The film DeadGirl (2008) was definitely a weird one. As we follow the peculiar story of friends JT and Rickie and their discovery of a woman’s “corpse,” we are also faced with disgust as we realize JT’s intentions with the corpse. My initial reaction with the film was repulsion given that the intercourse with the woman’s body if not rape, was definitely necrophilia. Even if she did seem to be alive, she was void of any emotion or feelings that could indicate that she was still thriving and surviving in her own skin. I think in this sense, the horror comes out of men and their need to overpower even the most helpless women. Herein lies the patriarchal trope and how in horror film cinema, women are mostly seen as sexual beings and are often victimized either by the male protagonists or the monsters or creatures themselves. For this film, I think that the monster is not the dead girl but JT and Wheeler who perpetuate this kind of behavior and think that it is okay to do it.
“Horror appeals to deep-seated, psychanalytically intelligible repressed desires… that human beings are rotten at the core, whether by nature or nurture, and that horror resonates with this feature of the human condition.” (Tudor, 1997). In the film, the repressed desires are seen in all three characters of Rickie, Wheeler and JT. The repressed desire of physical intimacy as well as dominance are seen in Wheeler and JT who crave for sex so much that they are willing to do it even with an undead girl. In Rickie, we see his repressed desires manifest in his need to ask Joann on a date even with the knowledge that she already has a boyfriend. According to Tudor (1997), the appeal of horror comes in its ability to speak to the audiences “beast” that are concealed under the guise of civilized human beings. Deep down, many of us have violent streaks even if we wish to remain pure and good. That is why at the end of the film, it was shown that Joann eventually became Rickie’s dead girl as well. He was first opposed to the idea of touching the first dead girl and even tried to help her escape at one point. However, because of his intense infatuation for Joann, he was driven to also turn her into his own dead girl.
The film is painful to watch mostly because we see the portrayal of male dominance over helpless female characters but at the same time it is strikingly accurate. I think the horror aspect also targets how women are treated in society and how easily they are objectified for their bodies and whether or not they can provide pleasure for women. DeadGirl not only disgusts its viewers but also encourages them to pull back and also look at how women are perceived in today’s society.
Reference: Tudor, A. (1997). Why horror? The peculiar pleasures of a popular genre. Retrieved from https://kapiticollege-mediastudies.wikispaces.com/file/view/why%20horror.pdf