Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 13: I'm Charles Manson of the information age!

When it comes to horror/gore films, the Japanese always find a way to keep me entertained. With some of the most captivating horror movies such as Ichi the Killer, Gozu, and one of my personal favorites Marebito, I never know what to expect when I rent a new film. Well It's been several years since I have seen a particular film, but I feel that it's worthy enough to share in a manner that I will blog about it to the nonexistent crowd that reads Coffee Hound Yak. "Suicide Circle" is a film based around teenage obsession with online fads and shows how a world of online cults can drive teenagers to commit suicide for a vague cause. As the mass suicides grow, a team of detective decided to make it their personal duty to find the cult and end the suicides.   

The more interesting part of this film is the depiction of suicide and the mannerisms of how its gone about in the film. For the naive out there, Japan has always been a culture that is strongly associated with suicide. From seppuku which was the Japanese form of ritual suicide done to die with honor when defeated, to internet suicide pacts where people contemplating suicide on a public forum convince each other into a group suicide, it has always been an aspect of Japanese culture. Just another small fact; suicide by train is so common in Japan that there now new stations that have 5 foot barriers that block passengers from the railway till the train comes. Well back "on track", the movie depicts several gruesome scenes of suicide which are quiet interesting. 

First uniquely interesting scene are depicts high school teens who pact together at their lunch break on the roof of their school to jump off. At first starting as a childish joke, the teens mess around with the concept of the "Suicide Club" after conversation about the recent deaths. The dialog following is simple.
School Boy 1: Let's kill ourselves! 
School Girl 1: Yeah, I'm in! 
School Girl 2: Not me. 
School Girl 3: The Suicide Club! 
School Boy 1: Let's get enough people to beat 54! 100! Let's get 100! 
School Boy 2: We'll pass out flyers. 'Join our Suicide Club.' 
School Girl 4: 'Come die with us!' 
School Girl 5: 'Let's shed blood together!' 

School Girl 6: Come watch me kill myself! 
Students gather in a line across the side of the high school while holding hands and prepare for the jump. One, two, three....and with the last swing of the arms, the kids go off the building and into the court yard of the school except for three traumatized students whom had not jumped. One girl, confused and lost in the moment, grabs the only guy still standing on the ledge. Against his will, she pulls him off the ledge with her. Students and teachers run to the roof top only to be greeted by the remaining suicide club member. She proudly announces that they are the charter members of the suicide club before leaping to her own death. Looking at this from a cultural perspective, it's interesting to see how this group of kids form together to do something a major as end their life, all over a fad. Past that, how one girl goes on to say they are the charter members for this non-existent club. It's light shining on the influence of fad culture and it's effect on the young population.

Another intriguing scene is during the next group of people who commit suicide, except this time it is all around Tokyo. People are pill popping, hanging themselves, and using gas stove ovens as their method of departure, but those weren't the strange ones. First is a woman who goes on from cutting a vegetable to cutting into her fingers and hand while her daughter witnesses the act. Then there is the duo on stage who at the end of their act kill themselves. Simply a demonstration of how common suicide is in Japan.

Lastly there is the fake suicide cult led by an interesting character named "Genesis". He leads a pack of high school cast outs who hide out in an abandoned bowling alley riddled with animals and people that are tied up in white bags. Among their obvious domination fetishes and need for cult fame, there are depictions of the popular Japanese crushing fetish (look it up) which are thrown into the mix, playing to the overall theme of the power of a fad. I would love to go into description of the scene, but I feel that watching it is an experience in itself.

Overall, this one one of the strangest movies I have seen and one of the few which I have actually bothered to buy on DVD. Also, don't forget to checkout the previously mentioned films for a "super, extra, crazy fun time".... For me...I still need to watch "Human Centipede"

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