There are places in this world that can give us chills just thinking about but, at the same time, they open up in us a small glimmer of curiosity that pushes us to think what it would be like to be there. A bit like what happens with horror tourists who – instead of the classic relaxing holiday – prefer to visit macabre locations and have experiences bordering on the normal. The Netflix documentary series – which ended five years ago – is based on this Dark Touristproduced by New Zealand journalist David Farrier.
His whole journey begins with a fundamental question: how can the male in different cultures? What is – actually – the terror? To answer David decides to lower himself – with a large dose of sarcasm and skepticism – in the most macabre places and cultures that there are, for every geographical area of the world. Each episode, lasting 50 minutes, is in fact dedicated to a specific area and divided into three different themes.
So in his journey David shows us how evil can have a thousand facets, from a house inhabited by vampires to a tour dedicated to a mad killer like Jeffrey Dahmer, worshiped as an idol by a women’s club. In the first episode, the journalist takes us to explore the places of Mexico, addressing one of the most recurring themes: that of death. An idea which in Western culture is often rejected and exorcised but which instead – in some populations – has become an integral part of culture and everyday life so much that it is celebrated once a year, as for the Holy death in Mexico.
In how many ways and in how many forms can evil be expressed?
Whether it’s exhuming an embalmed corpse, walking through a forest with a very high suicide rate, or participating in tours dedicated to notorious killerseach culture shows its own way of looking closely at, and often adoring, what in our society we define frightening o creepy. But what David, and so do wewe keep asking ourselves is how a horror holiday can be preferable to a classic relaxing holiday.
In the series we not only find mummies, blood and murders: David also tells us about a different type of fear, much more everyday and pragmatic, that of the tight controls of repressive governments. Thus we arrive in Turkmenistanprecisely in Ashgabat, known to be one of the most isolated and repressive regimes in the world like North Korea. A place where all the journalists who have tried to express their opinion have been captured and made to disappear into thin air, as if they had never existed. A very current type of horror, but one we never hear about adequately.
If in fact – as we have already said – the fulcrum of the whole Dark Tourist is going to analyze the various facets of evil, however this is not the only great goal. The whole series – from the first episode – makes a great criticism of all those governments that try to hide aspects awful of their country. In fact, more than once David manages to highlight – even if never openly – how they can check e shape the minds of their citizens. For example, let’s talk about Japanwhere there are sites with very high radiation that are reported as healthy or in Turkmenistan, where David will be constantly followed by an ”escort” and his video camera, always on.
A vampire birthday can be funny when approached with a touch of sarcasm
The journalist is completely open to trying everything that can be proposed to him, almost, to immerse yourself as much as possible in a largely incomprehensible reality for a simple westerner. The thing that seems to touch him the most seem to be unjustified abuse of animals. For many cultures, in fact, butchering meat is something that is part of everyday life, unlike us who are used to finding everything ready in supermarkets. However, the problem arises when men – some due to their own traditions, some because they are used to lives much harder than ours – do not pay attention to the suffering of the animal world, almost enjoying their suffering.
Central throughout Dark Tourist they are also there character facets of David who never misses an opportunity to be sarcastic in the face of situations bordering on credible. We are reminded of the episode in which he ends up at a birthday party surrounded by vampires, or rather: a group of people who are convinced they are. It certainly succeeds elicit more than a laugh from the audience, while maintaining a certain demeanor and respect for those involved. According to him, more than lords of the night, they are just men looking for an element that can unite them. It is appreciable to note how David Farrier never makes fun of the public and indeed, openly shows his skepticism of him, as during the exorcism of Jeffrey Dahmer.
When horror turns into social glue for ambiguous people
The one of Dark Tourist it is a series that leads us to live – even if not in the first person – very distant and often experiences incomprehensible for our culture. Thus, from the forest of suicides in Japan to the reenactment of Nazism in Germany, David teaches us how horror and evil can have a thousand different faces and forms. At the end of his journey, our journalist will not find a real answer to his initial question – what can make a horror holiday preferable to the others – but he will understand that, in the end, horror he is often alone a great social glue.