I Spit on Your Grave (1978)

i spit on your grave poster 1978 movie
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 rape woods camille keaton

The first rape was bad…then it just keeps going…

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 is a horror revenge movie.  The film was originally titled Day of the Woman when it was released in 1978.  The 1980 release was retitled 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 or censored in many countries.

i spit on your grave house jennifer hills rape camille keaton

…and going

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 if it happened to her.  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).

i spit on your grave bathtub murder rape

Well…he did have it coming…

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.

i spit on your grave propeller death ending

An important safety lesson about boats (and rape)

Camille 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 it was not truly confirmed until Demi Moore stated it in her biography.

The movie is a complete trigger film and cannot and should not be watched by everyone (especially those who might have had an assault in their past).  The rape or rapes are as bad as people say, and I can definitely understand both sides of the argument if it is exploitive or if it is empowering.  There is good in the film in Keaton (who did defend the film upon its release and since), but be warned…it is a rough one.  A remake of I Spit on Your Grave was released in 2010 and a true sequel I Spit on Your Grave:  Deja Vu was released in 2019.

Related Links:

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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