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Das Experiment

Do you like Germans? Do you like the boyfriend from Run, Lola, Run? What about unethical psychological experiments from the 1970's? Well then this film is for you.

Das Experiment (The Experiment, if you are unfamiliar with life), chronicles the story of a bunch of 30 year old German guys who volunteer for a scientific study on prison behaviors. Stanford already did it, but the study was cut short because things went batshit insane (true story). So this is supposed to be a what-if situation, as in: what if the experiment reached it's conclusion? What if Zimbardo hadn't pussed out, and continued the thing? Well, mostly people would speak a lot of German, pee on each other, walk around naked, and attempt rape. Also, Nazis are only mentioned like twice, which is negative bones.

The tension of the movie comes from the one Nazi-esque guy, whose name escapes me at this time. He's blond though, and you can tell he's crazy because he is an airplane steward and has very gelled hair. Hitlerian, in general. So Nazi Guy takes over among the designated guards and decides to fuck around with everyone. Eventually, things get (mostly) out of hand and the guards kidnap the researchers. I work in a research lab, and let me say, that would suck. But not likely to happen, as my project only involves filling out a 15 minute survey on a computer.

I think the whole psychological effect of the study was the most interesting part of the film. When the main character gets thrown into a sensory deprivation box, you can just feel the fear and claustrophobia of the character. The way the characters just started falling into the roles and following what they thought was expected of them was very accurate as well. In the real study, they had to stop because the guards were emotionally abusing and humiliating the prisoners. In the film, the Nazi guy takes over and everyone starts to follow him, even when he started to Hitler it up.

The one problem I had was that somehow, these German researchers were able to get this study approved. It's so unethical; you can't do this kind of thing anymore. Yes, yes, I know, it's a movie. But still! It makes me slightly nervous that the Germans apparently have no review board to approve or throw out research proposals. There is just no way you would get away with that. The psychological world would be pretty pissed when the results came out. Although the paper would be pretty interesting: "Yeah, the patients kidnapped us. There was piss everywhere and I got shot in the eye. See, psychology can be fun! It's not just Freud and sexuality. There's murder and urination, too!"

Anyway, watch it on Netflix instant. This is my main source for foreign horror right now, so I'm sure I'll have to wade through a lot of crap to get to the gold. But this I do for you, my audience.


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