Porn of the Dead: Necrophilia, feminism and gendering the undead

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZombies Are Us: Essays on the Humanity of the walking Dead
EditorsChristopher M. Moreman, Cory James Rushton
Place of PublicationJefferson, NC
PublisherMcFarland and Company
Pages40-61
ISBN (Print)9780786459124
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2011
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Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Erotic Nights of the Living Dead (1980) may have featured both animated corpses and hardcore sex scenes, but only recently have Re-Penetrator (2004) and Porn of the Dead (2006) managed to fully eroticise the living dead, allowing these creatures to engage in intercourse. In doing so, the usually a-subjective zombie is allotted a key facet of identity - sexuality. This development within the sub-genre needs accounting for outside of the contexts of porn studies, where it has only been briefly touched upon in relation to its "extremity". Moreover, the gendering of the undead opens a discussion which expand the horizons of zombie studies away from the overt critiques of capitalism, race and psychoanalysis that have pervaded analyses of these narratives. The dichotomy of binary oppositions so often associated with psychoanalytic approaches dictates that "passive (non-phallic) = female", and "active (phallic) = male". In these terms, the zombies are feminine - soft-bodied and passive, despite their murderous intent (which has been accounted for, by Barabara Creed (1993) amongst others, by invoking the vagina-dentata motif). Humans (active) are deemed masculine, not least since they tend to dispatch zombies with "phallic guns". Taking this logic to an extreme, the zombie may be read as allegorising feminism: the "feminised" figures (zombies) become fearsome in their will to exert themselves despite their seeming disempowerment in the face of "masculine" hegemony. Ultimately, by grouping together as a force, they overthrow or at least significantly damage that "normality" (an ideological paradigm usually read in terms of race, class and economics).