Watch the New Animated Music Video Directed by David Lynch!
Horror

Watch the New Animated Music Video Directed by David Lynch!

Rock ‘n roll and performative Satanism may be a match made in heaven, but conservative attitudes used to mean that musicians had to tread carefully when subverting religious standards in their performances. Thankfully, decades of pushed boundaries have led to mainstream audiences finally becoming a bit more lenient when it comes to musical blasphemy. That’s why no one bats an eye when thousands of fans fill up an arena to see a band that openly mocks religious institutions while casually incorporating demonic chants into their romantic lyrics.

And with so many followers willing to dress up as ghouls and evil nuns as they sing along to ballads about doomed lovers and eldritch rituals, it was only a matter of time before Swedish rock band Ghost would get the chance to celebrate their particular brand of high-spirited satanism with a feature-length concert film.

Masterminded by Tobias Forge himself, working alongside indie filmmaker Alex Ross Perry (director of Her Smell and writer of 2018’s underrated Christopher Robin), Rite Here Rite Now is the big budget culmination of the band’s infamous Chapters – brief and often comedic short films exploring the fictional backstory of the Ghost organization and the ever-shifting lineage of Satanic Popes that govern it. The film is also a farewell to the Re-Imperatour tour as well as the band’s current creative cycle.

Picking up plot threads first established way back in 2018, Rite Here Rite Now follows a live show at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California where Papa Emeritus IV (affectionately known as Cardi) is forced to confront the end of his reign as leader of the clergy. Throughout the course of the band’s performance, his parents slowly convince him that all good things must come to an end and that a concert is only as good as its finishing number.

If you find the multiple references to a pre-existing backstory confusing, don’t be alarmed. The film still works as a standalone experience, even featuring a brief recap towards the beginning so that new fans can understand the show alongside veterans. The story obviously hits a lot harder if you’ve been keeping up with the lore (I was genuinely moved by Papa’s speech about dreaming of coming to California to be an entertainer), but no homework is necessary in order to enjoy the ride.

I think this was the right call, as most of the original Chapter videos are little more than in-jokes and cheap gags meant to promote new songs and announce tour dates. Unfortunately, this haphazard take on storytelling bleeds onto the big screen, as despite being marketed as a hybrid narrative experience in the vein of Metallica’s Through the Never, Rite Here Rite Now is approximately 90% music and 10% story. This isn’t exactly bad news (this is a concert film, after all), but fans should lower their expectations if they’re under the impression that Papa is about to embark on a globe-trotting cinematic adventure.

However, that’s not to say that the film is lacking in theatricality. For starters, Forge and his Nameless Ghouls are at their absolute peak where stage presence is concerned, and Perry knows exactly when to focus in on visual details enhancing the music. From horrific projections to dancing skeletons, there’s a lot more to see here than mere guitar close-ups and screaming members of the audience. Fans of Forge’s offbeat sense of humor will also be pleased to hear that the film features quite a few gags meant to remind viewers that the whole Satan shtick is meant to be interpreted as ironic satire rather than genuine evil.

Of course, none of this would matter if the music wasn’t any good, so it’s very fortunate that Rite Here Rite Now features consistently great renditions of the band’s greatest hits. I actually found myself enjoying quite a few of these performances even more than the studio versions, with classics like Rats gaining new life through the band’s live charisma and a three-part encore that will likely go down in history as the stuff of rock ‘n roll legend. We even get a Scooby-Doo-inspired animated music video for Mary on a Cross, which also doubles as a flashback sequence concerning Cardi’s conception.

Between these songs are several moments of poignant self reflection where it appears that Tobias himself is having trouble letting go of the band’s most prolific frontman persona so far. You really get the feeling that this is the end of an era, and I’d honestly still be satisfied if the band decided to call it quits after one final explosive presentation. Thankfully, that’s far from the case, but fans should stay seated until the very end of the credits if they want a hint of Ghost’s future.

The film won’t be dethroning classics like Stop Making Sense (or even Through the Never) anytime soon, but Rite Here Rite Now is up there with the very best when it comes to offering a glimpse at a group of artists performing in their prime. Sure, the flick is light on narrative and feels ever so slightly bloated, with maybe a couple of songs too many (not to mention a few redundant skits), but you can’t really blame Forge and company for wanting to give fans exactly what they want. If you like Ghost, you’ll like this movie – it’s as simple as that.

So, whether you’re already a die-hard fan or just want to dip your toes into the band’s satanic repertoire, I’d highly recommend checking this one out and playing it at max volume if your ears can handle it.

Rite Here Rite Now was released in theaters on June 20, 2024.

4 out of 5 skulls

Originally Published Here.

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