Truly Bad Films

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fake Bodies Just as Gross as Real Ones

Yesterday, Discovery Channel ran three shows in a row on the Kennedy assasination. I couldn't figure out why they chose to run them yesterday, but in the third show they were trying to prove that the Magic Bullet didn't need to be magic to cause seven wounds in two people. In order to demonstrate that one bullet could pierce Kennedy and wound Connally three times they went to Australia. There they had two torsos made to the specifications of Kennedy's and Connally's bodies by a company called Anatomical Surrogate Technologies.

This company does some really creepy work. They make an aspic-colored polymer that exhibits the properties of human flesh when hit by a bullet. They build artificial torsos and legs to see what happens when they come into contact with land mines and hand grenades. For the Magic Bullet investigation, they created two torsos with artificial but very real looking skin, muscle, ribs, vertebrae, and various cords in the neck to represent all the heavy tendons and gristle that generally hold one's head in place. Once they got their torsos bolted down and their gunman up on a crane, the results were almost identical to what happened in Dealey Plaza.

The whole thing had this gruesome I-cannot-look-away quality, even though it was much less exploitative and disgusting than that Oliver Stone movie. JFK showed the kill shot so many times, it came across as nothing but a high-dollar snuff film. Since the Discovery program focused on a shot that came before the coup de grace, and one the Zapruder film didn't fully record, it sucked me right in as a real life mystery. And then I got all oogy looking at the fake bodies. It's a good thing the world doesn't need me for a nurse . . .


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