Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I Spit On Your Grave [aka Day of the Woman] (1978) - A Review

In my review of The Girl Next Door I talked about the point where the comfort level with a movie or book becomes breached and the movie or book ceases to be entertainment and becomes something else entirely. I Spit On Your Grave is a great example of what I was talking about. A couple of days ago my dad got home from a trip to Wal-Mart and in one of the bags was a copy of this movie. My dad knew I'd been keeping my eye on it a bit so he'd gotten it for me. Well, it's not that I really wanted the movie. As with all things slightly depraved, I was curious if the movie was really anything like I'd heard. I knew it would be bad but I wasn't sure if it was going to be Irreversible-bad or The Last House on the Left-bad. Well, the movie is a lot like the original The Last House on the Left. Only in this movie the woman doesn't get killed halfway through the film. 

Jennifer Hills is a New York author and she goes to the countryside to work on her new book. There she hopes to find peace, solitude, and a strong connection with her muse. And it all goes well until she gets the feeling that she's being watched. But that can't be, right? Well, it is. Then four men trap her, rape her, let her go traipsing through the woods trying to escape, rape her again, let her go home, and then beat the shit out of her and rape her again. Three of the men leave the scene of the crime, but their dumb buddy is told to stay behind and kill her so she can't identify any of them. Well, the dumb guy doesn't kill her with the knife he is given. Instead he just covers the knife in some blood from her chin and gives it to his buddies. They think he killed her and poor Jennifer is given time to recover from her ordeal without having to face her attackers again any time soon. Naturally, Jennifer is quite pissed off. So... she decides to make those four assholes pay with their shitty little lives. Revenge is the name of the game in the last forty minutes of the movie. So if you can survive the first hour then maybe you'll find the final part of the movie a bit rewarding. The castration scene ("It won't stop bleeding!" is what the guy screams) is almost so compelling that it almost garnered an applause from me. But that scene also made me wince, too. Can't help it. It's not every day you get to see someone get their yang chopped off. Well... no, you don't really see anything, but it's just the thought that bothered me. 

The rape scenes are very uncomfortable to watch. Well, duh, right? They're rape scenes. There's nothing sexy about this movie even though there's tons of nudity. I'm pretty sure this movie will curb the ole libido for a while, too. But this movie isn't really scary in terms of "ooga-booga" effects. It's just very... documentary-like. The movie is conveying what happens without much suspense and with a lot disgust. 

Camille Keaton, granddaughter of Buster Keaton, performed the role of the tormented heroine rather well, I thought. Considering that the rest of the cast was a group of virtual no names who haven't been in any other movies and that the direction was a little bit lacking (in the long list of great directors I doubt you'll find Meir Zarchi's name). Camille Keaton is going to be in Rob Zombie's new movie The Lords of Salem, I believe. Maybe she won't get raped this time. One can only hope. 

I know there is a remake of I Spit On Your Grave and the revenge scenes are supposed to be a lot more gruesome than the ones in the original. And the acting is supposed to be better, too. Not sure if I'd want to watch it. Although there was a preview for it on the my DVD where the woman was holding a pair of shears while one guy was tied down to a chair. Hmm... wonder what she was going to cut off? I'll give you three guesses.

There's also a sequel to the original I Spit On Your Grave called Savage Vengeance. It's an "unofficial" sequel and from what I've read the movie isn't even worth the time to track it down. So I won't bother with that one. 

But, for what it's worth, I do believe that I Spit On Your Grave is a better movie than The Last House on the Left. But I probably won't watch either movie again any time soon. 

NOTE: It looks like Camille Keaton actually married Meir Zarchi after making this movie. Ah, nothing says romance quite like love on a rape-revenge movie set. Unfortunately, their marriage only lasted for a few years. Well, ya win some and ya lose some, right?


  1. I've never seen I Spit On Your Grave and I had never seen The Last House On The Left. Recently The Last House On The Left was a cheap blu-ray at Wally world so I picked it up. First, I'm not sure why Last House needs to be on blu-ray. The print looks like it just came from the drive in movie. Last house is supposed to be some kind of landmark horror film but I don't see it. I think the film could have been 30 minutes and been better. Seems like long torture scenes were substituted for story. Maybe it was the first film to be so shocking but just because you're first doesn't make you're movie good.

    For another take, here is Joe Bob's review of I Spit On your Grave.

    I will have to see I Spit On your Grave, not because I'm going to like it but because I love to see films that are considered landmarks and try and figure out why.

  2. Yeah, you're not going to enjoy this movie. I understand where the guy is coming from in his review in that link, but I don't believe that this movie is really worth all the hype. Controversial, sure. But good in terms of film making? Not very. And 24 minutes of rape scenes are a bit much even for me. I just don't feel that the end result was worth that kind of emotional gut-wrench.

    I've heard the remake of TLHOTL is better than the original. But it would almost have to be because there aren't many movies that could be worse than the original.