“I need this like I need a hole in the head.”
For most of us, that’s just a figure of speech. No matter how bad things are, most things would be preferable to someone drilling a hole into our skulls. Notice I say “most.” You got it–there’s a small group of people who think trepanning, or drilling holes into their skulls, is a fantastic idea. Thus comes tonight’s Friday Night Movie, A HOLE IN THE HEAD (1998).
The documentary opens with the shocking image of a young woman filming through a mirror as she cleans herself up after a home trepanning procedure. Then we get into the history of trepanning, which was used in history as a “cure” for everything from tumors to demonic possession. “People either survived the procedure, or they didn’t,” one particularly observant historian stated.
The filmmakers assume that, if you made it through that first image of a bloody woman talking into the mirror, you can make it through watching a modern day trepanning procedure within a Kenyan tripe using a knife, warthog fat, and strips of banana leaves.
Cut to the most recent trepannation patients. While one had hers done due to a cranial injury, most did so in order to increase “brain pulse” and achieve a sense of euphoria. The procedures to achieve the desired hole in the head are varied, from those performed by actual medical doctors, to those using power tools at home.
It would have been a much better documentary if it provided both sides of the trepanning argument. While it had plenty of people singing the praises of self-trepanning, it would have been a lot better to include, say, a doctor or two, to explain why this is a horrible idea. As it is, it watches as a weird infomercial for self cranial surgery.
Although it should go without saying, no one here at TNB support or recommend people drill holes into their own skulls. We also do not support anyone drilling holes into their friends’ skulls.
That being said, A HOLE IN THE HEAD is right up there in the category of Dumpster Fire Documentaries you can’t turn away from:
Question of the night: what’s the strangest thing someone has tried to sell you?