In the previous blog entry, I’ve talked about how Carroll explained that through a paradox in our psychology, we are attracted by the disgusting. And probably among all the movies I have watched so far, Deadgirl is by far the most grotesque and disturbing thing I have ever laid my eyes on. And weirdly enough, rather than not talk about it ever again, I found myself sharing the experience with my friends outside of class afterwards. There was something fun and entertaining explaining to others how gross and disturbing the film was. This is what I love about horror movies, that despite it trying to scare us away it is this element about the genre that makes us beg for more. However, what makes horror movies scary? Usually, the source of fear and discomfort comes from the monster, the supernatural being which is central to the movie’s plot. In this movie however, rarely did I feel fear towards the monster of the movie, deadgirl itself, but rather from the main characters of the film: T.J., Wheeler, and Rickie.
The movie begins with your average high school delinquents cutting class to goof off and venture around an abandoned building. The scenes from this portrayed the teenage innocence of the main characters as they only really wanted to have fun. However this lighthearted atmosphere would soon become heavy as T.J and Rickie discover a naked body of a girl tied up in the building’s basement. At first glance, the girl was obviously alive and breathing but something seemed really off right from the get-go. She wasn’t responding to words or even reacted when T.J poked her with his finger. It may have produced some sense of terror when the 2 finally discovered her but what really ended up disgusting us was that T.J. decided to rape the girl before setting her free. Rickie was powerless to stop his best friend and instead left T.J. to freely commit his heinous act.
The next time we come back to the basement, we discover that this girl is indeed already undead, a zombie, as T.J. shot the body and still it continued to breath. Rickie’s perspective of the deadgirl gradually changed. Before he may have felt guilty for allowing T.J. to take advantage of her but now since he found out that the body was already dead, he allowed his friend to keep it as his personal sex slave. As time passed by, it was obvious that the monster of the film was no longer the deadgirl but rather T.J. Himself. He was so consumed by lust and power that him and Wheeler even kidnapped Joann in order to turn her into a zombie. In the end evil triumphed over good as Rickie ended up converting Joann into his own deadgirl. Even our supposed knight in shining armor had his desires and limits, which was his lust for Joann.
Tudor explained in his article “Why Horror? The peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre” that horror gives us pleasure because it allows us to express and release our repressed emotions. And I believe that the movie was an expression of some really, really dark repressed feelings. We understood at some level how T.J. eventually became the monster because the deadgirl allowed him to satisfy his dark cravings of lust and power without consequence. T.J. was considered a lost cause, a loser with no future by people in his community. Even he himself acknowledged it and by giving him his own personal sex slave, he felt more powerful than ever before as it allowed him to release all his repressed desires. Although the movie still manages to be the most disgusting and repulsive thing I’ve watched with scenes involving dicks being bitten off, puss oozing out of holes, and even intestines violently bursting out of buttholes, it was still attractive in a sense that it pleased our dark side. The film was a reminder of what could potentially happen when a person is allowed to express these repressed desires without restraints. It proves that sometimes the scariest and terrifying monsters are not that of the supernatural but instead closer than we think. It maybe inside all of us, a beast feeding off our repressed desires, waiting for the perfect opportunity to manifest itself when given the chance just like what happened to the film’s protagonist, Rickie.
Andrew Tudor, “Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002).