Article Title:LA Zombie, Harm and the Christian Right
Author or Credit:Craig Young
Published on:11th May 2011 - 12:38 pm
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Story ID:10342
Text:Francois Sagat in LA Zombie According to the Christian Right, LA Zombie has some nebulous 'relationship' to necrophilia, which is illegal in New Zealand. However, closer scrutiny may surprise us. How so? Well, in his reply to an inquiry from a New Zealand Herald journalist seeking SPCS' position on its review submission to the OFLC, SPCS President John Mills argues that he isn't antigay, but " a radical minority who are seeking to promote this type of [film] material which has to be attempting to set a new low, pushing way beyond the boundaries of reasonablenes. (sic) This film needs to be judged as not [as a valid form of] “freedom of expression” but injurious to the public good. For the sake of political correctness New Zealanders have become pressured into agreeing that anything goes, just as long as it does not hurt others. If we had not lost our senses of what will be harmful, we would not even need to be having the discussion [over this film]." Very well. Let us examine how this film might 'harm' the general public. I would note that nowhere does Mills specify what this alleged "harm" criterion might be. However, I imagine that it might well point out that like pedophilia and zoophilia, necrophilia is one of the objectionable grounds included in the Films Publications and Videos Act. It might also refer to Section 150 of the Crimes Act 1961 Now, it is indeed the case that Section 150 of the Crimes Act 1961 contains a clause about "dishonouring human remains." I would surmise that it is probably elastic enough to deal with the sexual use of corpses. There's just one problem with this surmise, which is that Section 150 has never been invoked in this context, so this particular paraphilia has generated no perpetrators and resultant case law, potential illegality aside. From what I can make out from accounts of this paraphilia, it seems to primarily consist of heterosexual women who 'take advantage' of 'attractive' male corpses in funeral parlours, due to postmortem bulges in the latter's pelvic region caused by the processes of rigor mortis. (See the account of Karen Greenlees, below). Still, while it was a sentient being, the corpse in question probably didn't consent to being used on this manner, and there are still strong attendant cultural taboos on tangible sexual contact with cadavers. However, there are laws that cover altruistic postmortem organ donation and consent for posthumous medical and scientific research. In our own national context, Maori have particular concerns about retrieval, sanctity and proper burial ceremonies for ancestral human remains that also need to be respected. That's the current status of New Zealand law. However, some problems arise in this context. How can LA Zombie be said to "cause" necrophilia, given that there is no criminal case law to substantiate this? If there are no perpetrators or affected cadavers present in legal accounts, then where is the evidence of "causality" in this context? And it should also be noted that Bruce LaBruce makes it quite obvious that this is an example of horror fantasy. Francois Sagat's character is a schizophrenic homeless gay man and subject to auditory and visual hallucinations that he is a blue-skinned alien zombie doing the deed with corpses of attractive men. This is the crux of the matter- this is a fusion of horror fantasy and the adult erotic entertainment genres. In themselves, both are legal in New Zealand if (as usually occurs) they are provided with an R18 certificate, as clearly, they are unsuitable for children. Speaking of harm to children, however, I'd also like to point out that according to their recent annual reports, much of the Office of Film and Literature Classification's current work deals with the prohibition and interdiction of child porn. In distracting attention from this imperative task of child protection, it may well be the Christian Right and SPCS that is indirectly causing harm to children through diverting staff and time away from this vital core responsibility. However, most adults do have the intellectual development to comprehend that clearly, LA Zombie is a fantasy film. Except some pro-censorship social conservatives, it appears. Recommended: Office of Film and Literature Classification: LA Zombie: Aril Aggrawal (ed) Necrophilia: Forensic and Medicolegal Aspects: Baco Raton: CRC Press: 2011. D. Gareth Jones: Speaking for the Dead: Cadavers in Biology and Medicine: Aldershot: Ashgate: 2000. Mary Roach: Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers: New York: WW Norton: 2003. See also: Jim Morton: "The Unrepentant Necrophile": SPCS: Craig Young - 11th May 2011    
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