Lords of Chaos (film)

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Lords of Chaos
Lords of Chaos poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byJonas Åkerlund
Produced by
  • Kwesi Dickson
  • Danny Gabai
  • Jim Czarnecki
  • Erik Gordon
  • Jack Arbuthnott
  • Ko Mori
Screenplay byDennis Magnusson
Jonas Åkerlund
Based onLords of Chaos
by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind
StarringRory Culkin
Emory Cohen
Jack Kilmer
Sky Ferreira
CinematographyPär M. Ekberg
Edited byRickard Krantz
Distributed byVice Films
Gunpowder and Sky
Arrow Films
Release date
  • January 23, 2018 (2018-01-23) (Sundance)
  • March 29, 2019 (2019-03-29) (United Kingdom)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Lords of Chaos is a 2018 horror-thriller film directed by Jonas Åkerlund and written by Dennis Magnusson and Åkerlund. It stars Rory Culkin, Emory Cohen, and Sky Ferreira. It is based on the 1998 non-fiction book of the same name by Michael Moynihan and Didrik Søderlind, which follows a series of crimes that occurred in Oslo, Norway in the early 1990s surrounding the black metal bands Mayhem and Burzum. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.


In the 1980s, a young guitarist called Euronymous forms a Black Metal band called Mayhem, the first of the genre in their country of Norway, with Necrobutcher, Manheim, and Maniac on bass, drums, and vocals. Quickly during the bands uprising, Maniac and Manheim depart from the band, and are soon replaced by new drummer Hellhammer, and a new vocalist from Sweden called Dead, who inhabits self-destructive behavior, which he portrays during their live shows by cutting himself and bleeding on the audience, and throwing pig heads at the posers. At a show filmed by their friend Metalion, the band meets a fan named Varg Vikernes, whom Euronymous initially looks down on.

While home alone, Dead uses his personal knife to cut his arms and throat, and then uses Euronymous' shotgun to shoot himself in the forehead, leaving behind a suicide note. Euronymous returns home and finds the body but instead of calling the police, he takes photos of the body and moves the knife and shotgun around. After Dead's body is taken away, Euronymous collects skull pieces to make necklaces, this disgusts Necrobutcher, prompting him to leave the band.

Euronymous soon after opens a record shop which becomes a social hub for Black Metalers like Varg, Metalion, Fenriz of Darkthrone, and Faust of Emperor. After being mocked by an ego driven Euronymous, Varg uses his anti-Christian beliefs as motivation to burn down a local church. When approached by Varg concerning his status as the leader of the Black Circle, Euronymous burns down a church with Faust and Varg accompanying.

Euronymous recruits Varg as the new bassist, a guitarist called Blackthorn, and a Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar, for the studio session recordings of Mayhem's first LP called "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" and a power dispute between Varg and Euronymous arises.

After a wave of church burnings commence, Faust brutally kills a gay man, leading police to link Black Metalers to the crimes. Helvete is raided and shut down by police, and Varg is arrested as prime suspect because of an interview with a Bergen newspaper claiming to have been the one who burned all the churches and killed the gay man. He is soon released due to no concrete evidence being placed.

In anger, Euronymous starts making death threats about Varg, who travels to Oslo in the early morning of August 10, to confront Euronymous. The two engage in a knife duel, which ends with Varg brutally stabbing and killing Euronymous. The next day, the news of Euronymous' murder spreads fast through Norway and Varg is soon arrested. He is sent to prison for a maximum of 21 years, guilty of both the murder of Euronymous and the burning of the Fantoft stave church.




Japanese director Sion Sono was set to direct a movie based on the book, with Jackson Rathbone starring as Vikernes.[1][2] It would be Sono's first English-language film. The screenplay was written by Hans Fjellestad (who was earlier reported to be the film's director as well[3]), Ryan Page, Adam Parfrey (the book's publisher), and Sono.[4][5][6] In July 2009 Sono stated that filming (in Norway) would begin in August or September and end in December.[1][7] The film was set to be released in 2010.[4] However, it was later announced that Rathbone would no longer be playing Vikernes due to scheduling conflicts.[8]


In May 2015, it was announced that former Bathory's drummer and film director Jonas Åkerlund would direct the film.[9][10] The film was set to shoot in the fall of 2015 in Norway, but for unknown reasons, filming didn't begin until 2016.[11] The film was shot in Oslo, Norway, with live performance scenes shot in Budapest, Hungary. The live sequences shoot also included filming for the Metallica music video ManUNkind, starring the cast of the movie.[12]

Varg Vikernes, who has criticized the film since the first project, stated in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel in 2016 that when approached by the filmmakers, he, along with Mayhem and Darkthrone denied the rights for their music to be used in the film.[13]

The rumor started by Vikernes, that Mayhem's music would not be included in the movie, was dispelled by Åkerlund in an interview with Rolling Stone.[14]


The film's first screening was held during 2018 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2018 in Park City, Utah.[15]

In October 2018, a first-quarter 2019 release window for the United States was announced, with Arrow Films securing the rights for distribution in the United Kingdom.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Shackleton, Liz (May 19, 2009). "Japan's Sion Sono summons Lords of Chaos for English debut". Screen International. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  2. ^ "BURZUM Mastermind To Be Portrayed By 'Twilight' Heartthrob In 'Lords Of Chaos' Movie". Blabbermouth.net. May 21, 2009. Archived from the original on December 17, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  3. ^ "Lords of Chaos Movie to Go into Production in May". blabbermouth.net. April 11, 2006. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved August 11, 2007.
  4. ^ a b Official site Archived December 11, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ O'Hara, Helen (May 27, 2009). "Twilight's Rathbone Is Lord Of Chaos". Empire. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  6. ^ Ouellette, Kevin (March 2, 2009). "Sion Sono shooting 'Lords of Chaos' in Norway this spring". Nippon Cinema. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  7. ^ Hoenigman, David F. (July 28, 2009). "Channeling Chaos – An Interview with Sion Sono". 3:AM Magazine. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  8. ^ Twilight Man Drops Out Of ‘Lords Of Chaos’ Movie Archived January 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ Barraclough, Leo (May 4, 2015). "Cannes: Jonas Akerlund to Direct 'Lords of Chaos' for Ridley Scott's Scott Free, RSA, Vice". variety.com. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  10. ^ "Jonas Akerlund to Direct Film Based on Mayhem's Euronymous". Loudwire. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "'Lords Of Chaos' Norwegian Black-Metal Movie Shooting In Oslo: First Look". blabbermouth.net. November 18, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
  12. ^ Rolling Stone https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/watch-metallicas-bloody-black-metal-channeling-manunkind-video-111189/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ ThuleanPerspective (December 20, 2016), About the 'Lords of Chaos' movie, retrieved January 22, 2018
  14. ^ Rolling Stone (January 31, 2018), Jonas Akerlund on Black Metal, Mayhem and the Making of 'Lords of Chaos', retrieved March 31, 2018
  15. ^ "lords-of-chaos". www.sundance.org. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  16. ^ "Arrow Nabs 'Lords of Chaos' for U.K., Black Metal Movie Set for Early 2019 U.S. Release". variety.com. Retrieved October 12, 2018.

External links[edit]