After Lars Von Trier’s oft misunderstood Hitler comment a few years back he has taken a self-imposed sabbatical from interviews so the film sites and fans are having to look for any scrap of information in any place they can.

Lars Von Trier

The King is Alive

Well, In an interview for Sound Venue, Director Kristian Levring spoke of what direction Von Trier was headed now that Nymphomaniac Parts I & II have divided the film going world between the “Loved its” and the “Hated its”. The film will be firmly planted in the Horror genre, and will be set in Detroit, and called…. Detroit. Levring says Detroit will be “about a man who struggles with his inner demons.” Whether manifestations of metaphorical we can only assume at this point, but what we can be certain of is the film will have Von Trier’s signature observations on the human condition, and mostly likely comments on U.S.A. from a foreigner’s point of view.

Levring notes that the title “Detroit” works as a kind of pun for “destroyed” and with the social and economic tribulation that Detroit the city is suffering from these days this seems only fitting. Levring says (courtesy of Google translate),

“…we are over in something real thrill. Of course there is something psychological in it, but it’s a real horror movie. That is certainly what we are working towards.”

Von Trier has only written two films for other directors, Dear Wendy which was an allegory about violence and race relations in the states, and the semi-autobigraphical The Early Years: Erik Nietzsche Part 1 which showed a young man (not unlike Von Trier) working his way through film school. Although Von Trier is keeping in contact with Levring during the writing, Levring affirms that “it is is only Lars, writing.”

Von Trier is no stranger to Horror as his Danish TV series The Kingdom can play witness to; a haunting, scary, often horrifying, and sometimes hilarious story about a Hospital in Denmark that was built on sacred ground. It houses ghosts, a secret society, and many secrets that the Doctors would like kept hidden, and the two seemingly innocuous Dishwashers with Downs Syndrome form a kind of Greek chorus commenting on the story as it happens around. The series spawned a second season, plus! Stephen King remade it in America as Kingdom Hospital. But don’t let that turd deter you, Von Trier created a solid piece of work able to stand proud in anyone’s horror collection.

Lars Von Trier

Udo makes an appearance

Levring was the fourth director to sign up for Von Trier’s Dogme95 where he directed The King is Alive (2000) under that mandate. His gritty western The Salvation starring little known actor Mad Mikkelson whom some might know from the TV series Klovn (S01E08, Str.44), a series that Von Trier also directed an episode, and appears in a cameo. Levring’s film Salvation is an official selection at this years Cannes, but has received only middling reviews. See how you feel about him when the film comes to movie houses this May 22nd. The trailer looks beautiful, check it out.

Taking inspiration from Psycho and The Excorcist, Kristian Levring might be up for the job, and The King is Alive was a great psychological film that proved he can direct nuance and subtext within the constraints of the strict guidelines of Dogme95. Lars Von Trier has never been one to follow convention so we wait with bated breath for his new take on Horror.

James C.