Coffee Rhetoric: Deadgirl

September 27, 2009

Deadgirl

It's well past 10PM, rendered speechless, I'm sitting here steeping tea but wishing I had something a bit stronger. I just finished watching a horror flick that has left an indelible stomp-print on my psyche. Not since the movie 'Teeth' have I seen such a controversial, feminist essay (of sorts) on male sexuality, the twisted and brutal ways in which misogyny plays out, and the dark recesses of a young man's imagination... told from a male perspective.
The movie Deadgirl (directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel) will continue to haunt me this evening, so I may as well read my book into the wee hours to cleanse my mental palate. I won't launch into a long winded film review, but the synopsis basically details how two high school burnouts (Ricky and JT) from dysfunctional homes and at the lower echelons of their high school's hierarchy, ditch school to hang out in an abandoned mental hospital to wreck some teen havoc. They go exploring deep into the depths of the building where JT, the more obnoxious and stronger of the two friends, stumbles upon the body of a naked and seemingly dead woman chained to a table and draped with plastic. Breath against plastic seems to indicate the woman may not be entirely dead, so Ricky suggests they take off immediately and alert the fuzz, much to JT's chagrin... he immediately has other, more sinister plans for the body. He basically demands that they keep her as a sex slave.
The woman, for all intents and purposes, is a zombie. JT (and eventually another accomplice, and then later other perps) do unimaginable things to this woman's orifices... defiling her every which way but loose. They've no interest in knowing who she is or how she got there. One or two inquiries, angrily brushed off by JT, hopped up on the power he wields within the confines of the basement. He becomes darker and more depraved in his actions toward the decomposing body, essentially acting as pimp and master perpetrator. The nameless woman twitches, she snarls, she lashes out and bites her tormentors in a feral attempt to maintain some semblance of dignity... but she never utters a word. JT and a dimwitted third accomplice, have the bright idea to try to make another zombie sex slave, and so try to kidnap a woman at the gas station, who wails on both of them, beating them down in the parking lot.
So much happens in this flick and none of it is good. This is probably one of the most original and daring zombie movies I've ever seen. It's akin to "River's Edge" maybe with a dash (just a dash) of Jennifer Lynch's disaster "Boxing Helena," in that a woman's body is over-sexualized and exploited for enjoyment. Deadgirl is scary, because it speaks volumes about male sexuality, budding male sexuality, a culture in which piggish behavior towards women is celebrated, and how women should be merely seen, poked, vacant in the eyes, dominated, and prodded. Former video model Karrine Steffans, for instance. A former zombie girl, Celebrated in a medium dominated by men, for her willingness to go limp and vacant... to be objectified and dominated while incapacitated (in the figurative sense), and then later crucified for flailing out at her tormentors once she got loose, because she wrote and spoke out loud about it, prompting her former play partners to turn into bumbling, name calling idiots. I'm still wondering why the famous men she allegedly bedded aren't held accountable for wallowing with her ... Why aren't they considered to be just as vile as Karrine's protesters consider her to be? As the aunt of two nephews, I shudder a little bit, thinking of young males coming-of-age today, and the visuals they may potentially use as a model for masculinity. Recent cases, such as the one in Pennsylvania this summer, where a lonely, middle aged man shot up an all female aerobics class before turning the gun on himself... all because he couldn't get a date with any young, attractive or prospective paramours is startling. In this cult of personality, women are nothing more than expendable jump-offs. Aging pimps are catapulted to fame, endorsed with book deals and cameos in films and rap videos.
Watching Deadgirl, I was equally struck by the zombie woman in the flick... and how wild and ferine she was... how she had to literally bite, rip, and tear herself through the sheer baseness of what was being done to her, to free herself from the humiliation... Unbelievable, yet believable because it's metaphorical for how young men view female sexuality, and how they respond or relate to it. Definitely worth watching if one can get past the controversial theme and images. Sometimes images have to be ugly in their impact.
Interesting flick. The ending even darker...