I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

i-spit-on-your-grave-day-of-the-woman-poster
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Gritty realism that is tough to watch, Camille Keaton

The style of revenge seems unrealistic for a trauma victim, spotty acting

 
Movie Info

Movie Name:  I Spit on Your Grave

Studio:  Cinemagic Pictures

Genre(s):  Horror/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  November 22, 1978

MPAA Rating:  R

i-spit-on-your-grave-day-of-the-woman-rape

Tough to watch

Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton) leaves New York City for a summer in the country to write.  When she catches the attention of Johnny (Eron Tabor), Stanley (Anthony Nichols), and Andy (Gunter Kleemann) they decide to capture her for their mentally handicapped friend Matthew (Richard Pace) and all proceed to rape and beat her.  When Matthew fails to kill Jennifer, Jennifer decides to get revenge on the men by seducing and killing them…She will take back what they took from her with their blood.

Directed by Meir Zarchi, I Spit on Your Grave was originally titled Day of the Woman when it was released in 1978.  The release in 1983, retitled the film I Spit on Your Grave, went on to garnered much more attention and criticism.  The movie also went by the title I Hate Your Guts and The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hills, and it was banned in many countries.

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Contrast…horrible scene…great scenery

I Spit on Your Grave is a tough movie.  Much like Last House on the Left, many saw it as violence for violence sake and not only that but violence against women.  Critics like Ebert said it was one of the worst films ever made, but some feminists ended up supporting the film as a rape-revenge fantasy.

I have to say I lean a bit toward the feminist perspective here.  I hated Last House on the Left and found it pretty gratuitous, but this movie felt different.  First the movie looks great.  It has that ’70s horror feel that is just more honest and real than modern movies.  The second aspect is pretty general…Rape isn’t pretty and this felt like something like this would go down.  It would be victimizing and dirty, and nasty, and a woman would feel vile and like crap.  Before the rape there is no indication she is interested in the men, and Eron Tabor’s character even indicates she deserved it because she provoked it (a common accusation against rape victims).

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Lorena Bobbit must have taken lessons

I do have some issues with how she sought her revenge.  I don’t think a woman so traumatized would put herself in a situation (regardless if she felt in control) where she could potentially suffer the same beating or at worst another rape which could lead to her murder.  This is an issue with the movie, and though it is good that the men get what they had coming to them, it is gratuitous and unrealistic when compared to the realism of the first part of the movie.

The movie becomes a bit unbalanced at the revenge point because the second murder (in the bathtub) is the worst murder…It feels like this should have been the last murder instead of the two boat deaths.  The scene is tense and very hard to watch…invoking some of the same fears of the rape scenes, but at the same time making you happy she gets the guy back…a weird contrast.

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A nice day to kill on the water

Camille Keaton (the granddaughter of Buster Keaton) is quite good in the role.  She shows no fear in the role despite the situations presented in the movie and the excessive amounts of nudity for her character.  She does take a turn after the rape and does present someone empowered…I just don’t think she’s take the approach she took, maybe more like Jodie Foster in The Brave One.  Another side note is there is a long standing rumor that the woman in famous cover photo is a young Demi Moore…It isn’t Camille Keaton, but no one has confirmed it is Demi since she was quite young at the time (and dating a crew member).

I had never seen I Spit on Your Grave though I had heard stories about it.  The rape was as bad as people say and it could be really hard for some people to watch, but I think that the acting and shots are strong enough to make up for some slips in plot.  I Spit on Your Grave was remade in 2010.

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Related Links:

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

http://basementrejects.com/review/i-spit-on-your-grave-2010/

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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