First of all it is necessary to dispel the myth that the film is based on the book with same title published in 1998: in fact Åkerlund, who says he considers Lords of Chaos as his first real film despite the previous three ones, maintains that the film has nothing to do with the book and on the contrary the book is infected and nobody likes it. Jørn Stubberud, aka Necrobutcher, has supposedly advised him many times to change the title but it was impossible to do so because by that time it had gone too far.
The whole film revolves around Euronymous. Åkerlund claims that his aim was to deconstruct the myth of the monster Euronymous told on the internet and that he wanted to portray the young guy behind this image, a person for whom one can feel sympathy and with whom one can identify despite the fandangle he has done. But when interviewer Ika Johannesson asks him whether he wanted to give Euronymous a conscience, Åkerlund replies: “It's hard to make a film about idiots. And actually the whole bunch are idiots. I think Euronymous is an idiot also in the film [...].“ He goes on by saying that he has never met Euronymous in person, but from the outside he looks like the type of the tough guy. Åkerlund, however, adds that he believes that deep inside Euronymous wasn't really like that. The director’s personal view on Euronymous is perhaps related to the scene in which Euronymous cuts his hair: Åkerlund claims to have learned of this particular thanks to a friend who had shown him a photo of the body of Euronymous in which it is clearly seen that his hair was short. The photo in question is allegedly a photo taken by the police, unknown to everyone, and not available on the net. Åkerlund finds a moral and symbolic meaning in Euronymous cutting his hair; he says: "It is a symbolic thing to cut one's hair. We interpret it as if he were on his way somewhere." As we know, however, Varg has denied the truthfulness of this detail. Which of them is telling the truth?
Another detail contested by Varg is the Scorpions patch worn by Varg in the scene in which he first meets Euronymous. Åkerlund states that his original idea was to use a Mötley Crue patch but Nikki Sixx had denied him the consent to use the name of Mötley Crue; Åkerlund opted therefore for a Scorpions patch only because the German band had given him consent to do so. However it must be said that, as he puts it, it seems that even the Mötley Crue patch is a fictional detail without foundation.
The last scene I will dwell on is the scene in which Varg has group sex with numerous groupies, a fact already strongly denied by Varg. What is more interesting is the explanation of Åkerlund: "it is a made-up thing but since Varg has a fucking lot of children he must have liked women anyway." He justifies the invention with the fact that the film is introduced with the text "Based on truth, lies and what actually happened"; he then says that it is a complicated story that happened a lot of years ago and it is difficult to know what is true. Interesting explanation one might say; so if someone wants to make a film about Napoleon, Charlemagne or the second world war, one could mystify the facts because the story happened many years ago and therefore it is difficult to know what is true.
To conclude, Åkerlund admits that much in the film is invented; the most interesting thing about the interview is in my opinion when he claims that it is true that Euronymous cut his hair the day before he died despite Varg denying it. Which of them is telling the truth? I think this is an important point because much of the film is about this: had Euronymous really changed? Many questions remain and above all: if those in the Norwegian scene were a bunch of idiots, why did Jonas want to make a film about them?
Text by Herjann