Terence McKenna remains a beloved cult figure in the psychedelics community, and this nearly 3-hour experimental film, from creator Peter Bergmann, is one of the best tributes to the late psychonaut available. It’s a collection of audio and video footage of the philosopher talking about his mystical psilocybin experiences, supported by rare documents the director obtained through Dennis McKenna, Klea McKenna, Kathleen Harrison and Stephanie Schmitz, to weave a portrait of the author of underground psychedelics sensation True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise.
The book chronicles the McKenna’s and three companion’s adventure by plane, boat, and foot to the Colombian mission town of La Chorrera, where they hoped to encounter the elusive psychedelic oo-koo-hé, but instead stumbled upon magic mushroom strain Stropharia Cubensis, which gave rise to a very fantastic tale involving a flying saucer, pirate Mantids from outer space, and an appearance by James and Nora Joyce in the guise of poultry, and translinguistic matter. Bergmann describes the film as “a deep dive into the young minds of the McKenna brothers, and an effort to provide some kind of visual aid and emotional center to a much larger story, with details scattered through hundreds of talks.” The film succeeds in documenting McKenna’s existence and charismatic personality that has attracted so many fans over the years, and certainly mesmerized my stoned eyes during a late-night viewing last year, but as many of McKenna’s True Hallucinations are fairly outlandish and far from scientific, what the viewer will walk away with is ultimately dependent on what they want to, or are ready, to believe. At the very least, it’s an entertaining trip through the mind of a psychedelic icon that won’t soon be forgotten.