Episode 105. Doom Scroll: Pulse (2001) and Suicide Club (2001)

In this episode, Andrea and Alex explore two different yet eerily similar films that came out of Japan in 2001. The conversation covers where history, humanity and community end, exploring what is left in its wake and the new limitations of imagining the future.
CW: Suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones: 1-800-273-8255. 



Pulse. Dir. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001.
Suicide Club. Dir. Sion Sono, 2001.


Haunted by Leo Braudy. A wide ranging examination of horror and its tropes.
Apocalyptic Dead by Kirsten Moana Thompson. A deep dive into films at the turn of the 21st century and our fear of the future.
Too Lonely to Die Alone: Internet Suicide Pacts and Existential Suffering in Japan. Chikako Ozawa-de Silva looks at the troubling phenomenon in Japan in the early 2000s.
What You’re Feeling Isn’t a Vibe Shift. It’s Permanent Change. Elamin Abdelmahmoud’s piece for Buzzfeed on our shifting reality.
The End of History by Francis Fukuyama. The much cited piece about humanity’s (possible) end of ideology.


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2 thoughts on “Episode 105. Doom Scroll: Pulse (2001) and Suicide Club (2001)

  1. FictionIsntReal says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a horror film as overrated as Pulse. Just one damn thing after another without making any sense, and it’s not scary in the slightest. You talk about “dread” being different from “fear” because there’s nothing you can do, but that just makes everything we’re watching seem pointless. I didn’t feel dread. I just felt bored. I might just be less into J-Horror than some, since I preferred the English remakes of The Ring & The Grudge, but even the latter (still with the same director as the originals) still wasn’t actually good.

    Suicide Club is better via actually having an investigation into the behavior of actual flesh-and-blood people, although I wouldn’t rank it as highly as Cure, where there’s more of an explanation about what’s going on. I didn’t find the coughing/throat-clearing over the phone to be scary at all though.

  2. This is the only podcast where I can hear eloquent summaries of Kirkegaard and references to “The Jetsons!” (favorite line, “We’re not talking The Jetsons”). You all did (as always) a lot of digging on the research and put together many ideas in a new light. I am excited to check out some of the sources in the show notes. I appreciate how you contextualized the dawning of the Internet (I remember it but many listeners may not). I also resonate deeply with how you share the struggle of maintaining vision and some hope with acknowledgement of the shitshow we are living. Thanks as always for being a bright spot in my month!!!

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