Dark Matters: Terrible But “True”
It’s been a very, very busy few days. On Wednesday I finished my first year at university, moved into my beautiful, beautiful flat which everyone I know is absoloutley sick of hearing about or being dragged to so I can give them tea on the lawn, and generally done a lot of running back and forth and being a little nervous that my new roomate has an ice axe. I’ll just be doing the dishes then, will I? Yes. Thought so.
But you’ll be glad to hear that all these wonderful things have not gotten in the way of my overriding cynicism and general loathing for the world (although I imagine I’m the one at the centre of most powerful loath-storms in history, having selected the computer with the most clattery keys in the library and merrily tapping away as though there’s not eight people considering throwing me through a bookcase), so I’m here today to discuss the glorious magnificence that is Dark Matters: Twisted But True.
I actually watched this show back-to-back while studying for my exams, stunned into blogular silence by the sheer, crushing enormousness of everything that was wrong with the show, yet curiously unable to articulate it or curb my enthusiastic enjoyment of the absurdity. It’s a sublimely awful bit of television; narrated by the sonorous thesp John Noble, it tells ridiculous tales of scientific experiments gone wrong and the like. Think The Men Who Stare At Goats as realised by Hammer Horror.
Either Noble has completely given up on his career altogether or he understands how fucking insane most of what this show dredges up is. Some of it, I happen to know, being a conspiracy theory nut, comes with an element of moderate scientific background to it, while most of the stories are hilariously crass reconstructions of events that barely happened in the first place. Take thier representation of what happened in the French town of Point-Saint-Espirit (Noble getting his mouth around the French pronounciation is a delight, by the way), where a batch of bad bread, presumed now to have been contaminated with the hallucinogenic fungus Argot, poisoned 250 people and caused mass hallucinations all over town. But no: according to Dark Matters, it was for certain a CIA field experiment gone wrong, and here are the reconstructions to prove it: a woman being chased by poorly designed CGI wasps, a man screaming in weakly articulated horror as his hands appear to catch fire, the entire village overrun with terrifying visions of the Rapture. The Rapture, featuring confused actors doing crap French accents.
But I love it. I do. It’s completely silly and over-the-top, but it has managed to crawl into my head and peel back that disturbingly large part of me that secretly loves conspiracy theories and would happily spend several days gurgling with pleasure while an ex-Lord of the Rings actor told me about them. It’s a terrible, terrible, womderful programme; I’m more conflicted about it than I was about illustrating it by using a metaphor about losing my virginity. But that’s fine. Because it struck me watching the last few episodes that the whole thing probably only exists in my own head and therefore I’ve become a conspiracy theory myself, thus bringing he experiment to an end. Have to dash now as I’m getting some sideways glances from a suspicious-looking man sitting opposite me and I really don’t fancy my cha