West Coast Premiere

Welcome to Norway, a nation known for “seal clubbing and a very high suicide rate.” Based on “truth & lies,” Jonas Åkerlund’s film about the birth of “true Norwegian black metal” carries on in this manner for 112 pitch perfect minutes.

This is the story of the birth of Mayhem, the notorious black metal band that wore corpse paint, aimed to create the most extreme metal music ever heard, burned down churches and was involved in brutal bloody murders.

The year is 1987. Rory Culkin stars as Euronymous, guitarist and leader of a little-heard extreme metal band, Mayhem, struggling to break out to a wider audience. Although Euronymous talks a good talk (“I was brought to this world to create suffering, chaos and death”), he struggles to walk the walk.

Naturally, the singer of the band was born ready to walk, fully committing to this mantra via the most outrageous act of mayhem.
Euronymous opens a record store (Hel), starts a record label and tells everyone of the literal mayhem he wants to instigate, but it isn’t until he meets Varg (Emory Cohen) that his ideals come alive, borne of alpha male one upmanship between the two.

Desperate for acceptance within the scene, Varg is fearless in his convictions and burns down several 12th century churches as a means of proving he’s no poseur. As the ante is upped to plotting murder, “true Norwegian Black Metal” is born.

In much the same way that Tim Hunter perfectly captures teenage angst in 1986’s RIVER’S EDGE, Åkerlund cuts a slice of life of young men itching for reasons to rebel. Shot through with riotous, pitch-black humour and unflinching, extreme lingering violence, LORDS OF CHAOS never once places these princes of darkness on pedestals, nor does it celebrate the many acts of destruction they engage in.

Åkerlund was the original drummer for black metal band Bathory and knows his subject matter well. The film is anarchic and totally fucking punk rock; the finale will leave you breathless, exhausted and pleasantly stunned. LORDS OF CHAOS is hands-down one of my favourite films of the year and it doesn’t require black metal knowledge to revel in its mayhem.

Spencer Hickman

Director: Jonas Åkerlund
Country: UK, Sweden
Runtime: 112 min.
Year: 2018
Guests: Jonas Åkerlund in Person

September 27
7:30 pm (1h 40′)

Egyptian Theatre: Hulu Screen

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