The Return of Rape/Revenge Flicks?


The remake of  ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ trailer has hit the WWW’s, which made its debut at the Texas Frightmare Weeken.   So, take a moment to check it out.

I thought the rape/revenge flicks died off in the 1970’s but I guess director Steven R. Monroe is going to bring it back with this re-imaging.

Rape and revenge films are a subgenre of exploitation film that was particularly popular in the 1970s. Rape/revenge movies generally follow the same three act structure:

* Act I: A woman is raped/gang raped, tortured, and left for dead.
* Act II: The woman survives and rehabilitates herself.
* Act III: The woman kills all of her rapists.

I remember when I was younger that my friends and I would sit around and talk [singlepic id=1243 w=320 h=240 float=right] about if films like ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ promoted violence against women. At the time we had no idea about the subgenre – we just watched any horror film we could get our hands on.  I don’t think we came up with an official answer I just know I came to the conclusion that, at that time, I did not enjoy films that focused on rape scenes even if the victim got their revenge.  I know now that the directors claim to have made these films  ‘pro-woman’.

The director of the orginial film, Meir Zarchi said this about his film,

Zarchi said that he was inspired to make the movie after helping a young woman who had been raped in New York. He tells of how a friend of his and his daughter were driving by a park when they witnessed a young woman crawling out of the bushes bloodied and naked (he later found out the young woman was taking a common shortcut to meet with her boyfriend when she was attacked). They took her with them, took his daughter back home, and talked with the friend on whether they should take her to the hospital or to the police. They decided to take her to the police first, which they soon afterwards discovered was a mistake — the officer, whom Zarchi described as “not fit to wear the uniform”, delayed taking her to the hospital and instead insisted that she answer questions about her assailants, even though her jaw had been broken, and she could hardly talk. Finally, Zarchi insisted to the officer that they take her to the hospital right away. Zarchi said that soon afterwards the woman’s father wrote him a letter of thanks for helping his daughter, and wanted to give him a reward, which he turned down.

In the same commentary, Zarchi denied that his movie was exploitative, and that the violent nature of the movie was necessary to tell the story. He described actress Camille Keaton as “brave” for taking on the role.

The orginial film has a very odd history.

  • Camille Keaton won a Best Actress award for her role in this movie at the 1978 Catalonian International Film Festival in Spain
  • The movie was censored  and released in the United States in 1980. Many countries, such as Ireland, Norway, Iceland, and the former government of West Germany, banned this movie altogether, claiming that the movie “glorified violence against women”
  • Movie critic Roger Ebert wrote that this was the worst movie that he had ever seen, referring to it as “a vile bag of garbage…without a shred of artistic distinction,” adding that “Attending it was one of the most depressing experiences of my life.”
  • In “Lisa the Vegetarian”, a seventh season episode of The Simpsons the marquee of the Springfield drive-in advertises a double feature of I Spit On Your Grave and I Thumb Through Your Magazines.

So, with the controversy of the first film I am very interested to see how the remake follows and how public opinon will take the new ‘I Spit on Your Grave’.

What do you think?

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About author

Jason Bayless

Jason Bayless is a life-long activist and is currently working at The Pachamama Alliance. When he is not working he spends, working with Center for Farmworker Families and spending his time recording shows, writing blogs, collecting 3D movies, and playing VR games.


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