Fantastic Talking Fox

In a 5.20 riff about IFC’s acquisition of Lars Von Trier‘s Antichrist, I offered the following suggestions: “(a) Don’t market it as a serious film but as a hoot; (b) Make a deal with a toy company to sell battery-powered toy foxes covered with blood and afterbirth that say ‘chaos reigns!’ when you pull their tail; (c) Sell it as something that only the truly freakish of mind can handle — i.e., are you man enough to see Antichrist?”

I’m not aware of any Antichrist foxes having appeared in stores, but IFC has clearly adopted the “hoot” approach to selling the film, to go by this Peter Bruge 10.10 Variety piece. It claims that “chaos reigns!,” a statement spoken by a bloody slow-motion fox during the film, “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.'” Here’s a YouTube link to the full scene.

“‘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.”

  • Eloi Manning

    I’m sure it’ll be more atmospheric and spooky in a non-Cannes environment. It wouldn’t surprise me even if some of the Cannes critics were quite scared by it and decided to chuckle and guffaw their way through the movie to defuse the tension and make it a comedy laugh-along.

    That said, it does look quite funny.

    The Exorcist is pretty funny too, though.

  • Sebastian Selig

    What a shame Jeffrey that u didn’t get ANTICHRIST at all. One of the richest and dellirious inventive films of this year (so far).Loved it from start to finish and can’t wait for a trip to PLANET MELANCHOLIA coming next year.

  • corey3rd

    William Castle would have a gimmick for it

    the upcoming William Catle DVD boxset is perfection in showmenship

    Antichrist without a gimmick will die fast

  • Gogocrank

    Taking sides: this talking fox versus the talking dog in “Summer of Sam.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THh1pPWEoWs

  • bildeaux

    I am not sure what to think on this one. It was creepy for sure and I didn’t chuckle through it at all. To me it boiled down to –

    chaos=nature vs ego=god

  • lonniechung

    I think Antichrist would probably blow minds in the 15-18 year old proto-art suburban high school crowd. When I was around that age I caught Gothic on Cinemax one night and thought it was awesome. I will say that a handful of the scenes from Antichrist will probably stick with me, but they’ll always be attached to one of the most boring, repetitive (“you can’t forgive me” “I do forgive you” “it’s all my fault” “it’s not your fault”), silly films I’ve seen in quite some time. I realize that the mood was supposed to evoke emptiness – but not that kind of emptiness.

  • Eloi Manning

    “I think Antichrist would probably blow minds in the 15-18 year old proto-art suburban high school crowd.”

    Yes. They should really heavily go after teenagers for this one. They’re the primary market for horror, and if they do a bunch of those adverts showing “real audience members” reacting in shock to the images on screen, then hammer home just how Controversial and Shocking the movie is, they’ll draw a decent crowd. Basically Wells’s point C).

  • DeeZee

    Von Trier’s been watching too much Naruto.

    Gogocrank: How about the dog fight anecdote in Half-baked? http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi3470852121/

  • BurmaShave

    I don’t feel like this thread got nearly enough reaction, and I know this is a clip out of context, but that’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen.

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  • Darin Cunningham

    The movie is very violent and have sexual contents which can even be referred as hardcore porn but the gruesome torture scenes of the movie “Saw” saves “Antichrist” from getting berated. This movie is definitely bloody violent and would appeal the teenage groups rather than the adults.

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