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Prepare to look away, or cover your eyes, or else be extremely grossed out by this upsettingly violent horror-thriller, one of the very few such movies that claim to be “based on a true story” and actually are. The pertinent plot points are taken from verifiable fact. Perhaps without entirely intending or realising it, Lords of Chaos gives us more than its ostensible subject matter: it sheds light on contributory factors of extreme-right terrorism, fascism and ethno-nationalism.
This is a grisly tale from the Norwegian black-metal rock scene of the early 90s, in which excitable and delusional young men – and what a toxic male story it is – bought into their kitsch satanism so lavishly and competitively that they committed acts of ritual arson and murder.
Rory Culkin stars and provides the gravelly, GoodFellas-type voiceover as Øystein Aarseth, stage-named Euronymous, the black-metal guitarist, label owner and record store proprietor who exploited the suicide of his band Mayhem’s lead singer for publicity purposes. Emory Cohen plays Kristian “Varg” Vikernes, Euronymous’s onetime superfan who himself became a black=metal musician and was then consumed with envy and violence oneupmanship with Euronymous.
At first, Lords of Chaos looks as if it is going to be a black comedy, and I did laugh when a black-metal musician applies to join Mayhem by sending a crucified rat through the post. But then it becomes deadly serious. This is a story of depression and self-harm, and also denied or displaced sexuality. Yet the traditional gag about these guys needing to get laid doesn’t apply: they were getting laid, and treating women as utter irrelevances.
The diagnosis moreover does not merely apply to what is happening inside their heads. This is the Petri dish of fascism, even if fascism as such didn’t grow there: a poisonous ecosystem of fanaticism. The violence was for me almost unwatchable, but it’s a well-made and worryingly plausible film.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Lords of Chaos review – distressingly violent black-metal horror | Horror films