book. He used in the text the Austrian Tarock game as mystical content, especially focussing the role of the Pagat (the Austrian name for the card of the Bagatello or Magician). Meyrink's Golem inspired the actor and script writer Paul Wegener to three movies in 1915 (Golem), 1917 (Der Golem und die Tšnzerin) and 1920 ("Der Golem, wie er in die Welt kam"), from which only the last still exists. Paul Wegener himself was predestined for the Golem topic by his successful movie "The Student of Prague" (1913) (a version of 1926 is at youtube), a theme based on the writings of E.T.A. Hoffmann (German poet with fantastic writings in early 19th century). Wegener used new movie technology to present the topic of the "Doppelgaenger", which later found special attention with realisations of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide" based on a novel of Robert Louis Stevenson 1886.
Meyrink also influenced Ernst Kurtzahn, who published the first German edition of an esoteric Tarot game with accompanying book in 1920 (the text has a dedication to Gustav Meyrink). Meyrink himself had very early contact to the English order "Golden Dawn" (at least since 1893, the evidence is a letter by Westcott in the possession of Meyrink) and became a member of this order.

The most influential movie ever on the development of Tarot probably was the realisation of "James Bond - Live and let die (1973), the first Bond movie with Roger Moore. His female counterpart was Jane Seymour, who took the role of the female seer and high priestess in a hostile Voodoo-cult.
Tarot had become a little popular between the hippies of the 60's, but the movie opened the way for the Tarot game to the broader public and with that to a large commercial field. The number of Tarot books and new Tarot decks exploded with this date. The shown deck, "Tarot of the Witches", still present in the James Bond Museum, was produced by US Games and the art was done by Scottish artist Fergus Hall. "Mystic Games" shows the full deck.

There are lots of other "Tarot in Cinema" appearances, too much to note them all (and one finds not all at youtube - naturally). A first (and somehow standard) category is: Tarot appears in the opening, either as a content structure (as in "Dr. Terrors House of Horrors") or a "bad or good omen" or just indicating, that something mysterious (at least in the opinion of the movie-producer) will happen. Occasionally it's simply trash - Tarot is a popular topic and and the cards are attractive objects, so some producers combine them to topics without a real relation.
  • Dr. Terrors House of Horrors (1965)
    That's the content solution in a very classical form - 5 Horror stories are organized by 5 bad predictions of a card reader. But as the start theme reappears after each story and dominates the whole movie, it also belongs to the category 3.
  • Cleo from 5 to 7" (1962)
    The movie starts with the reading for a young woman and accompanies her life for the next 2 hours (French movie).
  • Dead Alive" or "Braindead" (1992)
    Zombie Horror - but the cards at the begin promise a romantic end
  • Monster-in-Law (2005)
    Another romantic card reading at the begin
  • Woo (1998)
    Another romantic card reading at the begin
  • Game of Death (with Bruce Lee 2005)
    Some trash in the opening
  • The Haunted Mansion (2003)
    Family oriented fantasy film, but actually an advertising movie for the "Haunted House" at Disneyland
  • People under the stairs (1991)
    The cards for "Fool" (13 years-old hero of the film) introduce a Horror movie with social aspects
  • The day of the Beast (1995)
    A single Tarot card at the begin (the Eliphas-Levi-devil in the purse of a priest) and a fire work around the "end of the world", Apocalypse, the beast, esoteric advertisement and much other fun - dark comedy, good movie, with a high degree of subtile irony (Spanish). Although Tarot isn't mentioned much, actually this movie might belong to category 3 at this place.
  • The Wolf Man (1941)
    The divination scene is not really at the begin, but opens the horror scenario a little later
  • The Red Violin (1998)
    5 stories around a 300-years-old red violin of Cremona - the first story is related to "old" Tarot. Good movie, but the real Tarot scenes are not presented at youtube.
  • Tales of the Unexspected
    Opening of a TV-series (trash)
The second category notes movies, in which Tarot (or divination-with-cards) scenes appear in a not important sidepath scenario in the middle of the action:
  • Touch of Evil (1958)
    Famous movie, famous actors, famous scene, famous quote: "Your future is all used up" (Marlene Dietrich to Orson Welles)
  • What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001)
    The cards appear variously in the movie, as "Max" is rather superstitious.
  • King of the Gypsies (1978)
    Good movie with social aspects about the Gypsie situation in America, the card scenes (and occasional mentioned "fortune telling" for money) are only an accompanying factor of the general Gypsie situation

The 3rd category collects movies, in which the Tarot (or divination card theme) is determinig a greater part of the real content.

  • Games (1967) Unluckily youtube offers only the opening ... but from the content description it seems, as if a greater part is determined by Tarot.
  • Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her (2000)
    Unluckily youtube offers only the trailer ... but from the content description one of the presented women is a tarot card reader.
  • House of Cards (1993) Drama around an autistic child - she builds a fantastic card house and that seems to be the key-scene.
  • Nightmare Alley (1947) Got by me personally the highest value for being Tarot-topic-related. It just shows the business of truthsaying (naturally of 1947) ... Tarot has the central scene, as it really indicates the truth (only of the movie, naturally).
Finally an early dance of the Pagat - not a card trick this time: ... just remembering the humble begins of a once new media. With thanks to Collection of Movie scenes with Tarot by Tarototes.com
- their list also contains some movies not mentioned here.