Friday, December 20, 2013

Hellbound? (Probably)

This guy? Definitely.
Just watched the documentary Hellbound?. It's pretty dry for the most part, and the points it makes are fairly obvious - evangelists are nutty and hypocritical, Christian theology is convoluted and open to interpretation. But the filmmakers won my heart with a brief detour into a European metal festival, where they catch Deicide's Glen Benton being his typically wry self, and ask Oderus Urungus to name three people he thinks are in hell ("Jesus. Every pope ever. That's more than three. Ronald Reagan is in hell, believe it or not."). The filmmakers also interview David "Soul Patch" Vincent and Mayhem's Necrobutcher (who seems uniquely ill-suited for documentary interviews).

Also noteworthy is a segment about "hell houses", which is scored with a song by the Danish band Crematoria (never heard of them - but I'm assuming they're in the film because they were cheaper to license than Deicide). The filmmakers don't explicitly point out the irony that hell houses and Satanic death metal are thematically identical, but the juxtaposition hints that it was on their minds. Both traffic in gore and wallow in the grotesque  - but at least death metal bands don't pretend they're in the business of saving souls (with the possible exception of Mortification). As Glen Benton says earlier in the film, "Religion is a business, just like any other business. It's about making money. And what we do scares some business to them, and it takes some business away. So it's an even trade-off."

I don't know if I'd call Hellbound? essential viewing - but if you want to watch a film where a guy with an upside down cross burned into his forehead comes off as more reasonable than a dozen assorted preachers and theologians, you and your confirmation bias can find out more here.