Fair Value of Lords of Chaos: $18.00. One of the best comedies I’ve seen in a while. A Spinal Tap for my generation, deadpan and wry.
Is This Film Worth My Time? You’re either going to laugh, or you’re going to be very disturbed, at the antics of the Scandinavian misanthropes that populate this film. Or in all likelihood, a mix of both.
Who Will Like This Film? People who like their comedy as black and dry as the crusty ashes at the edge of their ovens.
Who Won’t Like This Film? The squeamish. Whether it’s mailing crucified rats or stabbing your friends to death, there’s a lot of mutilation, grotesquerie, and gore. There’s even a shout out to Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive, one of the all-time masterpieces of Grand Guignol.
Also, the film lags when it lapses into standard rock-band biopic tropes. The real interest and novelty of this film lays in the scenes of this singularly dysfunctional social scene trying to function, with a bunch of misfits trying to one-up each other with their metal purity.
Pure Norwegian Black Metal: Just as James Murphy sang in Losing My Edge, proving your subculture cred is an endless, infinitely recursive act of Sisyphean pretension. There will always be somebody edgier than you, someone who takes it further with their schtick, more hardcore than thou.
That’s the key theme of this film biopic of Mayhem, starring Rory Culkin as Eurynomos and Emory Cohen as Varg.
Littler than the Legend: Back during the Geocities Age, hype worked differently. I remember hearing about all the church burnings and murders as a child, and I imagined these Black Metal guys as bikers, Lemmy Kilmister types, grizzled biker Vikings with decades of crime and brawling in their past. They were teenagers! Literally the same dumb teenagers as that inspired Beavis and Butthead in North America, but with the money and the luck to make the press.
Watching this film, I was reminded of the days of my music career. I thank the Eldritch Horrors beyond space and time that I found out about Lux Interior before Burzum. During the 90s I was more of an industrial/ doom/ sludge kind of guy- Current 93 and Skinny Puppy were my jams. Black Metal always struck me as having the pageantry of Goth without the fun- with earlier bands like Maiden and Priest you knew that Rob and Bruce were in on the joke. Much like with Punk, Metal got stale as a bunch of gatekeepers set in, sneering at the posers.
So what we get is a bunch of Norwegian teenagers hiding their own insecurity under layers of face paint and black leather. Much of the comedy of the film comes from the cringe elements of juxtaposing the imagery of Black Metal theatricality with the sweater-wearing mundanity of Oslo. And therein lays the comedy. In the quest to escape, in the competition to prove how hardcore and Brvtal one truly was, the Black Inner Circle just ended up as a group of homicidal buffoons.
Please check out our 10 Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pictures of all time, and if this is not enough for you, how about The Other Top Ten Most Ridiculous Black Metal Pictures.