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Horror Movie A Day: Quint is violated by I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978)
It won’t stop bleeding!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.] Now going into this movie I was very aware of its reputation. Very, very aware. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE exists in the same group of “not available at Blockbuster” titles that were a kind of holy grail for gore-hounds in my early teenage years. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, CANNIBAL FEROX, FACES OF DEATH, EL TOPO and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. I’m sure there are a couple that I’m forgetting, but those are the major ones that you could only find in the mom & pop owned video stores… usually within close vicinity of the porn section and separated only by a thin, awfully transparent sheet. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (also known as DAY OF THE WOMAN) is about a New York writer (Camille Keaton) who is spending some quiet time in the countryside to gather her thoughts and write a book. Being a city girl, she flaunts her sexuality a little upon arrival. When she fills up at the gas station, she parades in front of the attendant, when the half-retarded grocery manchild delivers her order, she flirts with him a little. It’s all innocent, of course, nothing more than most of us do in any given social scenario, but it’s all the excuse this group of hicks need to rev their engines. One day while lounging in her rowboat, these guys come speeding along in a motorboat and hijack her, pulling her to the shore where they abuse her. The rape in this movie is infamous and I was prepared for it. I’ve seen a lot of uncomfortable movies dealing with the issue. BAISE-MOI, IRREVERSABLE, JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, THE ACCUSED, GATOR BAIT, DELIVERANCE (both of which were parodied on South Park last week… proving George Carlin right, that anything can be funny, even rape), etc. When the first dude, the gas station attendant (Eron Tabor) who looks like a creepy mash-up of Billy Crudup, Vincent Gallo and James Caveziel, finishes his deed, I was thinking that either something was wrong with me or the movie wasn’t living up to its extreme reputation. I can’t say I was disappointed, more relieved. The group really just leave after the brief scene. It wasn’t comfortable to watch, but it definitely wasn’t as extreme as I was expecting… But then I realized it wasn’t over. Oh no. No-no-no-no. Poor naked Camille Keaton wanders around the woods naked, crying, and then comes upon the group again, as if they knew where she’d end up. It was then that it hit me that the rape scene was still going on and was going to keep on for a while. And then I realized why the movie has the reputation it does. Because as each of the four have their turn the violence is turned up. That’s the real shocking element of that plot point, just how brutal it feels. Thankfully, the actual sex isn’t as graphic as I was expecting, not much more than gyrations and asses, but what I avoided there is given to me tenfold in the violence. One character in particular lets the fists fly while violently raping her from behind. That’s when it really started getting to me. The reason why this scene has the reputation it has is because of how long it lasts. After each member is done, they let her go to wander or arrive at home, thinking she’s in time to get help. They give her that glimmer of hope and relief that it’s over before swooping in again, thus making the rape scene something like 25 minutes long.

Camille survives the encounter, no thanks Eron Tabor’s character, who orders the semi-retarded William (Richard Pace) to finish her off, by stabbing her in the heart. He can’t do it, but also can’t face his friends, so he bloodies the knife on her gaping face wound and leaves her, bloody, naked and ruined. Over the next couple of weeks Camille heals, but doesn’t go for help. This is too personal to leave to the cops. She won’t get the satisfaction she needs that way, so she becomes judge, jury and executioner, hunting down all four men and making them pay for what they did. Even William, who is probably the character that really makes this movie stand out from others of its type, extreme ‘70s indie exploitation. He’s about he grayest character of the bunch. Technically, his group uses him as the excuse for doing what they did. He is very simple, slow and has a crush on this girl. He’s also a virgin and they wanted him to get a piece. They egg him on for the majority of the extended rape scene and he refuses, but also helps the others have at the girl, holding her down. But you can tell he’s genuinely torn. He finally relents toward the end of things when she’s barely even conscious, so beaten and bloody that she almost doesn’t resemble a living being anymore, but even then he can’t get his rocks off. He also doesn’t kill her when any of the other three would have done so without a hesitation. But he’s a horrible person for helping in her attack and ultimately becoming a rapist himself. It’s quite a complex character and what makes it even worse is he’s the first to feel Camille’s revenge. And her revenge is paid back in full… with interest. Hoo-boy, she goes the extra mile and that gives us some incredible scenes. The most famous of which and my personal favorite belongs to Eron Tabor in the bathtub. It’s not that the gag is all that graphically shown, but it’s how the scene escalates and escalates and escalates. Camille has convinced this guy that she’s a broken woman, ready to get her fuck on and she “handles” him in the bathtub… When the knife comes into the situation everybody knows what’s coming and the guys instantly dread seeing what they’re about to see, even if the dude completely deserves it. It’s a great scene and the way director Meir Zarchi handles it is perfect. You know it’s going to end horribly, but you don’t know exactly when and to what extent. I took today’s subhead from that scene, so I’m sure you can put two and two together if you haven’t seen the movie yourself. The production values are fairly typical of this type of film. The sets are sparse, with little decoration… cheap. The acting questionable at times, but the film is surprisingly cinematic still to this day. It definitely feels raw and grimy. Final Thoughts: This movie not only deserves its cult status, but also proves to be atypical of the genre in terms of character complexity. It is hard to watch, but as brutal and horrific as the rape scene is, it all leads up to a great series of paybacks that make you want to stand up out of your chair and cheer. Camille’s final line is one for the record books. “Suck it, bitch!” Classic. If you haven’t seen it and this kind of movie is up your alley, then by all means quit pussyfooting around and give it a spin… just make sure your grandparents/parents, young siblings or wife/girlfriend aren’t watching along with you or you might have to guard your junk and apologize for being a man.

Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October: Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here! Now’s the the time to pull the next HMAD! Next up is:

Interesting double feature, there. I expect NAKED YOU DIE to be a different kind of movie, but I’m sure there will be other, interesting parallels. See you tomorrow for that one! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did

Readers Talkback
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  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:40 a.m. CST


    by odo19

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:57 a.m. CST

    the Italian version of the title...

    by echobase

    is completely different and once translated it means "don't rape Jennifer". Just as bad as "I spit on your grave"

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:07 a.m. CST

    I actually DID see it at a Blockbuster once...

    by The Amazing G

    I shit you not

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:18 a.m. CST

    Strange flim for sure..

    by Ironmuskrat

    Quint is right, like the Energizer Bunny, the rape scene that sets up the movie seems to last forever and is an test of endurance for anyone to sit though. <p> Strange thing is, if you can make it through the first 30 minutes of the movie it becomes a pretty good slasher/revenge flick. <p> I might be wrong, but didn't this movie get a general release in theaters back in the day? I seem to remember Ebert did a review of this movie when it came out, but I might be wrong about that.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:26 a.m. CST

    also doesnt Ebert....

    by The Amazing G

    like consider this to be the worst movie he's seen?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:28 a.m. CST

    Quint, don't you think the revenge is just an excuse?

    by BadMrWonka

    lot of these old "cult" films are really just excuses to see a bunch of nasty, gory shit. that's their appeal, such as it is. cannibal holocaust is, to my mind, completely irredeemable as a film, it's so pointlessly retarded, the gore is the only point of it. <p>I spit on your grave SEEMS to be a little more together, but when you arrange a movie around an excuse to show horrific, violent sadism to titillate teenage boys, how can the character development mean anything? if Michael Bay makes a movie centered around 4 or 5 big action pieces, all the rest of the elements of the film are in service of that. <p>it just seems sometimes that these old cult films are simply michael bay films, but with violence, gore and sadism (usually directed towards women) replacing the car chases and explosions.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:32 a.m. CST

    Sorry, but rape can never be funny...

    by mr

    ...but have seen the film, and kind of recommend it in a way.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:33 a.m. CST

    wow, yeah...Ebert, um..didn't care for it very much

    by BadMrWonka

    here's his review:<p>

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:06 a.m. CST

    hahaha, wow Ebert's review sure is....uhhh something...

    by The Amazing G

    to quote "How did the audience react to all of this? Those who were vocal seemed to be eating it up. The middle-aged, white-haired man two seats down from me, for example, talked aloud, After the first rape: "That was a good one!" After the second: "That'll show her!" After the third: "I've seen some good ones, but this is the best." When the tables turned and the woman started her killing spree, a woman in the back row shouted: "Cut him up, sister!" In several scenes, the other three men tried to force the retarded man to attack the girl. This inspired a lot of laughter and encouragement from the audience.", wow so I guess seeing a movie in a theater in the 70's was different from today eh?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:09 a.m. CST

    Never saw it

    by Aeghast

    but I always wanted to..

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:10 a.m. CST

    Funniest part of Ebert's review...

    by Moses Paltrow's followed by a link that reads "Buy or Rent 'I Spit on Your Grave' from Facets." Who could resist after that review?!

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:14 a.m. CST

    "nothing more than most of us do in any given social scenario"

    by Cagliostro

    Flirt with a half retarded man-child? I guess I don't run in those circles. By the way, shouldn't one have seen some films in order to be called a film reviewer?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:41 a.m. CST

    Love this movie.

    by Knuckleduster

    I guess it was my first real introduction to "exploitation" cinema. I think it works so well because in many ways it seems to be the ultimate display of both male and female taboo fantasy. <p> And that poster is one of my all-time favourites. Can't stop staring at it.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 7:21 a.m. CST

    Joe Bob Commentary

    by Darth Durden

    The main reason to rent this dvd is to hear Joe Bob Briggs''s classic and hysterical.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 7:24 a.m. CST

    Fans of this film may also enjoy...

    by Napoleon Park

    Ms. 45 - a mute woman is raped on two separate occasions in this low budget exploitation "feminist Death Wish" flick and cracks up, going on a killing rampage vendetta against obnoxious men.<p>Savage Fury - a classic mid-'80s Christy Canyon porn flick. Five drunk guys hit on five women who snub them. The guys track them down to their dorm and rape them. Later the women track the men down and seduce them in separate male fantasy scenes - one MF and a couple of 3-ways, MMF and FFM. At the end of the film in each scenario the women pull out Uzi submachine guns and the men reenact dick-wagging versions of the ambush from Bonnie and Clyde. The big question is where they hid Uzis in their halters, hot pants and clutch purses. And the obvious question is, did they realize they only got 4 of the 5 rapists? Well, duh, leave something for the sequel. (Yes, there was a Savage Fury II.)

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 7:41 a.m. CST

    I saw this when i was about 11

    by killianx

    which was about 20 years ago And it haunts me till this day!

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 8:10 a.m. CST

    "God bless your hands"

    by Drunken Rage

    I saw this at the theater, have seen it a couple of time since. Camille Keaton is very good. The rape/revenge motif was relatively popular in x-rated movies in the early seventies, some of which make "I Spit on Your Grave" look very tame.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 8:44 a.m. CST

    It sounds like Eastwood Cribbed Some of this...

    by catlettuce4

    ...for "Sudden Impact."

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Nice line up of rape movies you sicko!


    I seriously can't tell the diff between this and a Harry review with lines like ''Get Her Fuck on''!? and ''My personal Favourite scene of revenge''!?<P>Didn't realise you guys were regressing!

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Boise Moi?

    by Lenny Nero

    Like...the capitol of Idaho? <p>I think you're thinking of Baise Moi, foo'!

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST


    by Lenny Nero

    Rape can, in fact, be funny. To take Quint's lead on the Carlin routine, think this: "Imagine Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd." I think that's the quote.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Cagliostro, I can assure you...

    by Lenny Nero

    ...that Quint has seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of movies you have not seen. It takes all kinds in the world of film journalism, don't you think?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Great film!

    by quantize

    avoided it for years, then finally saw it...loved it..extremely effective for a low budget horror/revenge flick.. could give a rats arse what anyone's a classic in my books an thats all i care about

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:46 a.m. CST

    A remake is in development right now

    by Ye Not Guilty

    According to IMDB, a remake is in development for release in 2009.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:53 a.m. CST

    John Wayne Bobbit should not have shown this film to his wife!!!

    by Jugdish

    Over all its not a good movie-

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    4 = 5?

    by berserkrl

    One of the movie posters says she's just chopped four men, the other one says five. What's up with that -- is the 2nd one just a mistake?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Are you insane, Quint?!

    by WillowFan2001

    "Being a city girl, she flaunts her sexuality a little upon arrival. When she fills up at the gas station, she parades in front of the attendant, when the half-retarded grocery manchild delivers her order, she flirts with him a little." She is NOT flirting at the beginning of the film. How on Earth did you pull THAT out? She is just being nice. What makes it so horrifying is that the guys certainly BELIEVE she is flirting with them -- big city girl with her short dress, perfect hair and makeup, and high heels flaunting her sexuality. That is EXACTLY what convinces them that she is secretly asking for it, and that is what motivates them to execute her rape.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 11:23 a.m. CST


    by TheBigLebowsky

    I'm lost... Who's William? The semi-retarded man-child? You first called him Matthew...

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 11:30 a.m. CST

    Interesting British Reaction

    by argento123

    Apart from the fact it was banned in the video nasties witch hunt in 1984 the film got a strange reaction from Psychologist in good old Blighty. They went to prisons and showed scenes and films of the exploitation genre too inmates and found that only I spit did not turn them on. They concluded it had to do with the fact the rape was not stylised and the lack of music etc. It showed the brutality of the act. And I know woman who have been raped that have seen this movie and to them it is a very cathartic piece of film. It's not a film I watch very often but it doesn't deserve a lot of the hate it got in the day, much like Cannibal Holocaust.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 11:53 a.m. CST

    I took a class on film violence in college where...

    by subtlety

    the professor just walked into the room, set up the projector, said, cheerfully, "Ok, let's get started by watching a few clips!" and then played the bath tub scene. Half the class did not return the following day, or ever again. Most eventually sought therapy. Best. Class. Ever.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 12:11 p.m. CST

    video nasties

    by ddog

    the movies you were referrin to quint were given the term video nasties... some of these movies were: antropophagus,cannibal holocaust, cannibal ferox,the burning,the driller killer,andy warhols frankenstein,the funhouse,the house by the cemetary,the last house on the left,snuff,twitch of the death nerve,zombie creeping flesh,love camp 7,nightmare maker,mardi gras massacre. and many many others...some of those titles are still banned today but are part of a holy grail for gore hounds. some are better than others but all either extremely violent or chock full of sex but usually horror movies and thought id just pass a lil knowledge down which im sure you probably already know of those movies but for those that don't well there you go...

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST

    This movie

    by Series7

    For me, made me feel dirty. Not because of the content just because how dirty the movie looked and was acted. Non of it looked or felt real, was it unsettling, yes but it felt sooooo cheesy at the same time. I think Eberts review mentioned that, I think he's review was on the DVD I rented. I'll have to check out some of those other flicks ddog, thanks.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 12:29 p.m. CST



  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:07 p.m. CST

    one of my favorite revenge movies and..

    by chainsaw1974

    i remember ordering my vhs copy from blockbuster in ther early/mid-90s and had no problem getting it from them.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:14 p.m. CST

    It's Baise Moi, not Boise Moi

    by V'Shael

    but apart from that, good review. <p> I can't have been the only one to get turned on watching Monica Belluci get assraped in Irreversible though...

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    I guess it's worth asking outright...

    by subtlety

    So here's the big question... Director Meir Zarchi really does seem to think this film is a helpful, maybe even empowering statement. He's on record stating this; he even claims that he was inspired to make the film after aiding a real-life rape victim. His "Preferred title" is "Day of the Woman." Maybe he's just a good liar, but he's pretty consistent with what appears to be a real, earnest claim that the movie is not only NOT exploitive, but actually compassionate and empowering. <br><br> Which really makes you wonder what to think about this thing. First off, the fact that it's pretty terrible automatically makes it a bit harder to buy Zarchi's argument, but its certainly possible that he was just a lousy filmmaker with a low budget and funders who were looking for a crap exploitation flick. But do good intentions save something which is unintentionally exploitive? Does the extreme and near-pornographic fixation on violence make the film more or less effective? That is to say, if it was equally poorly made, but less outright brutal, would it actually be more empowering? Or would it be more pandering, allowing the viewer to stay a safe distance from a more sanitized kind of rape? If this had actually been released as "Day of the Woman" with a more upscale/arty kind of advertising, would Ebert have thought it less purile? Or is it just lousy and ineffective art one way or another, which, however the filmmakers rationalized it, would never have had funding if it were not aimed at the absolute lowest common denemenator? Is it cheap exploitation dressed up as thoughtful art, or thoughtful art which happens to take the shape of cheap exploitation? OR, is it simply dependent on what the viewer takes from it, and the movie itself has no independent meaning?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:22 p.m. CST

    btw, with regards to the above...

    by subtlety

    I am in no way trying to make a case for banning or censoring the film. Even if it has no redeeming artistic value at all, free speech is free speech. I'm just trying to think about it as an artistic statement, which entails trying to decide it's value and effectiveness as a film. So yeah, before you think Im some kind of Thatcher-esque nut, allow me to assure you that I'm just a nerd who likes to think about movies and meaning.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:42 p.m. CST

    woohoo rape fantasies! even more disgusting than

    by BMacSmith

    torture porn! <p> you people are sick fucks.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 1:58 p.m. CST

    btw Quint, I hope you review I, MADMAN next

    by The Amazing G

    since coincidentally I have that in my netflx queue

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 2:38 p.m. CST

    All good questions, Subtlety

    by Vern

    Another one that I wondered while watching it is whether or not my feelings about violence in movies are hypocritical. I have a really hard time with movies like this that show graphic rape scenes, but I got no problem at all with the violent part. Why is it that a fictional rape seems to me to be going too far, but a fictional beheading can be a fun time at the movies? I don't think the answer is to be against both, and that's never gonna happen. On the other hand I don't think I'll ever start thinking a rape scene doesn't ruin a good horror movie. I don't know.<p> I do believe the director is sincere, as tasteless as the movie is. There are too many feminist themes weaved into it to be a pose. The Camille Keaton character is written to represent the '70s ideal of an independent woman (she even writes about women's issues for a living) and the rapists bring up all the classic sexist excuses, one of which Quint accidentally repeated in his review (that she was flaunting her sexuality in front of them).<p> When I wrote about this movie a while back I mentioned that although I enjoyed the revenge part of the movie I had a hard time with her character being able to seduce them before killing them. But I got a pretty interesting email from a reader who had been raped and she felt that was a crucial part of the movie that she reclaims her sexuality and uses it against them. And she was a huge fan of the movie.<p> One thing about the movie that doesn't get as much discussion is the retarded guy. Obviously you root for Jennifer's revenge, but then she's almost more brutal to the retarded guy. I'm not totally sure what they were going for with that. But it would work better if the actor wasn't so fucking awful at playing a retarded guy. Where was Tom Hanks?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 2:42 p.m. CST

    This movie provides you with the life lesson

    by terry1978

    Just because a chick is nice to you does not mean she wants you to doggyfuck her brains out, as most of our fanboy ilk tends to least those that are socially retarded and have never gotten any willingly, anyways.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 2:43 p.m. CST

    it's also so much more honest

    by blonde redhead

    than some BS film like the accused, where the court stands in for jodie foster's character and 'saves' her. i much prefer the very blunt approach taken by this movie. it's always been really interesting to me how many critics were 'appalled' by the rape scene--they were supposed to be, and it always amazes me how many of them missed this very important point. it is one of the few films i've seen where the rape is presented in graphic, stark terms, there is no sense of titillation at ALL, and it happens nearly in real time. compare and contrast to stuff like 'the hunting party' where ollie reed gets his rape on with candace bergen and she goes from no no to yes yes real quick. anyhow, yeah, great film and they sure don't make them like that anymore.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Good on you, Eric!

    by BobaFetish

    70's horror. Classic stuff. I wish more horror films these days followed that model, instead of this Japanese crap.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:11 p.m. CST

    If you've never flirted with a half-retarded man-child...

    by rev_skarekroe've never lived.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST


    by subtlety

    One thing which I think makes rape a lot harder to stomach than murder (even some pretty bitter material) is that its so aggressively about power. Its so ugly because its about deliberately telling the victim that you know that you're going to hurt and humiliate them in the cruelest way possible, and then making sure they know they have no power to stop you. I mean, murder paradoxically can have somewhat simpler, even kinder motives; even anger or revenge seems more palatable than the kind of ugly need to control and hurt that drives rape. Likewise, while I think most of us can imagine situations where we'd be tempted to murder, few but real sociopaths can really identify with the drive to rape (at least, I hope so...). So, for those reasons, I think rape feels uniformly uglier, crueler, and not at all fun. Actually, since occasionally movies have scenes of violence which at least mirror the sort of rapist psychology (look particularly to films about racists, who similarly employ rape AND violence to disempower and humiliate innocent victims) I think most people would also find that kind of violence pretty solidly un-fun.<br><br> We can also separate ourselves a little more from violence, which is often in a much less realistic mode than rape is typically shown (on the other hand, I admit the "Tree Rape" scene from "Evil Dead" always felt mean and left a bad taste with me, so that's certainly not the whole story). I think its much more typical to portray rape realistically because it usually leaves the victim alive and dealing with the ramifications of what happened, which we less frequently see in violent stuff. Which may be something of a problem in itself. Still, I don't think we should be particularly sorry that context changes the meaning of a lot of things. I mean, George Carlin, etc... Porky-on-Elmer rape is slightly more palatable than the kind of realistic, nihilistic, long-term torture we see in something like "I Spit.." or even "Salo". And Bugs-on-Daffy violence is much more fun than the torture scenes in "Sweet Sweetback's Badasssss [not sure on the correct number of A's D's or S's, sorry] Song"... All violence and all hate is not necessarily equal, because the context in which it occurs makes a lot of difference. I was glad in your review of "Kill Switch" that you point out that Detective King's (Stillwell's?) teeth-breaking scene is not very much fun, since it seems kind of mean and unnecessary, even though other parts of the movie feature violence which is also pretty severe but seems more understandable and ... well, entertaining. <br><br> I can't help but think of imagine Meir Zarchi in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" (actually, "Meir Zarchi" might not be a bad sequel)... full of ideas and enthusiasm and even daring, but spectacularly lacking the tools to bring them to the audience. I mean, the retarded guy is a case in point as far as I'm concerned, because if the movie has any redeeming value it's as a revenge-fantasy... and all the sudden, just as you want her to kill those assholes the most, you get this kill of the retarded guy, which suddenly makes you take a step back and say, "Wait, wait... surely it doesn't have to be like THIS!" In a better movie, that kind of moral ambiguity might make it thoughtful and interesting... here, its more like a case of right lesson, wrong time. <br><br> I dunno... I go back and forth on this movie. In a way, I can see why there's a good argument that it would be a disservice to women (and men) to make the rape less brutal, less labored... on the other hand, its really hard not to see it as fundamentally exploitive, especially the way it was sold (which, to be fair, Zarchi protested against, but come on, man, you knew who was funding this thing!) I mean, the only reason it is at all remembered today is that it crossed the line so very far... even if it did intend to be empowering (and as you point out, there is no shortage of people who did find it to be) its certainly far from enlightened... its just a particularly ugly (which may or may not make it particularly realistic or effective) revenge fantasy. Which might not make it the ideal place to discuss the kind of issues the director seems to have in mind. On the other hand, rape... is just such a visceral topic that maybe this is the ONLY way to really address it. No intellectualism at all, just pain and then bloodlust. "Irreversible" (the inevitable comparison, I guess) certainly operates with that at least in mind. <br><br> So I guess I don't know. But hey, I really appreciate your thoughtful response. I'm really looking forward to reading your book when it gets here in Nov.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Does anyone remember the episode of Quantum Leap...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ...where Sam leaps into a girl who had just been raped? First he and Al think that they are there, because the victim never testified in court and so the rapist got free, even if everybody knew who it was.<br> Well, in the end the girl testifies, but the jury not just finds the rapist not guilty, he even tries it again. But this time Sam was still the girl and was able to beat the shit out of him.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:28 p.m. CST

    blonde redhead

    by subtlety

    I definitely see your point, its just kind of hard to separate this film from the others of its ilk, which really are only interested in being transgressive for fun and profit. Not that there's necessarily anything wrong with that, but occasionally they seem kind of mean-spirited or, --the word which probably best describes most of the "Video Nasties"-- "Exploitive". Thats why I think it kind of important to understand what the director is doing here. He and every other indie filmmaker knows there is a market out there for films which go 'too far'... so its kind of hard not to imagine profit and notoriety might have at least been on some part of his mind when he set out to something which remains among the most brutal, cruel sequences in all cinema. On the other hand, you're right in saying that treading lightly around a subject like rape probably makes it easier to swallow and cheapens the whole statement. An off-camera implied rape definitely lacks the kind of visceral "for god's sake, let it end!" response the rape scene here provokes. So... hmmm. If only the movie were better, it would be a lot easier to make the case that it was a brave artistic decision, rather than a slightly cynical result of comic ineptness.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:42 p.m. CST

    Vern and the question of flaunting her sexuality

    by Quint

    Vern, I completely agree with you assessment of the movie. As for the mention of flaunting her sexuality, that's wasn't an accident. When Eron says that at the end of the movie, I took it to be the same bullshit "you were asking for it" excuse, but I did go back and rewatch the beginning of the film and while I'd never in a million years say she was asking for it or trying to drive the men mad, I do see her as flirting in the gas station scene and when the grocery boy-man child comes over. Sure, she's being nice, but there is an undercurrent of sexuality put into the mix. That's why I mentioned that it is flirting, but no more than you see an average person flirt in a social situation. In the case of the grocery guy, I think it was completely innocent. He asks if he could be her boyfriend, for God's sake. I think she knew what she was doing, but it was in the same way a woman would talk to a young child. It's flirting, without any seriousness.<BR><BR>With the gas station attendant, I wouldn't go so far as to say she was flirting, but she was definitely letting her liberated self be free, as she should. That's her right, for sure.<BR><BR>As I said before, that's absolutely no excuse for what happened and of course these guys use that as their excuse to do something they would have done anyway given the chance. I didn't mean to imply that any girl wearing a short dress or bikini that innocently flirts with a man deserves to be raped.<BR><BR>And Blonde is also right in that they do not sexualize the rape at all. It is disturbing for all the right reasons. It's not designed to turn you on, it's designed to make you hate these men just like our lead and to be on her side, to think she's justified, when she takes the law into her own hands in the third act.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Interesting that you say that, Quint

    by WillowFan2001

    Because I own this movie, and I've just gone back and rewatched the beginning again. I can't see anything that could be fairly construed as flirting. Perhaps this is simply something you're reading into the movie.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 3:57 p.m. CST


    by Quint

    Well, I guess flirting would be subjective, but I can't believe anyone would deny she's flirting with the grocery guy. I can see there being an argument over her filling up her tank and "stretching her legs," and I see that. In fact, I might agree with you on that one. I don't think she's openly flirting with him in that scene. He's being a horny dickhead checking her out and her only fault is not seeing the dirtbag in the guy and seeing how her everyday sexuality (perfectly acceptable in the big city) is affecting him.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Quint, believe it...that's what I'm denying

    by WillowFan2001

    I fail to see how being nice to someone you feel sorry for can be categorized as "flirting". And I'm not very enamored of your use of the word "fault" when describing Jennifer's early interaction with Johnny, either.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Also, Subtlety...

    by WillowFan2001

    Margaret Thatcher was awesome. All I'm sayin'.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:21 p.m. CST

    but I think the real question is...

    by The Amazing G

    who would win in a fight, Jennifer Hills or Pyramid Head?

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Another interesting thing about rape in movies...

    by DerLanghaarige

    Why is it funny when a man is the rape victim? How many movies do you know where they make "prison sex" jokes, probably even with the Banjo music from Deliverance? And people accept that as long as a man gets raped. Why is that so?<br> And not just about "assrape". Imagine the ending of 40 Days and 40 Nights or whatever that movie was, where that guy didn't want to have sex for a while. Imagine it would be about a woman who wanted to live without sex, but in the end her jealous ex-boyfriend sneaks into her apartment, chains her on the bed and has sex with her, while she is sleeping. I don't think that any studio in the world would have produced that movie. (And I also think that the George Carlin joke wouldn't work with Betty Boop instead of Elmar Fudd.)

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:45 p.m. CST

    I have to split

    by psychedelic

    I want to read these opinions, but I need to leave. From reading Quint's review, I think he's too generous. I've seen it twice. The rape scene is effective. After that, aside from good gore, it goes downhill and the acting is SO bad. Even Joe Bob Briggs makes fun of the bad acting and logic lapses in his commentary--which I highly recommend giving a listen. It's hysterical when she locks the bathroom door on the outside after cutting the guy. Who keeps a dead bolt on the outside of a bathroom door? For better or worse, it's a memorable cult film.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:52 p.m. CST

    I still think..

    by Harold-Sherbort

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 4:58 p.m. CST


    by Harold-Sherbort

    Sorry about that. I think the rape scene in Irreversible is still one of the most shocking rapes I've ever seen in a movie. Not to take anything away from what they were trying to do here, but the camera didn't move for 9 minutes. No cuts or edits. Just 9 minutes of excruciating torture, not only for us, but for the Actors as well. I think Monica Belluci deserved an award for that. If you've ever read Eberts review for that movie, it's almost spot on. I would have given it at least a half star more though, if not a full one to make it 4.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Male Rape

    by subtlety

    An interesting parallel to this movie would be another rape-instigated revenge fantasy "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" in which Clive Owen must take revenge on Malcolm McDowell for raping his brother. Actually, I'm wondering if a movie could ever be made where a raped male seeks revenge... or if the audience would never buy a re-assertion of the victim's masculinity. Certainly, the way we deal with female rape and male rape has at least shades of paternalism. It's odd, because a rape like the one in "I'll Sleep..." occurs for pretty similar reasons to the one in "I Spit..." which just goes to show how little rape is about sex and how much it is about power. That's why I wonder if a male rape victim could ever convince an audience that he was empowered again... we assume females to be less powerful, or at least less defined by their power and control, so maybe the heroine of "I Spit.." can come back. A male who has been humiliated in this way may irreversibly lose his masculinity in the audience's eyes. Hopefully not, but I definitely think its something worth thinking about.<br><br> As for Margret Thatcher being awesome, I'm sure she is as long as you have no inclination to watch a movie like "I Spit on Your Grave"!

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:52 p.m. CST

    2 cents

    by clone-o-mat

    I also recently viewed this film and I have to say that most of the honesty and brutality of the rape scene can be credited to the SOUND. Keaton's screaming is among the most blood-curdling in cinematc history. She raises the reality of the situation to unbearable heights with her screams alone. Give any of those scenes a watch with the volume off and I guarantee you an entirely different experience.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Quint writes good.

    by splungiest

    "The rape in this movie is infamous and I was prepared for it. I’ve seen a lot of uncomfortable movies dealing with the issue. BAISE-MOI, IRREVERSABLE, JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, THE ACCUSED, GATOR BAIT, DELIVERANCE (both of which were parodied on South Park last week… proving George Carlin right, that anything can be funny, even rape), etc." Does anybody else see Quint reviewing films for Newsweek or The New York Times in the near future? Why is he still just a 12th-string "critic" on AICN after a decade? Wordsmiths as graceful as he are in short supply these days!

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Ther's about a million more things more befitting a film than ra

    by alienindisguise

    To me, it's just a sick gimmick and shows the total lack of creativity on the part of filmmakers.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 6:32 p.m. CST


    by Detective_Fingerling

    My friends and I called the blonde rapist guy after watching the rape scene. Granted, the scene was horrible, but it became pure comedy when thunderdick went to town.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 8:01 p.m. CST

    An Iconic Movie

    by Wrath4771

    I Spit On Your Grave is on one of those movies that just make you feel dirty for having seen it - and that's one of the many reaosns this movie is so great. The revenge scenes are great and the rape is horrific, but not brutally graphic which was cool.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST

    This is such a dumb movie

    by 3rdrate

    I rented this at Blockbuster a year ago, and it sucks. This is one of those movies I knew nothing of the cult hype about, watched, and thought was the worst piece of shit thing I've seen in a while. Among other things, it was insanely boring, and I personally believe the director's feminist theories are extremely ex post facto...But regardless, philosophy doesn't excuse a bad movie.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:16 p.m. CST

    holy shit

    by The Amazing G

    I'm reading a Richard Laymon novel called Body Rides and at the start this guy is returning some video tapes and which is one of the tapes? none other than I Spit On Your Grave, talk about serendipity...

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:36 p.m. CST

    hey subtlety, i was away all afternoon but

    by blonde redhead

    wanted to comment again. <br> i do see that it's tough to separate this film from other 'video nasties', especially those in the rape-revenge genre, but then i watch this film again--which to be perfectly frank i don't do all that often, because the rape scene is THAT unpleasant and takes up a big chunk of screentime--and i compare it to something like lipstick, which is yet another permutation of the same story, except there's a veritable crapton in that film that's totally played for titillation, even though i'm sure the makers would protest that it's not. <br> i mean, chris sarandon licking those weird microphone pads and sticking them all over a pre-pubescent mariel hemingway's chest is pretty out there, and the film sort of trades in that, just as it trades on the 'rough sex' rape of margaux hemingway at the beginning of the film, and it gets off on it in a way that i don't see zarchi as ever even coming close to doing in ISOYG.<br> i think ISOYG is fundamentally flawed, not in that jennifer goes after the men in the way she does--the retarded guy may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, but deserves his comeuppance just as much as the others--because he stood there on the sidelines and did nothing to stop it. yeah, the other guys may forcibly throw him into the mix. but he gets involved, and by the rules of the genre, he gets what he paid for. <br> i think the problem may lie a bit closer to what you were (i think) hinting at when you said filmmaker with low budget realizing that the only way to sell this is as exploitation. a bigger budgeted film (like lipstick) can afford to pontificate and create this sort of faux awareness of what it's doing while at the same time remaining absolutely sleazy and gross. i don't see zarchi as having had anything like that--he had a story he wanted to tell, and part of me really believes that he wanted to tell it as honestly as he could, which is precisely why the rape itself is so brutal and unforgiving. a true exploitationer would have thrown something pervy in there for you to get off on. nothing of the sort ever occurs during this film. i may be a sucker but for that reason alone i think zarchi's intent was good, while what ultimately came out of it can be seen as flawed. due to bad acting on the part of the male leads. i think camille keaton is a very good actress. <br> if that makes sense. i'm driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to do line breaks in here. if this didn't work, sorry for the wall of text.

  • Oct. 12, 2008, 10:39 p.m. CST

    oddly enough,

    by blonde redhead

    i also have a problem with the tree/vine rape in evil dead. <br><br> i love the film, but that moment always struck me as somewhat ugly.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 1:35 a.m. CST


    by Vern

    There is one obvious example of a male rape victim reasserting his masculinity, and that's PULP FICTION. I don't think anybody thinks Ving Rhames is a sissy in that one. I bet there are others, but maybe not.<p> Another movie sort of similar to this one that's pretty good is THEY CALL HER ONE EYE (or THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE). It's way more cartoonish in many ways but it's about a girl forced into prostitution and drug addiction who gets her violent revenge. The part that makes you feel dirty is that it has hardcore pornography inserted into it. The censored version might actually be an improvement.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 1:53 a.m. CST

    Huh huh, Vern, you said "inserted"

    by Frisco

    The other thing that was kinda funky about Thriller is that during her hellish ordeal we see several of her "clients" and as viewers we just sort of assume that there must have been many more during that long time. But nope: just those few.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 2:16 a.m. CST

    more funny rape movies

    by Napoleon Park

    Waterhole #3 is hilarious, has a great cast (James Coburn, Carroll O'Connor). Roger Miller narration and theme song and may be true to historical context. and being a 1967 film has the excuse of being from the pre- women's lib" era.<p>But WTF about "Goin' South"? Jack Nicholson wins over Mary Steenbergen with the old always popular "tie her to the bed and f*ck her" route. Seriously, something so Un-PC in the feminist era? How did they not know any better?

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 2:31 a.m. CST


    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    how can you not love that? so evocative.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 3:15 a.m. CST

    Rape V. Murder

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    is about dehumanization versus annihilation. Annihilation is easier to make funny because we can separate ourselves from it in the post-modern world. Dehumanization cannot be ironic because we cannot separate ourselves from it. Thus Rape is "worse" than murder.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 3:26 a.m. CST

    further explaination

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    we can plainly see that the murder in a film is not real. We can be separate because we know it is all "just pretend" and everyone went home at the end of the day. But, when we see dehumanization on screen we cannot separate ourselves from it because even while the action is faked, the dehumanizing result is still "real" regardless. Too, when we see someone else die, we can see that it is not OUR death. But the dehumanization without death causes us to look into our own selves and realize that we too are animals.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 4:53 a.m. CST

    Vern, have you seen "The Boys"?

    by half vader

    The Aussie film with David Wenham? And if so, do you know the "whole" story?

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 6:22 a.m. CST


    by SuckLeTrou

    His commentary on the deluxe edition is awesome and lays it all out: The personal experience he had with a rape victim that inspired him to make this. Basically his reasoning is the same as Verhoeven's (who Ebert doesn't understand, either.): The consequences of violence must be shown. (Remember the rape in Showgirls? Same idea.) By that i don't mean her revenge as a consequence. I mean no taking out the blood, or cutting away or making light of it. These directors believe that morally we should be properly horrified and repulsed by violence. And that violence that is made palatable for viewing (or rape) actually does much more damage to people and is irresponsible. It's an interesting idea. Personally, I love this film. I could care less about the acting, because this is an "idea movie"; it's about the text and the acting is basically irrelevant. The film is a true student of "the theatre of cruetly" (artaud) and I find it cathartic. While it is a shame that Zarchi's intentions fell by the wayside during publicity, the title of the film now is too perfect to be anything else. This film is written about extensively in one of Vern's favorite books, "Men Women and Chainsaws" by Carol Clover. And the things she has to say about it (and how we ignore gender when we identify with film characters,) is pretty interesting, even though she completely ignores Hitchcock who was aware of this and using it long before she cites it has a horror movie phenom. On another topic, I thought of another comedic rape: Almodovar's Kika, which was once claimed as having the longest rape scene in movie history. Which is only true if you regard the rapes in this film as four seperate scenes.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Is the 25 minute rape scene

    by Mace Tofu

    going to be put back in the HOUNDDOG DVD? The movie didn't work for me with the shorter scene. SPETTERS had a great rape scene. 10, 9, 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 BLASTOFF! MAD MAX ass rape "Hey you turkey!" Who could forget AMERICAN ME? Or KING and the MONARCH!

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST

    About Verhoeven, Rape and Spetters

    by DerLanghaarige

    I saw a documentary about Verhoeven a few years ago where he talked about his experience with censors, when he showed an erected penis in the rape scene of Spetters. They said of course it was unnecessary and pornographic, but he said that it is no different than showing a gun or knife during a kill. There is the killer who uses his weapon to do what makes him a killer. Same with the rapist, only that his weapon is his penis.<br> Am I the only one who wants to spend one afternoon with Paul Verhoeven and talk with him about everything?

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Rape isn't funny...

    by Meglos

    ...unless you're raping a clown.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Disc Commentary with Joe Bob Briggs

    by MovieWhore

    I recently rewatchd this only because of the added Joe Bob Briggs commentary track on the disc. If you havnet seen it its almost better than seeing the movie itself ... both hilarious and insiteful at times .. I highly recommend it

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Man rape? American Me ain't funny in the least.

    by Stuntcock Mike

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 12:42 p.m. CST

    bathtub scene

    by chokinonrhodes

    fucked me up bad when i was a kid...i still cant watch that scene with both eyes open. this was the first movie i think i saw where someone was raped, and has stuck with me my entire life. great review.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 12:57 p.m. CST

    bunch of total fucking weirdos in here.....


    "You know what film had a great rape scene?!" Oh fuck off you nasty little turd. I have no respect for the pathetic female that would pork any of you fat asses. And who the fuck would carry your child? Jesus Christ.......that should be a major platform defense of abortion rights right there-- to ensure no TB'ers throwing around lines like, "That rape scene was great!!" -- ever spread their ignorant seed. We have enough stupid people in this country. Please do not spread the ignorance. Anyone who speaks gleefully about a rape scene should be shot in the balls with a fucking nail gun.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Blonde Redhead / Vern / SonicDeathMonkey

    by subtlety

    Blond Redhead - As far as the exploitation goes, I totally get what you're saying. I guess I'm just not 100% convinced that A) Zarchi is artist enough to have made a conscious artistic choice about the rape and the way it will be portrayed (particularly given the generally low quality of the rest of the cinematic aspects of the film) and B) slightly more troubling, I just have a hard time buying that he was completely ambivalent to the potential benefits of creating a really, really transgressive film. I mean, you're right that there's certainly no eroticism in the rape scene; it IS pure torture. However, this in itself is kind of a selling point for the "Video Nasties" crowd, who are simply interested in extremes of all kinds. The MOST prolonged, brutal etc etc whatever. And, point of fact, the movie DID benefit from its lurid reputation... it's the main reason it's remembered today, in fact! I think my final opinion is that Zarchi was legitimately trying to tell a story that he felt was important, but I can't really buy that he didn't think telling the most extreme story most people had seen at that time wouldn't also have its finacial benefits. I mean, it seems to me he had to know that , particularly considering who he got his funding from. But maybe its a moot point if the film and its unique style really are helpful to people who have been victims of violence... <br> btw, I'm not trying to say that the retarded guy didn't deserve her revenge, its just that the way she goes after him (especially since he IS retarded, and hence less able to make good choices... most states don't execute retarded people for this reason) seems harsh, even considering his crimes. I hold that its morally ambiguous enough to seem odd in a revenge thriller. <br><br> Vern - ha! Forgot about Pulp Fiction. That was a bonehead move. There is, however, one possibly key difference in that case... I think it may make things easier that the turnaround is so quick on Zed... he doesn't really get to finish and Marcellus doesn't get to live with his dehumanization for awhile before setting things right. I think if we got to see scenes of Marcellus dealing emotionally with his experience, it might change things... as it is, the sequence plays more like Marcellus is always in charge, it's just that Zed doesn't know it until it's too late. You know, like when James Bond inevitably gets captured (except in Casino Royale) you always know that despite what seems to be a setback, he's actually still in control of the situation. Does the fact that he was actually violated change things? Well, yeah, but its possibly not quite the same scenario as "I Spit..." or even "I'll Sleep.." he can still redeem himself if his revenge is extreme enough (as he makes it clear it will be). But your point remains a good one.<br><br> Sonic... I think you're right, that's a big part of the distinction... though I still hold that another side of that is about what kind of actions the audience can identify with.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Then there are the silent rapes

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    courtesy of the rape myth. Why does every third movie seem to have a scene where the woman says NO, then the protagonist roughs her up and she says YES? Happens all the time. That, to me, is glossed over rape.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 4:33 p.m. CST


    by Vern

    I'm with you on that one. Not to drag Harry into this one (I already feel bad for making Quint defend his review - I didn't mean to criticize) but I wince every time I see Harry refer to that scene in CRANK as being "hot" or whatever. Possibly the only movie where the hero rapes his girlfriend in front of a bus full of tourists and it's played for laughs. I guess the idea is she ultimately turns out to enjoy it so it doesn't count, which of course makes it more offensive because of what it's telling potential rapists. There's one you definitely can't pin on ISOYG.<p> And I second whoever said I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is a great movie title. There aren't many better.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 7:53 p.m. CST

    I was thinking about 'movie rape' just the other day...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    If you've seen the DeNiro/Pacino 'Righteous Kill', then read on, if you haven't then warning SPOILERS ahead.<p> In that movie there is a real weird set-up, where DeNiro's girlfriend want him to playact rape her, sneaking into her apartment and jumping out on her and forcing himself on her. She even goes out of her way to insult him because he isn't violent or rough enough towards her.<p> Then, at the end, the 'real' bad guy actually does jump out and rape her (although it isn't shown at all).<p> I am still trying to figure out what message the writer or director were trying to pass along? Be careful what you wish for? It's OK to rape if it is prearranged?<p> At least, it is obvious on the message with 'I Spit..."

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 7:59 p.m. CST

    I have to agree with WillowFan

    by CherryValance

    about some of the terminology in the review. The idea that she was flaunting her sexuality just has too much of a "she was asking for it" vibe to it. I'm sure that's not what you meant, but that's how it read. Otherwise, I agree with most of the review. I thought this was a great movie when I saw it.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 10:09 p.m. CST


    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    I also said that ISoYG was a badass title. The thing with Crank is, that scene is VERY eroticized. If you turn your brain off, it is "hot" it's only when you stop and think that it becomes repulsive and unfunny. Though, that scene is so over the top that it almost feels like the couple is simply engaging in S&M.

  • Oct. 13, 2008, 10:59 p.m. CST


    by half vader

    Man I don't often agree with you, but Amen brother. You beat me to it. Surely to write the words "great rape scene" you have to be thinking about those words? I guess not. And there's no way Mace was joking there. Even if that scene WAS a clown rape...

  • Oct. 14, 2008, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by blonde redhead

    you mentioned 'they call her one eye' and i wanted to say that i think it's a much more depressing and downbeat film than ISPOYG. do you really find it cartoonish? it's been a while since i watched it but i found it to be really disturbing, on a number of levels. <br> <br> a friend and i were watching it pretty excitedly and as it went on we were just like god, please let this be over. maybe it's the acting, but what doesn't work in 'i spit...' works all too well in 'they call her one eye'. which is to say the performances by the leads. the men in 'they call her...' are (for me anyhow) uniformly messed up and much, much better actors than in the zarchi film. the hardcore in it brings this sort of depressing finality to it that's really upsetting.<br><br> which i guess makes it more frightening to me. if you're still popping around this thread, could you elaborate a bit on what you found cartoonish in it? from the moment they put her eye out i was pretty well sick about the whole thing.

  • Oct. 14, 2008, 3:08 p.m. CST


    by menstrual_blitz

    I am REALLY sensitive about rape scenes in films, so I haven't yet summoned the nerve to see this film (especially after watching Irreversible, which fucked me up for days...seriously, what the fuck was the point of that? Shit happens? Gimmicks-&-shock?). Though, I saw Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and thought it handled the subject really well, which i think might be because Henry walks in on the rape and so the escalation isn't shown. Quint, you should review THAT movie. The opening images of murder victims in these gruesome still poses? Highlighting the fact that they've been totally objectified? That movie was amazing. On another note, when feminists were trying to raise awareness about rape they would show videos composed of clips of rape scenes from movies to students, male and female. But they found that showing those images mainly reinforced in the women the idea that they were physically weak and easily violated, while reinforcing in the males the idea that, even if they never did something like that to anyone, that it was a capability that they had. So they switched to showing clips of women acting out violently and found that the male response at the end, on the average, tended toward a less empowered/paternalistic response. Found that interesting. I won't even get started on the use of rape as spectacle in film, nor the way that the vast majority of real-life rapes are far more banal than those shown in films (though despite the banality the after-effects are still completely fucked). Rape-in-film as collective fantasy, perhaps? Ah, culture... Oh, and Dannyglovers_dickblood, i love you. You too, Vern. Saved me some typing...

  • Oct. 14, 2008, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah

    by menstrual_blitz

    and i didn't take the South Park episode as "making rape funny", if anything (and of course the genius of those guys is that they often tell a story that can be interpreted in several contradictory ways) I thought the episode was highlighting the absurdity of saying that Lucas "raped your childhood" while also lampooning the exploitive nature of hollywood rape scenes.

  • Oct. 14, 2008, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Further Thoughts

    by psychedelic

    Having read the whole talkback, I think too much credit is given for "I Spit" being a good movie. When I first watched it back in the late 80s/early 90s I thought it was the worst piece of shit I'd even seen. Watching it again when it came out on DVD (my Dad wanted revisit it so I watched with him) I saw how effective and disturbing the rape was and there was merit because of its realism. However, everything after is soooo bad, so poorly executed that it turns into a laughable turd. Its low budget or exploitation roots doesn't excuse crappy direction, wretched acting, long boring scenes, and laughable logistical logic. I understand its cult status. But a bad movie is a bad movie.

  • Oct. 15, 2008, 8:42 a.m. CST


    by half vader

    You don't get the point of Irreversible? It's there in the title! The movie takes the view that fate is inescapable, whatever shape it might take. And for once it doesn't spare the beautiful people, Hollywood-fashion. I think the backwards thing is used with sickening effectiveness, and the 'better' things get as we get to the end of the film (and beginning of the spiral), the heavier the sense of dread becomes, with a hell of a final note. And are you saying you honestly didn't know about the infamous rape scene? How could you possibly not have known exactly what you were in for? It's not like you weren't warned! You say you're REALLY (your caps) sensitive, elected to watch it anyway, and then were confused about the point of it? <p> This may be unfair, but you saying that reminds me of when I did see it. There was a woman who came out looking like she'd be "fucked up for days". I was trying to be sympathetic as obviously being a woman I could she she could be deeply affected, but the thing was, you KNOW going in to this movie what sort of stuff you're in for. You know YOURSELF, right? Anyway it was hard to find the sympathy when she had been shaken so hard by that scene, because clear warning of the scene (and the murder) including it's nature and length was given in ads, media, the posters at the cinema, the box-office, and the first time I'd seen this - on the door to the actual screening room itself. You (by which I mean her/she) couldn't possibly say "I didn't realise". Anyway, I think the "gimmick" as you say was completely integrated into the film's storytelling. Not a novelty. It's shocking, but doesn't use the usual cheap horror shock 'tactics'.

  • Oct. 15, 2008, 11:46 a.m. CST

    half vader

    by menstrual_blitz

    yeah. i 'got' irreversible. and i get what you're saying. i didn't have to watch it, chose to, etc., etc. And no, the gimmicks weren't of the horror genre sort. However, having the scenes presented in reverse a la Memento so that you wind up with the pseudo-profound 'time destroys all things' (i may be paraphrasing there, but it was close), well, no shit. Didn't really need a 10 minute long rape scene to remind me that time travel doesn't exist. And the tip-off at the end that she was pregnant just seemed like a cheap shot. The movie struck me as a pretentious version of exploitation films, with next to nothing to say, except 'check out the brutality' and 'do you feel nauseous yet?' and maybe, 'next time you argue with your boyfriend don't run into a tunnel in a skimpy dress cuz you might get raped' And to say that I'm sensitive, isn't to say that i'm kneejerk about this kind of stuff. It was a movie that was getting a lot of press, generating controversy, so I wanted to see it. My problem isn't with the fact that there was a rape in it. There just wasn't enough else there to justify it for me, that's all. I will say that the film was well-made and did have some interesting camera work and sound stuff....just over all, no.

  • Oct. 15, 2008, 7:17 p.m. CST

    I getcha.

    by half vader

    Just came off that way when I first read it. Strangely enough, I usually say how much better integrated the backwards thing is than Memento. I know pretty much EVERYONE disagrees with me on that, and I'm not doing the whole AICN TB cooler-than-thou thing there. I just feel that Memento is pretty predictable apart from the backwards thing and the surprise I got at the end was - is that IT?! Anyway like I say I don't think it's bad (i love Nolan's stuff) at all, but for me Irreversible 'worked' better. To each their own and all I guess. I was talking with another TBer (can't remember who now) about the whole Memento thing a few weeks back. I usually agree to disagree with people as I'm definitely in the minority. Should watch it again I guess. <p> And what would you have done for the end/beginning note that could have been stronger (as opposed to "a cheap shot"!) <p> I reckon you're being a bit unfair with that skimpy dress shot though. Like I said, nearly every Hollywood flick you've seen spares the beautiful people in some small-to-big way (because, you know, they're the beautiful people). This one says it doesn't matter WHO you are - and rather than being pretentious, is probably more honest than most American films you or I have ever seen. <p> Cheers.