We all have a fascination with death. We all wonder what lies beyond, what will happen when we close our eyes that final time. Will it be black, nothingness, the end? Or will we find our way to the Pearly Gates to meet God, The Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus, a quick chastisement for fondling the neighbour’s dog last year and then eternal life, endless pleasure and the neighbour’s dog again. If my head was stuck a little bit further up my arse, I’d call this “pretentious twaddle”. As it is, I’ll just call it “utter bollocks”. No point trying to hide it, the real reason people watch stuff like Autopsy: The Documentary is because they’re ghouls.
There really isn’t that much to say about Autopsy. Three guys – Dr. Thomas T. Noguchi (“coroner to the stars”), his assistant and a hanger-on – all stand round a corpse, the doctor removing bits and pieces, the assistant putting them in a bucket of water, and the hanger-on “humming” and “ahhing”. We get to see, via just two or three cameras, the heart, liver, lungs and the like pulled out and examined, chopped up in graphic detail – even the brain and spinal column – and then stuffed back into the repulsive, white body of the flabby old lady lying on the slab.
This looks just like the sort of thing you’d find on TV. All it’s really missing is the Bravo logo stuck in the top right hand corner and Grub Smith’s quirky cockney accent dubbed over the top as he makes crude comments about the bloated subject. In fact, that’s what this movie needs; narration. Imagine how much this would benefit from the smarmy, self-righteous philosophies of Dr. Frances B. Gross, or the reactionary gloating of Vincent Van Gore – much more interesting than Dr. Noguchi mumbling amiably about this and that under his breath.
One upside of having this on DVD, rather than some dodgy bootleg video, is that everything is so sharp and distinct, with crystal-clear picture and sound, making the act of sitting round with your weird friends, drinking beer and watching someone being sliced and diced much cleaner, much more hygienic. One downside of it though is that everything is so sharp and distinct, with crystal clear picture and sound. Basically, it’s fucking revolting, everything from the old biddy’s bright yellow stomach fat to the ultra-loud, dubbed-on “crack” as the lady’s cranium is wrenched off. We are spared a little though – the subject’s face, snatch and even nipples have been frosted out of the picture.
What exactly is this, anyway? Really, it’s hardly a “documentary”. We can’t learn anything from the mumbling Dr. Noguchi, chatting quietly with his mates rather than the audience. In that respect, it is ironic that another subtitle of this film is Voices Of Death – a much more revealing indication of Autopsy’s true nature, a cynical piece of exploitation ala Faces Of Death, Traces Of Death and Faces Of Gore (does anybody want to back my new film project, Faeces Of Death? It examines in graphic detail the underwear of fatal accident victims…). And I’m sure most of us have seen it all before, much more gruesome scenes in fact, of car-crashes, suicides, murder victims, charred remains and the like. But if you haven’t seen it before, then maybe you should go out and buy this, if only so you can die without a smile on your face.
Aka Autopsy: Through The Eyes Of Death’s Detectives, Voices Of Death