Promoted as the “most brutal movie ever made”, Chaos depicts two unsuspecting young women who leave a nightclub, right into the arms of a trio of psycopaths. Bored with the lack of a party they attend, the naïve Emily (Degroat) and Ecstasy-craving Angelica (Barovich) are led by Swan (Stallone) into death, sodomy and the worst shit that could ever happen to someone.
Enter Chaos (Gage); the bulky and violent leader of a pack of criminals. Along with his sidekick, Frankie (Wozniak) and his woman, Daisy (Kelly) they conduct a series of sexual assault and torture to the girls, resulting in their bloody and violent deaths. It sounds simple, but at its core, that is the first hour of the film. The rest is a search for the missing girls, with a number of odd twists, and an open ending, leaving the filmmakers license to continue on with the rampage.
Violence and gore are the strong suits, if not the primary drivers, of Chaos. For instance, in the first full-on murder scene, one girl has a very private body part cut off and cannibalized. It’s after she’s stabbed (to the brink of death) that her body is raped. (She gets off comparatively easy.) Her counterpart attempts escape, which results in a second level of blood and pain.
Through Act One, the dialogue is somewhat stereotypical, with only a few high points. The girls are locked into their single facets; Emily’s uneasiness and Angelica’s drug use. The interaction between Chaos and his underlings displays his controlling tone and demeanor. The human factor is completely dependent on Emily’s parents, whose sensible conversation breaks up the inevitable murder and sexual assault of the victims.
The girls do an excellent job when facing their sexual assailants, channeling desperation well. However, they’re hamstrung by dialogue in order to facilitate the inevitable end. In Act Two, when the control of the movie is handed off to actor Scott Richards (as Dr. Leo Collins), his performance ramps everyone around him deeper into their characters.
The film claims to be a re-telling of two murders by Donald Henry “Pee Wee” Gaskins. Instead, this is set in modern day, illustrated by the hip-hop and rave music and the inflection and grammar of the dialogue. Other than the fact that the crime is murder and sexual assault, there is little to compare the events of Chaos with the real-life serial killings of Gaskins.
In the event which relates closest to the film, Gaskins killed his 15-year-old niece, Janice Kirby, and her friend, Patricia Alsobrook in November, 1970. He offered the two girls a ride home from a bar and instead, drove them to an abandoned house where he raped and killed them. Later, he drowned the girls in separate locations. Instead, Chaos, Daisy, Frankie and Swan lure the girls from their crappy party, then take them out to the woods to assault and kill them.
The comparisons to Donald Gaskins are not the most accurate. Gaskins was nicknamed “Pee Wee” due to his diminutive stature (5’2”) and was a prison bitch from reform school through his stays in jail, until he slit Hazel Brazell’s throat, earning him a reputation. Chaos is easily 6’2” and the Alpha male of his little group of cohorts; anything but how Gaskins lived. The actions in the film could just as accurately be linked to the killing duo of Henry Lee Lucas and Otis Toole.
(Dr. Katherine Ramsland writes an excellent piece on team murderers on CrimeLibrary.com:)
In fairness, Chaos is written as a man who considers himself above all others, an attitude shared by Gaskins. In his 2003 biography, “Final Truth” by William Earl, Gaskins is quoted as saying, “I have walked the same path as God, by taking lives and making others afraid, I became God's equal. Through killing others, I became my own master. Through my own power I come to my own redemption.” (Gaskins died in the electric chair on September 6, 1991.)
Chaos opens with a few paragraphs on abduction, and states that the film’s graphic nature is intentionally meant to educate parents and potential victims. In that vein, it deserves credit for opening some eyes. This is not a film that anyone watches while munching popcorn and trying to scare his date into cuddling. Instead, Chaos is a film that uses graphic violence and an abundance of anger to prod itself directly into the unsafe and uncomfortable places of viewers’ psyche.
Chaos has a lot to its credit, including driving critic Roger Ebert to write an essay, “What Place Does Pure Evil Have in Films?”, advising viewers to avoid the film due to its brutality.
The DVD includes the filmmakers’ response to Roger Ebert’s essay, as well as a tour of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Crypt, and commentary tracks from the somewhat defensive director and producer.
In all, Chaos is credible as a view into a brief but horrific series of events and the dangers of a psychopath on the fringe of society. The film will undoubtedly suffer from its ease of categorization, though the filmmakers have launched an Internet campaign to build its popularity. The Director’s Cut DVD was released on September 26th, 2006.