"'Welcome to Norway, a country known for seal clubbing and a very high suicide rate,' says guitarist Euronymous (Rory Culkin)," says Amy Nicholson, recounting a scene from Jonas Åkerlund's new film Lords of Chaos.
"It's 1987, and thanks to his bandmates in Mayhem (there's an upside-down cross dropping from both Ms), his homeland will soon be infamous for a rash of church burnings and three deaths, all in the service of Norwegian Black Metal, a guttural, screaming barrage of rage that celebrates all things evil.
"Lords of Chaos director Jonas Åkerlund knows this scene," Nicholson continues. "In the early '80s, he co-founded the Swedish metal band Bathory, then made his way to America to shoot groundbreaking music videos for everyone from Rammstein and Prodigy to Lady Gaga and Madonna. He's got range, and that comes through in this funny, occasionally frightening anthropological dramedy about how insecure boys hound each other to be really, really bad." To read the full review, click here.
"Contemplating the events of the film for 20 years," recalls Matt Grobar, "the Lords of Chaos director came to an unexpected realization that would shape his approach to his Mayhem film: 'At the end of the day, these were just young, passionate kids who had a lot of energy and some really big ideas, but played around with some dangerous stuff in the quest for fame, or infamy or whatever you want to call it. And ultimately, it got out of their control,' the film's producer Danny Gabai explains.
"'There was such a humanistic way to how [Åkerlund] talked about it, making people realize that it was much greater than just a heavy-metal murder movie, that there was actually something really universal and humanistic and beautiful about this story.'" To read the full interview with Gabai, click here.
"I've always been drawn to movies where I get a chance to look into a world that I kind of know about, but that I never really get to see what's happening behind the doors," Åkerlund tells Laura Kern.
"I've also always been drawn to movies and books that are based on true stories with strong characters—and that was a main appeal for me when it came to Lords of Chaos. I think a lot of people expect me to do a film about music that is very dark, but my focus has been very much on the characters and their relationships—the emotional part of what actually happened, which I feel is very important." To read Kern's full interview, click here
"Since it's based on true events, it really made me think about the people behind the characters during the process," concurs editor Rikard Strømsodd. "What was going on in their minds? How did it end up in all this madness? The most extreme level of peer pressure or true conviction? All these thoughts made us look through the footage again and again, constantly finding new nervous glances, new shadow movements, anxiety hidden in laughs and unnatural pauses within assertive lines. Will people embrace this story the way we did? Only the man with the horns knows." To read the full interview, click here.
Strømsodd, tells Filmmaker magazine, "The common goal I shared with the director was to tell the story as cinematically and dramatically as possible, but at the same time stay true to the actual story.
"Since Jonas used to be an editor himself it became a big challenge for me to visually impact this movie, so that was one of my personal goals. I spent a lot of hours in the editing room trying to come up with a pace built on a series of 'off-beat' cuts and really tried to embrace the 'analogue-ness' of the handheld cameras. Small, almost not visible overlapping lines in and out of sync, looking for roughness within the perfection.
"I think the end result is pretty cool. It's something else," Strømsodd concludes. "There is not one single cut in this movie left to chance. Not by me, not by Jonas." To read the full interview, click here.