Darien Gap, Panama

Destination 9: Darien Gap, Panama

The Pan-American Highway stretches from Cape Horn, Chile to Alaska with one 90 km break of undeveloped swampland that separates Central and South America (the Darien Gap). Among the many things that make this one of the most dangerous places on earth (travel/guided tours had been suspended due to kidnappings and political turmoil in Colombia), it is full of insects and plants that “spit poison and kill” (http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/09/darien-gap-most-dangerous-absence-of.html).

Related Film: Movie: The Day of the Triffids (1951)


While The Day of the Triffids ‘ a British B flick about carnivorous plants prone to aggressive behavior – no doubt contains themes to teach aspects of psychiatry, it is important to note that the film is referenced in the opening song (When Worlds Collide) of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).

Worlds collide in this 1975 film adaptation of Richard O’Brien’s British classic rock musical, The Rocky Horror Show (1973). Upon suffering an ill-fated flat tire in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night, Brad and Janet knock on the door of a nearby castle, hoping to use the telephone. They are subsequently imprisoned by the occupant, Dr. Frank-N-Furter, a time-traveling extraterrestrial from the planet Transsexual, of the galaxy Transylvania.

How it relates to the field of psychiatry

With just a “jump to the left,” Dr. Frank-N-Furter travels space and time to occupy a castle where his cross-dressing behavior (rule-out Transvestic Disorder) incorporates traits of sexual masochism. While it’s unclear if his creation (Rocky Horror) derives sexual gratification from being made to physically suffer (masochism), The Rocky Horror Show can be viewed as a case study of the paraphilic disorders as the film includes voyeuristic intention, frotteurism, and pedophilia (Rocky Horror has sex the day he’s born). The film demonstrates that Dr. Frank-N-Furter becomes sexually aroused by thoughts and images of himself as a female (autodynephilia), therefore placing the cross-dressing doctor at risk for developing Gender Dysphoria (DSM-5), a diagnosis confirmed with the knowledge he’s from the planet, Transsexual, the former clinical term (DSM-IV-TR) for Gender Dysphoria.

Anthony Tobia, MD. Copyright © 2017 Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. tobiaat@rwjms.rutgers.edu All rights reserved.

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