I Spit On Your Grave Image

NEW TO BLU-RAY! Writer/director Meir Zarchi’s I Spit On Your Grave is the grindhouse era’s Gone With The Wind. This rape-revenge epic was initially a flop when released in 1978 as Day of the Woman. However, it became a smash in 1980 when distributor Jerry Gross re-titled it and marketed it as a horror picture. It played the flea palaces of Times Square as well as several other inner-city theaters for years, gaining the reputation as dangerous. Fangoria magazine, which exposed the world to the most violent movies of the 20th century, refused to write anything about it for six years.

Roger Ebert campaigned against I Spit On Your Grave vigorously. His scathing 1980 review seems to be more about the grindhouse audience watching the film rather than the actual product. He went on about how the creatures around him were cheering on the rapists, echoing the previous concerns censors had about A Clockwork Orange and its effect on potentially deranged viewers and the acts it would inspire. Ebert does mention a woman in the back of the theater shouting “Right on, Sister!” when the victim unleashes revenge. He wondered what this woman would have said about the first hour of onscreen rape. I suspect if he had deemed to speak to that woman, she would’ve told him how accurately Zarchi presents the ugly reality of rape in a way nothing had before.

Jennifer hunts down each of her rapists and kills them in horrible ways, as no jury would convict her.”

The plot follows Jennifer (Camille Keaton), a writer from New York who has rented a house by the lake in the woods to write her novel for the summer. Groceries are delivered by a local developmentally challenged man, Matthew (Richard Pace), whom she befriends. Matthew talks about his crush on Jennifer to his fishing buddies Johnny (Eron Tabor), Stanley (Anthony Nichols), and Andy (Gunter Kleemann). Knowing child-like Matthew is a virgin, his friends harass and corner Jennifer under the pretense they’re helping Matthew have his first experience with a woman.

They gang-rape Jennifer repeatedly while beating her to a pulp, eventually goading Matthew to join in. They leave her in the house a broken mound and give Matthew a knife to go back in and finish her off. Matthew pretends to go through with it but leaves the woman alive. She allows herself a couple of weeks to heal and goes to a church to ask God for forgiveness for what she is about to do. She then does what it says on the poster: Jennifer hunts down each of her rapists and kills them in horrible ways, as no jury would convict her.

I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

Directed and Written: Meir Zarchi

Starring: Camille Keaton, Richard Pace, Eron Tabor, Anthony Nichols, Gunter Kleemann, etc.

Movie score: 8.5/10

I Spit On Your Grave Image

"…the film's most notable feature, the cathartic castration of the male member."

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