Monday, 23 May 2011

Drag Me To Hell

This is something I've been wanting to do for a while now - discuss veg*n people and characters in the media.  And not just because it gives me the chance to talk about films and books, either.

This post will contain some spoilers for Drag Me to Hell.

No one here who doesn't want to be?  Good.

Drag Me to Hell focuses on Christine Brown, an ex-farmgirl who moved to the city, lost weight, changed her accent, and, in short, totally disassociated herself with her former 'Pork Queen' identity.   Here, have a look at the trailer.

The film has something of an oral fixation, and there are fan theories that the character is bulimic or anorexic, based on several points; the aforementioned oral fixation of the film, the lingering shots on food which Christine never eats, her claim of being lactose-intolerant while suffering no ill effects from eating ice cream, and so on.

Pictured: Oral Fixation.  Image taken from here - take a look, it's a very good review.

Christine is also a vegetarian, and I don't believe that this is purely to disassociate herself from her former identity, or to keep from eating fatty foods.  The character is, generally, very soft-hearted, and it's possible that, away from the farm, which presumably had a big meat-eating culture - since, after all, she did literally win 'Pork Queen' - she felt able to stop eating cute animals. 

Much like Elle Woods of Legally Blonde - who introduces herself and Bruiser, her dog, as "Gemini vegetarians" - Christine is a nice girl.  She's kind-hearted, and the heroine.  There's a certain image that the film is going for, regarding her character, and I think 'vegetarian' is used as shorthand for this, a little bit of detail that tells us that this character has a soft side.  Note also Slap Her, She's French, in which the main character, after losing her Libby status, also outs herself as a vegetarian, a bit of trivia that seems to confirm her new-found kind manner.

My impression of Christine is that she doesn't like to make waves, which is why I suspect that she only stopped eating meat after leaving home.  I also think that her vegetarianism is coloured by this character trait.  She's soft-hearted, and doesn't want to eat cute animals, so she doesn't - but being a vegan is too weird, too unusual.  Vegans are an entirely different stereotype - a more militant, more hippy-like creature.  At least, that's the impression I get.

Christine also has a small cute pet, like Elle's - a kitten.  It seems to be another aspect of the same kind of characterisation.

On a side note, it seems odd to me that a vegetarian would keep a carnivorous pet.

In the film, Christine sacrifices her kitten.  She is also part of a ceremony in which a goat is to be sacrificed, both due to the lamiae's torment.  What do other veg*ns think of this, the idea of a vegetarian being put into a position where she must choose between eternal torment and killing an animal?

On the one hand, why should a goat or a kitten be sacrificed for Christine?  That said, she is going to hell, to eternal torment, if she doesn't.  Is the kitten going to be tormented, to take her place, or will it have a different afterlife?  If the kitten is going to eternal torment, well, why should it go instead of her (if it isn't, then, mathematically speaking, one creature in a natural afterlife is way better than another in eternal torment)?  Kitty didn't do anything, unlike that asshole Stu, or Mrs Disproportionate Retribution Ganush.  Or even that dick, Rham Jas.  If San Dena had been eagerly waiting for the chance to defeat the Lamiae - as she tells Christine when she meets her - why did she require ten thousand dollars, in advance?  My theory; Jas kept it for himself.  He also put Christine in danger by telling her only one option at a time, and not helping her nearly as much as he could have, considering he knew she was going to be dragged to hell in three days.  If he'd been given the button, he'd have had a better chance of getting out of the curse than Christine (or the poor kitty) had.

So, what do you all think? Is 'vegetarian' an easy code word for a certain kind of character? Is Christine bulimic? How should she have dealt with the curse? What happened to the kitty?


  1. I think its an easy one for them to go "look how she's changed" To go from working on a farm to then being vegetarian is quite an obvious way for them to highlight the changes in her life.

  2. Excellent point. I think you're right, it does help to highlight the rift between her old life and her new one, along with the accent and the weight.

    Speaking of changed, it just occurred to me that, not so long ago, vegetarians characters were all like Lisa Simpson or Phoebe Buffay - intellectual or hippies. It seems to have become more mainstream now.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...