Deadgirl and Rape Culture

Dead girl introduces Rickie and J.T. Two ordinary high school seniors. They visit an abandoned psychiatric hospital where they discover an undead girl chained to one of the beds. Rickie leaves the facility, while J.T. rapes the girl. J.T. invites another friend, Wheeler, to rape the dead girl. Rickie conspires to free her but his plans are foiled when J.T. and Wheeler catch him. Back in school, Rickie asks out Joann. Joann’s boyfriend, Johnny, and his friend Dwyer beat up Rickie and Wheeler. Wheeler lets the existence of the deadgirl slip. Wheeler then brings them to the abandoned asylum. J.T. tricks Johnny to force the deadgirl to perform oral sex, where the girl bites his penis. Johnny gets infected by the same disease the dead girl has. J.T. realizes that this is one way to make a new deadgirl. J.T. and Wheeler kidnaps Joann and tries to convince Rickie to let them turn her into a deadgirl. Rickie refuses and in the fight that ensues Joann is bitten by the deadgirl. In the last few scenes of the movie, we see that everything has gone back to normal for Rickie. He visits the abandoned asylum and we see that Joann has become the new deadgirl

Some personal opinions I had for this movie. I think that this movie was the weirdest, most disgusting movie, I have ever watched and probably will never watch again. On that note, it is also one of the movies that bring up some interesting issues that we have in society, such as rape culture.

Tudor mentions that horror films can be a source of release. Human beings are animals. We are mammals, Homo sapiens. However, what distinguishes us from animals is our ability to act as civilized human beings. Human beings have been taught by society to restrict the ‘animal’ inside. We are taught not to be slaves to our internal whims, but rather we must think with reason.

Horror films are appealing to its audiences because it does not appeal to reason, rather it shows the ‘animalistic’ side that humans normally suppress. This gives the ‘horror’ in horror films. The audience is attracted to the lack of restraint.

In the film, we can see that ordinary people, like Rickie and T.J. are like. At first, they simply watch women from afar. They do not indulge in their desires of touching and approaching these women because it is not deemed appropriated by the society they are in. However, we see that once free from this society, Rickie and T.J. change drastically. T.J. rapes the deadgirl when he was given a position of power. The same is that with Rickie. Alone in his bedroom, he is able to think of Joann as he masturbates.

Tudor also mentions that thematic themes of horror films are social concerns of its time. In this case, I believe that the film points out rape culture. This is seen throughout the movie. The girl is naked and so T.J. sees this as an ‘invitation’ for sex even though the girl did not and is not in the state to explicitly consent to sex. The same with other men in the story. It was interesting to see as well that there were many males in the story, only Joann and the deadgirl were the ‘actively present’ females in the story and they had no choice to say no. The only time we see female power is from the girl at the gasoline station, who takes on a more ‘masculine’ approach as she is able to fight back. T.J. even mentions that she was not beautiful. Rickie’s mother is not seen in the story. They even bring to light the trope of the ‘good guy’ that Rickie falls into. He appears to be a good person, he helps out Joann but in the end he is no different from T.J. and he keeps Joann in the asylum despite her request to bring her home.

I personally find it interesting how the movie spins the concept of the ‘monster’. Normally, in other horror films the monster would be the deadgirl, because she is the ‘other’ in the story and she could be vicious. However, the movie points out that the real monsters were the boys in the film. It pointed out that in certain situations, human beings could be more monstrous than the commonly portrayed ‘monster’. Personally, I found the film a terrifying reminder that even ordinary guys can turn out so monstrous given the opportunity.

So, why horror? Horror films can be a release. A source of titillation. Freedom from the restrictive society. An outlet to let the ‘beast’ out. A film as gruesome as Dead girl emulates just that. Horror film are those that gets under your skin.

Andrew Tudor, “Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).

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