Reviewed: January, 2021
As time goes on more and digital technology makes it easier and faster to create content, we are seeing more and more low-budget documentaries about Hard Rock and Heavy Metal hitting the market. THRONE OF DARKNESS falls into that category. This is one of those ‘on-line only’ features originally intended for television broadcast. The original airdate was Tuesday, August 11th, 2020.
The British outfit Entertain Me Publishing churned out this documentary in 2020 with the bulk of it being filmed in 2018. I say ‘filmed’ but really there is very little filming that was done. The vast majority of THRONE OF DARKNESS is stock footage with slow pans of still photos. The documentary is anchored by two interviews with Ozzy where at almost age 70, looks old and frail, stuttering and muttering, suffering from lifetime of substance abuse and the onset of Parkinsons. These are less interviews and more akin to setting up a camera, asking a question and letting Ozzy ramble off topic and capture it on film.
THRONE OF DARKNESS is not horrible by any means, most of the information is technically accurate but it is what is left out is rather telling. There is no Ozzy music anywhere in this documentary. Obviously they could not get the rights to it. The soundtrack is a really poor, generic, electric guitar noise. There are two very brief clips of Black Sabbath music, but those are probably public domain from some old British TV footage. There are no pictures of any album covers. There is no live footage. There is no Heavy Metal, in fact Metal is barely mentioned at all.
The doc starts OK, they talk a bit about his early life but after Black Sabbath there is virtually no mention of his solo career.
Basically you have a documentary not about Ozzy the solo band, but about the pop culture celebrity. We get tons of footage of Sharon on the red carpet, interviews with his children, and as mentioned tons of stock footage with an ominous deep-voiced voiced narrator saying comical things like (paraphrased) ‘Ozzy drank booze and smoked weed and did drugs…’. Talking about the Osbournes TV show seems to take up about a third of the film. The same photos get shown over and over and even interview clips get shown twice even three times, broken into little sound bytes, you can almost tell where they inserted the television commercials.
The whole thrust of the film was the sensationalist aspect. Ozzy addictions and visits to rehab, Ozzy’s quad-bike/ATV crash, Sharon’s cancer, Ozzy bit a bat, Ozzy killed a dove and on and on, virtually nothing about the band, the music, the band members and so on.
THRONE OF DARKNESS runs only 55 minutes so it wasn’t too painful to sit through, an amusing distraction at best. As a life-long fan, I learned nothing new about Ozzy. I can see an average non-Metal viewer, (ie, ‘normal person) a member of mainstream TV land who only knows Ozzy from his Osbourne show antics, being quite impressed by all this madness. If I’m being charitable, THRONE OF DARKNESS is not horrible. This is only available on streaming services, which normally could really piss me off but since it is not very good, I wouldn’t buy it anyway. File this one under ‘the cult of personality’ and approach with caution.