Miss Zombie (Sabu, 2013) develops the zombie domestic narrative much more thoroughly than Fido. In this Japanese film, Dr. Teramoto (Toru Tezuka) receives a “thank you” present of Sara (Ayaka Komatsu), a tamed zombie. Sara comes with a set of instructions, including (most significantly) that the zombie should be kept fed on vegetables and fruit, and never given meat to prevent it from going “feral;” an echo of the Haitian prohibition from giving a zombie salt (or anything made with salt in it), as it will break the bokor’s spell (Vials 2011, 45). While the doctor’s wife, Shizuko (Makoto Togashi), sets Sara to the drudgery work around the house. Ownership of a zombie, as with any new luxury commodity, is at first a source of pride for Shizuko, something she can show off to her friends. But along with that pride comes guilt; guilt at not being a good homemaker and neglecting her family. More and more chores are given to Sara, including sexually satisfying Dr. Teramoto, who uses the zombie as his own personal sex slave. A strong ambivalence creeps into the film, again reflecting the pride/guilt dichotomy of the Teramoto family: is Teramoto raping Sara? The zombie is an “it,” an object, but can an object be sexually violated? Is not Sara his property to which he can, and does, what he likes with it? When two construction workers catch him with Sara, he allows the men to violate the zombie too, although allowing such evokes jealous and proprietorial emotions in him. What would it matter if these guys enjoyed Sara, isn’t she is just an object?
Teramoto’s young son, Kenichi (Riku Onishi), drowns and in desperation Shizuko begs Sara to feed him with her blood so he will return, albeit as a zombie. Once Kenichi is revived, he seems to have a stronger bond to Sara than to his own mother. In this element Miss Zombie offers a nice allegory of wealthy parents whose children become more attached to their nanny than to their mom or dad. The relinquishing of parental responsibility means that the love and attachment which should be theirs is bestowed upon another, another who is simply trying to do their job. Just as Teramoto bestows his physical attention on Sara, Kenichi now dotes on her emotionally. Teramoto and Shizuko are left empty and corrupted, while Sara and Kenichi are more family than the Teramotos ever were. There is a hint, at the end of the film, that Sara keeps feeding Kenichi on her blood to maintain that bond as revenge for her earlier treatment (including being raped). Miss Zombie recognizes the vestiges of humanity which may remain in the zombie, not as in, what Dereksen and Hick (2011, 20) refer to as a kind of “locked-in” psychology, that the former person is conscious within the zombie’s body, helpless to control the monster; but as a recognition that, despite the lowliness of someone’s role, of what they need to do to survive, that basic dignity should be shown to humans and zombies alike.