Wednesday, September 28, 2016

High School Zombie Sex Slaves, or I Watched Deadgirl, So You Don’t Have To

The opening scene in Better Call Saul introduces the brilliant Bob Odenkirk as the eponymous lawyer defending a trio of teen “knuckleheads” (his words) who broke into a mortuary, cut off a human head and had sex with it.  It’s a humorous scene, both because of Saul’s impassioned speech to the jury and the DA’s wordless response as he presents the jury with the video the aforementioned knuckleheads were stupid enough to make.  Now take that scene and build a movie around it and you get Deadgirl (2008), a movie that is difficult to watch and still manages to raise some interesting questions.
Deadgirl follows Rickie and JT, two high school seniors as they skip class, explore an abandoned psychiatric hospital and discover a naked zombie woman wrapped in plastic and chained to a lab table.  Rickie wants to help her, but JT’s motivations are far darker, and he’s the alpha in the relationship.  It should also be noted that the boys do not realize she’s undead, which makes JT’s initial actions even more reprehensible.  The zombie virus is passed through fluid exchange, and the movie descends into a misogynistic exploitation movie about two morons who start a zombie apocalypse by raping a zombie.
Deadgirl is described by the filmmakers as a horror comedy but it’s remarkably humorless and mean-spirited, however it raises the intriguing question of zombies having rights as former humans.  You can make the legal argument that necrophilia is technically a victimless crime or in Better Call Saul’s case, trespassing and vandalism.  Zombies can’t give consent, but then again, they’re not alive, they’re beyond consent.   It’s interesting because we have no problem as an audience seeing zombies shot in the head or dispatched with lawnmowers but the second we sexually assault one it becomes transgressive and disturbing, as if their humanity is somehow restored.
Most zombie movies deal with the initial outbreak and how fast society collapses, leaving the freedom of a Purge-style anarchy scenario where the world becomes a live-action videogame.  The breakdown of moral values comes later, a theme that has been explored to great effect in The Walking Dead and George A. Romero’s zombie movies. 
Sex and sexuality has always been an undercurrent in horror movies, and Deadgirl is reminiscent of zombie STD movies like Contracted (2013), and Thanatomorphose (2012), and the far superior ghost STD movie It Follows (2014).  If you do happen to watch this particular movie, look out for Michael Bowen, Todd’s Uncle Jack from Breaking Bad as Clint, Ricky’s mother’s boyfriend.

my first novel?  thanks for asking:)  it’s a the first book in a 4-volume supernatural martial arts series chock full of killer kung-fu witches, haunted carnivals, punk rock assassins, and a 24-hour diner with the best pie in town…
read for free on kindle unlimited or buy the paperback, available at fine bookstores everywhere (amazon).