Similar to that of the Autopsy of Jane Doe, Dead Girl portrays a woman laying on a table, helpless, abandoned yet somehow possess an evil power unexplainable to mankind. Dead Girl leaves no room for ambiguity yet clearly focuses on necrophilia, rape and on men’s sexual urges and desires. This highly rated film can be seen as misogynistic that puts women into an utter shame and disgust.
Let me begin with the end. Now we know Rickie is not as good as we seem after all. Turns out he’s just as bad as all his other peers, maybe even worse when he decides to turn Joann into the new dead girl for his own and benefit (gross). He says it’s love and it is how he will save her, but doesn’t that sound absurd?!
Among all the films we had so far, this is one I had a hard time further analyzing. To put it out there, it was definitely the hardest to watch, even after Grace. It was disheartening watching all those torture and extremely uncomfortable to even begin with. But Tudors explains that “For a horror film to work, the audience must not only suspend disbelief, they have to manufacture particular kinds of belief.” We must leave the realm of fiction on its own and not always try to explain with reality. Just like how the supernatural works, we have no access to the other side and we just have to leave it to our imaginations.
We do not know exactly the nature of this creature. It looks like us, it acts like us but it is definitely not human. And I just ponder what could have happened to her after she was released. Does she survive on her own, what does she feed on and etc.
Tudor also raises the question, Why Horror. When we ask the question why, we dwell deeper into reason beyond our understanding and carefully analyzing content. He says that horror which is all about tension, fear, anxiety, sadism and masochism are overall tasteless and morbid. What a way to sell the genre right? But in all honesty, this is what keeps the viewers constantly watching such disturbing films. Somehow these feelings that put us in such awkward and uncomfortable positions are what we crave for.
Deadgirl is true to all things he says about horror. It created tension amongst the friends and caused problems when judging morality. Something that is common in our day to day life. Secondly, we fear the unknown which often gives us anxiety because of the uncertainty. And then lastly, one I would touch upon the most is the sadism and masochism tendency.
In psychology, it is said to be that those who entertain or enjoy masochistic engagements also are those who are involved with sadism. In this film, the boys have no problem hurting the girl or raping the original dead girl. Sadism and Masochism are not limited to physical pain, they can also be inflicted psychologically. This girl, though seems at first have no sense of real reaction to what is happening around but later puts the viewers into a disbelief when she spared the life of Rickie. Thus shows that she can think and proves she was also tortured mentally. But another type of sadomasochism present is that of voyeurism. Defined as “the practice of gaining sexual pleasure from watching others when they are naked or engaged in sexual activity.” So even if some of the friends have no actual fault in the situation, they still are part of this bigger sadomasochistic theme of the film.
For women viewers, or at least for in my case, movies and stories that involve rape and sadomasochism create this tension within that makes me questions the artistic value of such medium. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is necessary for the story such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo but Dead Girl was too much and too painful to watch.
Sorry for my strong bias opinion
Source: Andrew Tudor, “Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).