Credit: Ryan Chang/Trafalgar Releasing
by Conor Truax Featured Film Spotlight

Rite Here Rite Now — Alex Ross Perry & Tobias Forge

June 21, 2024

Covered in paint, drawn from hell, the Swedish soft-metal-theatrical-intractable band Ghost has been ascending toward the surface of mainstream pop-cultural stardom since their 2022 album Impera and TikTok-viral Mary on A Cross from 2019. After collaborating with Alex Ross Perry on a definitive rockumentary to consolidate the band’s lore, they’ve returned again with a new, braided hybrid film called Rite Here Rite Now that combines footage from two shows at L.A.’s Kia Forum last September, supplemented with a narrative story that adds detail and plotting to their web series, Chapter.

At the outset of the film, we’re cast into space as an offscreen voice booms in flagrante delicto. Papa Emeritus IV, the current band lead, is finishing the Impera tour, after which it is expected by his mother, Sister Imperator, his father, the ghost of Papa Nihil, and tradition that he should retire. However, after two albums and two EPs, Emeritus is keen to show that he’s just getting started, and inspired, he takes the stage at the Forum with a gravitational energy intent on proving he won’t simply go away.

The film follows a push and pull between the performance and the parental drama that takes place back stage, suffused with humor, camp, and, in one instance, a sense of surprisingly earnest tenderness. In front of the audience, Papa Emeritus is guiding and invigorating; backstage, he struggles to keep the overbearing anxieties of his parents at bay.

Tobias Forge, who wrote the film’s script and performs the core members of the band’s lore, has created from inside himself an outward universe, dense with spectacle, wonder, humor, and joy. Certainly, the film will be a feast for followers of Ghost, those who relish living within the band’s carefully curated universe. But even those uninitiated to the band’s style and predilections will find plenty to enjoy in the group’s future-facing nostalgia — whether it be their steampunk aesthetic, Kiss-like make-up, or playful subversion of counter-cultural tropes so frequently deferred to time after time. Detailing any more of the specifics in a review simply isn’t necessary; Rite Here Rite Now is an experiential work that, in its grand operatic style, should appeal to viewers across a spectrum of familiarity.

DIRECTOR: Alex Ross Perry & Tobias Forge;  CAST: Tobias Forge, Maralyn Facey, Alan Ursillo, Ashley McBride;  DISTRIBUTOR: Trafalgar Releasing;  IN THEATERS: June 20;  RUNTIME: 2 hr. 25 min.