Deadgirl is another movie which shows the objective representation women. In a way, it can be related to The Autopsy of Jane Doe because there are some similarities. For example, they are women who seem helpless under the hands of the men. In a sense, like Robin Wood has said, they are being repressed by a patriotic society.
Although deadgirl is considered repressed in the movie, other characters in the movie were also repressed in their own way. The characters in the movie were high school students, guys who are in their adolescent stage and are craving madly for sexual intercourse. Obviously, the stereotypes were strongly represented in the school. It doesn’t help that those who discover deadgirl are the guys who are considered as nobodies or losers in the school who had no girlfriends and “aren’t getting any”. Deadgirl was supposed to be the monster of the film but instead, it felt like the real monsters were the guys, especially J.T.. It disgusts me that they were desperate enough to have sexual intercourse that they considered and were even willing to have sex with deadgirl, who wasn’t even clean and in addition, she wasn’t alive. It left me questions like: Weren’t they the slightest bit creeped out that deadgirl was practically dead but was still functioning? Weren’t they disgusted? Is their urge to have sex really that great that they are using deadgirl as a sex slave and is skipping school just to have sex.
Although I didn’t like his attitude, I liked the reaction of the boyfriend of Joann because it was similar to my reaction. He was repulsed by deadgirl and thought it was sick of them to be treating deadgirl, who is filthy, as a sex slave. He was curious of who J.T, Rickie, and Wheeler use as a sex slave but when he saw deadgirl, he found it weird unlike J.T. who only saw it as an opportunity to “smash”. But of course, portrayed as a manly dumb jock, although he was repulsed by what he saw, he gives in to peer pressure by the rest of the guys which I didn’t get because he has Joann to have sex with but instead he resorts to deadgirl, which didn’t turn out too well for him.
Again, we are shown the paradox of horror. Even though we say that movies like these are horrendous and hard to watch, we still are pulled to watch it to the end due to fascination and curiosity. In the movie we are presented with a passive monster, deadgirl, something that we can’t identify since she was just randomly found in the basement of an abandoned asylum or mental hospital. Throughout she wasn’t labelled anything and what happened to her that made her that way wasn’t explained thoroughly or wasn’t even mentioned at all. My guess is that she was experimented on by the doctors of the place and that made her that way.
Deadgirl is seen as somewhat violent at times, hence the restraints on her. After trying to kill her, or approaching her, they conclude that she doesn’t pain or feel anything at all but although at one point, I think she somehow feels something when she “saved” Rickie towards the end. However, I am not sure if that was just mere coincidence. Her movements are minimal and she seems harmless but this passive body tends to fight back and is seen in scenes like when one of the chains on her arms were destroyed. Also, when the boyfriend of Joann puts his dick in her mouth, she bites it and towards the end when she was freed, she ended up killing J.T. and everyone in the basement.
Having watched many American movies set in high school, it really puzzles me whether the way they represent the guys or the high school life itself, has some truth in it because usually, the guys are portrayed as guys always asking girls out in the hopes of getting laid. In this case, deadgirl was not enough for J.T. and Wheeler because they planned to replace her with another fresh body after learning about what happened to the boyfriend of Joann. This scene was the most satisfying part of the movie for me because I think they deserved what they got. Also, this scene depicts going against the objectification experienced by women. I think everyone expected that the woman would just get knocked out but actually, she was able to put a fight against J.T. and Wheeler. To make it worse, seeming like the good guy of the group, Rickie later on succumbs to J.T. and Wheeler’s way by making Joann his own deadgirl therefore participating in the objectification of women.
Overall, I liked the movie however repulsive it was and this proves the attractiveness of horror to its audience. We are attracted to the anomalies happening in the various movies we watch and Deadgirl is another example having an unexplainable monster found in a very sketchy setting of an abandoned mental hospital or asylum.
Andrew Tudor, “Why Horror? The Peculiar Pleasures of a Popular Genre.” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)
Noël Carroll. “Why horror?” Horror, The Film Reader (Routledge, 2002)