Classic Sick Films :
Battle Royale
Bumfights 2
Cannibal Holocaust
Day Of The Dead
Eaten Alive
The Evil Dead
Flesh For Frankenstein
House On The Edge
Of The Park

Island Of Death
I Spit On Your Grave
Men Behind The Sun
Street Trash
The Texas Chain
Saw Massacre

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Retro Confusion
Visual Nihilism
I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
TITLE: I Spit On Your Grave
DIRECTOR: Meir Zarchi
YEAR: 1978
COUNTRY: United States
DURATION: 100 mins
Day of the Woman, La violencia del sexo, Non violentate Jennifer, Oeil pour oeil
STARRING: Camille Keaton (Jennifer Hills), Eron Tabor (Johnny), Richard Pace (Matthew Lucas), Anthony Nichols (Stanley), Gunter Kleemann (Andy)
Jennifer Hills (played by Camille Keaton), having been attacked by four men
Day of the Woman.
REVIEWED BY: Brain Eater
MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT Meir Zachi's uncompromising story of rape and revenge, I Spit On Your Grave, made in 1978. A lot of it deeply negative. Detractors accuse the film of gloryfying rape, which is a ridiculous accusation when you consider that director Zarchi made the film as a consequence of a harrowing experience he had personally while helping a victim of real life rape. After his own experience, Zarchi decided to make a serious film, addressing his concerns, rather than churning out an exploitation quickie that had no coherent underlying message.
And guess what? Not only did Zarchi make a serious film - he also made a good one. The story of writer who is brutally raped by a gang of thugs, then takes revenge on them, I Spit On Your Grave features a small cast of talented actors who made the on-screen carnage seem believeable enough for it to upset some people. The censors mainly. Some religious groups, and even some well-known critics (a few of whom actually campaigned against it). I Spit On Your Grave remains banned in its uncut form in a number of countries, due to its portrayal of sexual violence. The fact is: this film may be uncomfortable viewing, but its intentions are good - other than the lurid title, the film does not seek to make fun of the subject matter in any way (as a less mature director might try to do), and all the actors do a sterling job of being adult and professional when portraying the serious matter of rape and revenge. The naysayers are missing the point when they attack I Spit On Your Grave - it's not a silly film. It's dark. It's uncomfortable. It's riveting.
Ignore the naysayers - I Spit On Your Grave is about as good an anti rape statement as has ever been committed to film. The film's original title - Day of the Woman - hints at this, and the title that stuck with the film - I Spit On Your Grave - is nothing more than a crude attempt at shock-titling by sensationalist distributors (the director still does not approve of the title I Spit On Your Grave). Yes, the prolonged rape scenes are difficult viewing, but they are there to show just how shocking and wrong rape is, and are not criminally gratuitous in a cinema sense. They are there for a reason, and they work in the overall context of the film - never descending into cheesiness.
And there are some very nice prints of this film in circulation too (some high def ones also) - showing just how well it was shot and cut. Considering that it was made with just a modest budget, by a small group of talented people, the film surely has to be considered one of the best low budget movies to come out of the Seventies. I Spit On Your Grave is a commendable film; brave, serious and well crafted, and it doesn't deserve the villification it has had from certain individuals. If it had kept its original title then maybe things would have been different? Who knows? Who cares? Some people obviously.
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Brain Eater
Anyone who doubts this film's integrity should listen to the director commentary on the DVD. It's one of the best you'll ever hear. Meir Zarchi - a skilled film-maker, father and intelligent human being - begins by reading out loud some of the most scathing reviews of his film, then goes on to explain his own experience of helping a victim of rape, before explaining his reasons for making the film. Not only does Zarchi come across as sincere and gentle, but there is also great emotion and calmness in his recollections, and to hear his side of the story is interesting and humbling.
People have been talking about this film for the last 34 years, and they'll probably be talking about it for the next 34. Kids talk about the exploitative and sensationalist title, grown-ups talk about the rape scenes. "Are they too much?" they twitter. Well, I don't think they are. I didn't sit there like a horny dude when I watched this film, and I didn't get off on it, other than appreciating the fact that it was meant to make me feel sick at certain points. Great piece of film-making.
I, like my colleagues, accept that recommending a film like I Spit On Your Grave could be seen as morally questionable. You have to judge the content by its intentions I say. This classic piece of horror cinema is not cheap and silly like, say, a Norman J Warren film would be, but serious, well made and with a message that is positive. It's not a blood-lust film either - each killing is handled with grace and you don't really see any explicit gore as such. It's not that kind of film. It is tough viewing though - only the hardiest viewers should attempt it.