Have you heard of Blackout? I dunno if it is just me that knew nothing about it before watching this at times chilling and disturbing documentary, but I certainly learned a lot in the hour and a half in the film’s company.
The basic idea is that Blackout is a fantasy situation in which all of your rights are stripped away and you are placed in a number of disturbing instances where you lose all control of what is real and what is hurting you. Now from that vivid description, you might think that no one would be foolish enough to put them through Blackout multiple times, but this film revolves around those who, whilst we might see it as Stockholm Syndrome, feel they only become alive when they give over all control.
The most interesting thing about Blackout is that it is not based around cliched things that might haunt you. Before you are accepted, they send out a questionnaire so that they can find the specific things that have caused you pain and suffering in the real world and then they adapt your adventure/torture to that. For example, one of the most interesting characters here always had a brother who was making trouble and so he went against this and tried to be a model citizen and always tried to be useful. His biggest fear is to be a disappointment and boy do the people of Blackout use this to make him feel lower and low, even going so far as to place the Blackout logo (three small dots) on his head with permanent marker, to show his failure in their world.
Another fan has a wife who is a councillor and so obviously she notices when his interest turns to obsession and has a lot to say about it, but still he cannot keep away from Blackout.
The characters herein are all genuine and very different and whilst you might not understand their love for the exercise, you will see some of yourself reflected off the screen.
Interestingly, when I told my excellent friend Paul about this, I thought I parlayed my horror, but he instantly looked at me and said “You are not going to sign up, are you?”, so perhaps they are not so twisted after all… 🙂