Coming to a T-shirt near you: “Chaos reigns!”
The unlikely catchphrase hails from Lars von Trier’s arthouse horror movie “Antichrist” and is fast on its way to becoming this year’s “I drink your milkshake!”
The graphic tale of a couple coming to terms with their grief divided critics in Cannes but is starting to find a following, thanks to some shrewd maneuvering by domestic distrib IFC Films, which recognized that younger auds and genre fans seemed attracted by the very elements that repelled other viewers.
Particularly iconic was a surreal scene in which Willem Dafoe’s character stumbles through the primeval brush, where he encounters a fox devouring its own flesh. In what may or may not be a hallucination, the animal tosses its head and snarls the words “Chaos reigns.”
“We’ve been saying it in the office since we bought the movie, so it’s funny that it took off in Fantastic Fest,” says IFC marketing head Ryan Werner, who sent the clip to a number of blogs. IFC also screened the film at the Austin, Texas-based horror and genre fest, where fanboys latched on to the pic’s aphorism, starting a #chaosreigns Twitter stream and demanding shirts from the fest’s on-site T-shirt purveyor, Mondo Tees.
“We knew things would happen, just because I’ve worked on other controversial movies before like ‘The Brown Bunny,’ and they kind of take a life of their own once you start throwing stuff out there,” says Werner.
Though IFC doesn’t hold merchandising rights on the film, Werner says the distrib is investigating possible tie-ins.
Adding to “Antichrist’s” notoriety is an incident at the pic’s New York Film Festival screening: The film had to be stopped after a man passed out during one of its more intense scenes.
Ambulances were called and the man had to be carried out before the screening resumed for the stunned audience.
Bloggers in attendance quickly spread the word, raising the film’s profile even further.
Chaos reigns. And buzz abounds.