The Ultimate Guide to Conjuring the Antichrist (Lars von Trier)
Lars von Trier is the Antichrist. There, we said it. Well, actually, he said it first.
In this month's Curzon12 collection, we look at some of the craziest films to play at the Cannes Film Festival, including Antichrist from the Danish provocateur Lars von Trier, who makes his return to Cannes this year following a seven year ban. Sure to stir up another storm of controversy on the Croisette, we've considered that you may want to tell von Trier, the Antichrist, just how you feel about his films, so have compiled a few ways you can get in touch.
Despite prompting walkouts and think pieces galore, Lars von Trier’s Antichrist is not the mischievous Dane’s most provocative film, but it might be his most ambiguous.
Two nameless parents, He (Willem Dafoe) and She (Charlotte Gainsbourg) venture to a remote cabin where they can process the grief and guilt they are suffering at the recent death of their infant son. Out there, alone in the woods, the couple is plagued by occultist visions of death and suffering, driving them to paranoia and climactic self-destruction. Antichrist is a gruelling watch, for sure, probing and challenging at every turn, but ultimately it brings a rare intelligence to the horror tradition and strangely is one of Lars von Trier's most accessible films.
And here's where it gets really interesting...
It is immediately followed by another title card declaring “Antichrist.”
The opening visual of Antichrist is a title card stating the filmmaker’s name “Lars von Trier” scrawled in white chalk.
There you have it, straight from the filmmaker himself. All the evidence we need to prove that Lars von Trier and the Antichrist are one and the same.
Should you want to talk to him, there are a number of ways to summon the Antichrist: Lars von Trier for the purposes of striking up a deal, or just shooting the breeze, and we’ve detailed a selection of resources below.
1. THE GRAND GRIMOIRE
The Grand Grimoire (also known as The Red Dragon) is the ultimate reference guide for black magic enthusiasts. Its ye olde pages provide the incantations required to conjure Lucifer for the explicit purpose of striking up a deal. It's like a x666 extension to bypass reception and get straight to the top. Just be warned, Lars von Trier is not the kind of person to whom you want to be indebted.
If you're really serious about getting in touch with the Antichrist then this booke comes highly recommended, but before you enter into what is sure to be a regrettable pact with the devil, we urge you to watch Alexander Sokurov's off-the-wall interpretation of the Faust legend, a warning against the corrupting influence of power.
2. THE LESSER KEY OF SOLOMON
An alternative choice could be this mighty tome, the inspiration for many a cinematic ghoul. Containing instructions on how to summon not one, not two, but 72 different demons, it's suitable for any mood and occasion. Meet Prince Vassago, a fortune teller guaranteed to spice up any dinner party, or Duke Bathin who can transport people from one place to another in an instant, meaning no late-night Ubers for your guests.
These demons have popped up in countless films, either trying to possess Anthony Hopkins (The Rite), or providing Angela Lansbury with the final spell she needs to complete her witchcraft training (Bedknobs and Broomsticks). It will be arduous and you'll no doubt have to humour a lot of demon party tricks along the way, but one of King Solomon’s pals will surely be able to put you in touch with the Antichrist.
In times like these, you can always rely on H.P. Lovecraft for a guiding hand. Albeit fictional, his book The Necronomicon can be found in most poorly lit basements, remote cabins and recently excavated tombs. Most famously it showed up in Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead as the flesh bound Book of the Dead found in, you've guessed it, a cabin in the woods (much like the one where He and She spend the majority of Antichrist.) So strap on your hiking boots, you've a terrifying abandoned shack to find.
This one is particularly geared around the summoning of primordial beings so, on second thoughts, it probably won't help you on your search for the Antichrist. Wrong decade.
4. OUIJA BOARD
If you've ever been a teenager, chances are you've given one of these a whirl. It's midnight at the sleepover, spin the bottle didn't really capture the group's imagination, and so someone suggests breaking out the DIY Ouija board. It's all bravado and laughter until the cockney lad from 1666 starts moving the glass and, in an instant, you're all petrified and wishing you'd just stuck it out with The Nutty Professor.
Technically an Ouija board will only allow you to speak to the dead rather than the living, but this is a great way to get some reliable directions. The Exorcist’s Regan happened upon the devil himself when she took a whirl on a Ouija board so, you never know, you might meet a spirit who knows a spirit whose brother used to knock about with Lars.
5. CANNES 2018
If all else fails, flights to Cannes can be found for a reasonable price through popular airline comparison websites. We hear The Antichrist: Lars von Trier plans to be there with what might be his most devilish film yet, The House That Jack Built.
Lars von Trier's The House That Jack Built follows the life and murder spree of the highly intelligent Jack (Matt Dillon) over a span of 12 years as he develops as a serial killer. We're invited to hear the inner workings and rationalisation of Jack’s depraved mind while he postulates each murder is an artwork in itself. As the inevitable police intervention draws ever closer, Jack's ego drives him to take greater and greater risks in his attempt to create the ultimate artwork.
The House That Jack Built plays at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. Expect walkouts and think pieces galore.
Antichrist is available to stream on Curzon Home Cinema, part of the Curzon12 collection WTF Cannes? a free service for Curzon Members.