“Erich Fromm divided classes of men into the necrophiliac personality and the life-loving, seeing in the necrophiliac personality the roots of war, fascism, psychopathy and destruction. The necrophiliac personality is rigid, doctrinaire, fascistic; unyielding, exemplifying the sort of architects of oblivion that dreamed up Auschwitz, wherein Mr. Fromm was interred as an inmate.
The necrophiliac personality is depersonalized from his living cohorts, is focused on the ritualism of death and funerals, goes goose-steeping off into a future where women could very well be replaced by androids. The character of Patrick Batemen, from the novel (and subsequent film) of Brett Ellis’s American Psycho, might exemplify this personality, to whom physical perfection, material objects, appearances, surface, surface, surface…is the ONLY thing that matters. Emotion is frozen in an infantile murk; there is only an aching void to fill, like an empty stomach that can never be satisfied.
I must confess to perhaps being a necrophiliac personality.
I have little idea of how to finish this little pamphlet. (Perhaps a writer should not admit that.)
Should I close with a short cultural survey of necrophiliac themes? These are endemic in gothic rock music, such as Alice Cooper, Bauhaus, The Misfits, and in the sordid and generic vampire sagas pumped out by Hollywood year after year, to massive financial returns. Why is it that we wish to romance the dead? To preserve Elvis and Marilyn in the formaldehyde jars of our conscious minds, until it is impossible to separate their paltry, commercialized pop-culture images from the moldering earth in which they lie?
I am a necrophiliac personality, perhaps; so perhaps that is why I am drawing a blank.
To make love tot he dead, to possess the object of accursed fantasy, to transgress and cross that barrier between worlds, is perhaps to engage in a holy communion with another species, to know a purity of intent unknown to mortal bones. The thing itself, the fantastical image, becomes a sacred vessel into which the love and hope of a new tomorrow can be poured. To dance and dwell, forevermore, with the object of our most heated, forbidden desire.
To know this object as OURS, and ours alone. To touch the power of the necromantic spirit, to commune with THEM, a race hideously removed, yet hideously US, whose waxen, stiffened features become a crepitating time-vessel of the past moldering into the present.
This poetry of the grave CANNOT stop; nor, perhaps, can it be plumed for grave psychological nuggets. Does a “necrophiliac personality” truly exist in any objective sense?
The vampire bends to kiss the living, to make the Living as Food. In our current pop cultural references, the vampire is a sexy, sexualized being of eternal youth and vitality,a Brad Pitt or a character from Twilight.
In olden times when death was a closer companion to the living, the vampire was portrayed as a repellent leech who, slipping in the form of mist from his unhallowed grave, roamed village and countryside battening on the living.
Often, the dead relatives were the targeted victims. One story has a man, upon awakening, confronting the foul, stinking revenant of his father, who demands plaintively that he be given ‘something to eat.’”
–From “The Men Who Loved the Dead”