Are you the type of person who enjoys necrophilia and the objectification of women? Ever fantasize watching your “homies” ravaging an undead woman’s corpse, even pressuring them to receive pleasure from it? See yourself dropping out of school to live in the basement of an abandoned asylum pretending that a zombie is a sexual object that you can do anything – and I mean anything – with? If any of the previous statements seem attractive, then Deadgirl (2008) is the perfect horror movie for you! No, seriously, this movie is absurd to the point that you say, “What the heck am I even watching?” every ten minutes or so.
Whenever you think horror films, you always think about the usual elements that scare the living hell out of you. You think ghosts, serial killers, psychopaths, and mythical creatures when you recall the things that scare you in these types of films. Deadgirl distinguishes itself from these archetypal elements of the horror genre by eliciting a disturbing thought in its viewers. The movie shows just how sick and twisted the human person can potentially be.
The movie follows the story of, Rickie (Shiloh Fernandez) and JT (Noah Segan), two best friends who wander into a basement with a, as the movie title suggests, “deadgirl.” From the get-go, JT seems to want to do deviant deeds to the girl, as he stays behind with her while Rickie found it weird, to say the least. It reaches the point where JT gets obsessed with the control he has over the girl (especially since she was literally tied up), and sets-up shop there, installing a couch, among other pieces of furniture. To make matters worse, the movie ends with the complete corruption of Rickie, as he follows JT’s footsteps and gives the girl of his dreams the same treatment.
Now, what in the name of all that is good would make directors Harel and Sarmiento even think that this is remotely close to the kind of film that we would enjoy? The beauty of it is in how irrefutably repulsive the movie is. With its central theme of necrophilia and objectification of women for control, the movie grounds itself in ideas that are unthinkable to the human consciousness. No one in their right mind would do the things Rickie and JT did in the film. But, even if I say this, some people still watch (and enjoy) films such as these. In Andrew Tudor’s “Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre,” he explains how such despicable acts actually satisfy those who watch because of how they unabashedly bring up such taboo topics. In a regular conversation that is held on a day-to-day basis, I am willing to bet significant body parts that topics such as necrophilia, are seldom, if not, ever discussed. It’s an act that is executed and word that is used with much interest only by the sickest and vilest of human beings. But, the human being experiences pleasure in the surfacing of this taboo theme, as Tudor notes from Creed in his article that, “Our pleasure in horror, then, is a ‘perverse’ desire to confront such images of the abject and ‘also a desire, having taken pleasure in perversity, to throw up, throw out, eject the abject (from the safety of the spectator’s seat)’.”
Two parallelisms of this theme can be made to characters in the film. First are the two school jocks who end up being face-to-face with the objectified “monster.” When they first see the basement, with JT all pimped-up and a tied corpse of a woman on an uncomfortable table, they are completely repulsed. They could not believe with their eyes what was happening, as not only has the school nerd gone mad, but they are being challenged by him to have sexual intercourse with the corpse. The leader of the duo didn’t want anything to do with the corpse, but then his friend was suddenly very excited by the thought of having intercourse with the easily-controllable entity. As sick as his friend first saw the scene, he succumbed, having intercourse with the girl without much persuasion from JT and the gang. The second is in the form of Rickie, who at first could not believe with his eyes how insane his best friend was. He tried convincing JT that what he was doing was wrong, and even attempted freeing the poor girl from the predicament she was in. Eventually, as mentioned, when the circumstances were in his favor, he got into the act of necrophilia, having intercourse with the now-undead girl he had a huge crush on. Both of these characters show similarities to those who enjoy horror films such as Deadgirl. At the start, the idea of such inhumane concepts push them away. But, slowly and slowly, the thought that such concepts are talked about so openly draw their attention to them and eventually pleasure them.
Honestly, I appreciate how the movie can actually bring about such critical thought about the minds of those who come face-to-face with the unthinkable. Although I was repulsed throughout the entire duration of the movie, I actually thoroughly enjoyed thinking about its major themes after reading why such horror films exist.
Andrew Tudor, “Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).