Dead girl set new heights for what is disturbing in my honest evaluation.
Probably the closest narrative I’ve been exposed to regarding Necrophilia would be the poem of Edgar Allan Poe entitled Annabel Lee, up until I’ve seen this film at least. I don’t think I would willingly search for films depicting necrophilia even if I wanted to understand it simply because the thought of it was extremely repulsing. Carroll gives an answer as to why anyone would want to watch horror films depicting the very themes that disturbed them. Carroll suggests that our general affinity for horror, especially for those who willingly chose this course, is because of our curiosity. We enjoy uncovering these obscure themes that we might never encounter in let’s say, an academic book or even young adult fiction. We are hooked on discovering just how such a supernatural idea can come to be, without really going out of our way to research or try to experience the impossible ourselves. It’s sort of like a cheat code in a videogame. You don’t have to do the dirty work because you can just watch it unfold in front of you.
The film started out slow, introducing the two seemingly contrasting personalities of Rickie and JT up until they discovered the shackled body of a zombie woman. From there we see the divergent choices of the two regarding the zombie girl. JT, exuding a more powerful male presence in the film, obviously sees the woman as an object of pleasure, and later on, a means to fulfill his other desires: money and power. He utilized the dead girl for his own sexual desire. He then moved to making profit out of the zombie girl by inviting Wheeler to do the same deed, in exchange for money. Later on, he uses the dead girl on order to seek authority from the bullies / jocks in their school by tricking Johnny into having his penis bitten off by zombie, which creepily seemed to please her, as shown in the photo above.
Even moving past the desire for power and wealth, JT makes use of the dead girl in order to produce more “slaves” for him to make money out of. I think he might be planning to make a prostitution den out of the abandoned psychiatric hospital when he tried beat up that curvy woman from the gasoline station. And when they failed, they found Joann.
I think that Rickie’s character doesn’t stray too far away from JT’s in the sense that he also has these pleasures he desperately wants to fulfill. Even when Joann was just his schoolmate, the way he stared at her would probably warrant a restraining order if she were not his childhood friend. At this point, I would assume that Rickie’s feelings for Joann would be that of infatuation bordering on obsession rather than the fondness one would associate with love interests. I think that JT had triggered the inner desires from Rickie despite his trying to veer away from it. It was not incited, but amplified. When Rickie was seen to be touching himself, he fantasized about Joann yet he saw the dead girl in his dreams. I think this is hinting on the fact that he sees both women as objects rather than people in themselves. Yes, he is the typical good guy for not wanting to partake in JT’s business but the fact of the matter is that he did not seek help for the woman immediately after he witnessed what JT had done to her. He was concerned, but he put his own interests above the common good.
Rickie showed us this male gaze during the last few scenes of the film. Rickie is seen to be living a normal life, with a very dark secret. He made Joann into the very thing he “wanted” to save. He used her as an object, despite having “feelings” for her at the very start. One would expect that the end would show us Rickie living a normal life after having Joann brought to experts for possibly finding a cure. Jancovich suggested in his discussion about the Silence of the Lambs that there would come a point wherein “contradictions are resolved” and “incompatible elements are tied together” but this does not hold true for this specific film. We are presented a problematic resolve, in the form a criticism of the male gaze, with respect to the portrayal of the “good guys” in the films of today.