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.”