The Autopsy Of Jane Doe – Coming to EST, BLU-RAY, DVD and VOD this June – The 10 Fascinating and Extraordinary Stages Of Death
In the terrifying horror chiller THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, a pair of morticians attempt to discover the cause of death of a mysterious young woman, with a seemingly unharmed body. As the post mortem progresses, strange things are revealed that suggest something out of the ordinary is going on: as if peeling back the layers of a dead body wasn’t strange enough in the first place.
Here’s a look at what really happens when you die - the fascinating and extraordinary journey of the human body into the afterlife, and the curious incidents undertakers and morticians - and even the people that discover the bodies - have to deal with.
1. The moment of death
First things first… when your heart stops beating, that’s it. Blood stops pumping around the body to the brain and the other organs and it is game over. Brain cells begin to die about 5 minutes of this no flow. The end of life is officially recorded as the moment the heart stops for good.
2. Colour correction
Once dead, the body starts to change colour - where the blood pools there will be purple patches, and the skin turns pale as the blood drains away. After embalming the body, which firms the skin, morticians will apply make-up to a corpse to restore the skin’s normal look. A mortician in New York recalls a family insisting she use the particular make-up favoured by the deceased - and brought a bag of Chanel products to the mortuary.
3. That’s why they call it a stiff
Rigor mortis - a stiffening of the muscles - sets in a couple hours after the moment of death, with the entire body starting to stiffen up from the top - the eyelids, neck and jaw - down. This can cause the body to - brace yourself - sit up on the slab (one undertaker reports of a new assistant who, upon seeing a body rise up under its sheet, fled the mortuary, never to return). It takes a couple of days before rigor mortis fades away, after which, the body begins to decompose...
4. The final release
As the body starts to decompose, noxious gases are released. This can result in groans and moans, squeaks and twitches in the corpse. It’s not pleasant, and it doesn’t smell good, but who are we to deny the newly-deceased their last, defiant moments.
5. The sweet sickly smell of each death
If you haven’t experienced it, there is really no way of describing the smell of death. But it isn’t pleasant. The breakdown of hundreds of chemicals that make up the human body is bound to result in a unique and unsettling odour - best summed up as ‘sickly sweet’. A veteran policeman who attended numerous crime scenes is said to have always carried a packet of menthol cigarettes with him - so that if he encountered the smell, he would snap off two of the filters and plug his nostrils.
6. Animals attack
If the body isn’t whisked away to the clean and sterile environment of a morgue, flies, attracted by the corpse’s stench, will lay eggs, which hatch into maggots, which start to feast on the body. Other creatures will follow. Research facilities - pioneered in the US - called ‘body farms’ - leave corpses outside in what is effectively an ‘open air’ crime lab, in order to study decomposition. It enables detectives to establish exact timings and locations of deaths, by replicating crime scenes and gathering clues from the results.
7. Take a look inside
As the cell walls break down inside the body, the internal organs start to liquefy. The body will bloat with gas and the inside turn into a slushy mush. It almost doesn’t bear thinking about, which is perhaps why we should move on to number 8, as surely there must be something good to come out of this...
8. Youthful and worry free once more
One very unexpected - and perversely beneficial - occurrence when you die is that the skin smooths out on the face, once the muscles stop contracting. No more creases, crows feet or worry lines. It makes sense - once you have shuffled off the mortal coil, all your anxieties and stresses are immediately gone. So death isn’t all bad, is it?
9. Remember to recycle
One very curious thing that can occur, if you die, for example, in a remote location - you can turn into wax. You read that right. What happens is, the fatty tissue turns into a wax cocoon to protect the body. Perhaps it could be turned into candles to be burned at the funeral ceremony.
10. Saving the planet
Further to point 9, those of us that are concerned about the environment, bear in mind that your last act on the planet could be to help it. If you are cremated, have your ashes sprinkled on some potted plants - it’s very good for the soil. If you are buried, choose a biodegradable coffin, then you can allow your body to add nutrients to the soil (detectives looking for a shallow grave can often spot them by noticing an increase in plant life where the body has been buried). After feeding the plants, all that will remain is the skeleton. Enjoy the rest of your day.
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE IS RELEASED ON EST JUNE 19 AND BLU-RAY, DVD AND VOD JUNE 26 BY LIONSGATE HOME ENTERTAINMENT