We should have known that the bizarre story behind “Tickled” wouldn’t stop with either the film’s release or its subject’s death. Months after David D’Amato — the man behind the Competitive Endurance Tickling empire that David Farrier and Dylan Reeve delve into in their compelling documentary — died, some continue to wonder: Did he really?
The two filmmakers put that conspiracy theory to rest in a new article for the Spinoff, writing unequivocally that “D’Amato has indeed died” and even going so far as to provide a copy of his death certificate. With that cleared up, however, they’re left to question how his company Jane O’Brien Media persists now that its founder has departed this mortal coil.
As with everything else related to this endlessly strange saga, the answer is as confusing as it is clarifying. Farrier and Reeve assert that a man named Louis Peluso has picked up where D’Amato left off, and though several aspects of the new Jane O’Brien have improved on what came before — the young men featured in what amount to fetish-porn videos are no longer being referred to by their full names, nor are they being harassed — Peluso hasn’t responded to the filmmakers’ inquiries with any more enthusiasm than his predecessor.
“We joked at the start of this whole thing that it was a bit like stepping into a tickling wormhole,” they write at the end of their piece, which deserves to be read in full. “What we failed to grasp at the time is that wormholes aren’t exactly short. In fact, they can go on for billions of light years.” Sounds like fodder for another documentary.