Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Monday, February 25, 2013

AOKIGAHARA FOREST - WORLD'S HOT SPOT FOR SUICIDES

TRUTH IS STRANGER THAN FICTION (WARNING: DISTURBING IMAGES)




Taking a small break from the movies I've got coming up which includes a slew of zombie movies plus some neat looking foreign movies I checked out a couple of real strange phenomena that is better, or should I say worse, than any horror film. Because reality sucks, it really does. 

First, let's take a look at the second most popular spot in the world for suicides (the first is the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco), a forest in Japan. I mean people come from all over just to die there. They even have people whose job is to regularly go in to remove the bodies. No joke. Most hang themselves but a few overdose. Few change their minds and come back out. At the beginning of the trail there's even a sign in Japanese and English begging people to reconsider and get help rather than become one of the yearly grisly finds - usually a bit over 100 per year.

I'm talking about Aokigahara Forest, also known as the Sea of Trees or Jukai, that lies at the northwest base of Mount Fuji in Japan. It's called Sea of Trees because from the mountain looking down it's like a green sea and it's that way all year around. The forest has a historic association with demons in Japanese mythology. Some blame a book written about it in the 1960's about a young couple who kill themselves there, but actually the legend of this forest is centuries old, as is the history of suicides. 

If you Google Japanese suicide forest, you'll find a video that is both chilling and fascinating. It is an interview and walk-along with a geologist who has been patrolling the forest for decades and is more interested in the makeup of Mt. Fuji and the forest than the gruesome sights that sometimes are found by him. The camera follows him - there is ribbon on trees everywhere - it's how people mark where they're going and how to get out. He says those are the ones that are not quite sure about doing the deed.

He finds an abandoned camp site that's been there a while, a tent pitched in the center of the trail with someone inside (alive) and he tries to talk to the man inside about staying alive and going back to his family. And a little further on, a disarticulated skeleton is indeed found (disarticulated simply means it's fallen apart). It has fallen from the noose and has been reduced to bones. He estimates it probably has been there at least a year. That's how it is unfortunately, it's not his first and is far from his last. This is not the picture, it's of another unfortunate visitor who never left.

Ever feel alone, unwanted, like if you disappeared no one would care? In this age of computers, smart phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc. that sounds pretty unlikely although it does happen. In England, a woman who was a beautiful, talented woman with many 'friends' and lovers dropped out of sight with no one to look for her. She was dead in her apartment for three years before they broke in to evict her. What was left of her was in front of the TV, which was still on, wrapped Christmas presents all around her. In the movie Dreams Of A Life which tries to explore just how this could have happened, it was just as clueless at the end as at the beginning. She had friends. She had family. She had lovers. And yet when she 'disappeared' not one of them bothered to search for her? It couldn't have been that hard, her flat was in her name, there had to be records somewhere of where she was.


They interview the friends and lovers and I have to tell you, they kept saying they were 'shocked' 'sad' and 'I can't believe it' but they somehow didn't ring true. And if she was murdered, it is now impossible to tell. Since she had asthma, it is a theory that an attack caused her death but they will never know. I think I felt worse for the poor woman than her 'friends' claimed to. It was brutal. It was unnecessary. It was real life at its worst.