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Overall Rating

Awesome: 19.78%
Worth A Look: 24.18%
Pretty Bad: 13.19%
Total Crap: 14.29%

5 reviews, 61 user ratings

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I Spit On Your Grave (1978)
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by Scott Weinberg

"DVD technology offers fresh perspective to a universally detested movie."
3 stars

Long hailed as one of the most vile films ever made, Meir Zarchi's "I Spit On Your Grave" is most assuredly an intermittently amateurish and entirely ugly piece of cinema, but there's no way this movie deserves the loud and hateful reputation its earned. In a medium where the limp and safe Jodie Foster flick "The Accused" is considered an 'unflinching' look at the horrors of rape I suppose something like "I Spit On Your Grave" would be considered unwelcome. It's that ugly.

But pulsing underneath the 'grimy horror' exterior is a film that actually has something to say, and I'd contend that the movie gets its point across astonishingly well. If you're the sort who wants to see a 'rape flick' for the deviant titillation of it all, then I suppose that I Spit On Your Grave could fit the bill capably, but that's a pretty nasty reason to rent a film, isn't it?

Sort of a female (and absolutely more effective) version of Charles Bronson's Death Wish flicks, I Spit On Your Grave offers the simple tale of one city girl, four backwoods rapists, and a collection of grisly death scenes. But it also delivers a visceral experience generally untapped in the safer studio flicks and is a film that will stick with you for quite a while.

The infamous rape sequences provoke all sorts of reaction in different viewers. World-famous film critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert spearheaded a 1978 campaign to have the film removed from theaters, the doddering pundits complaining about childish audience reaction to the film's brutal scenes of violence. Misogyny was the word of the day, and I Spit On Your Grave (also known as Day of the Woman) was the new whipping boy of those who like to decide what movies people should be ALLOWED to see.

Lost in all the outraged uproar was the rather blatant fact that the film was as 'pro-woman' as one could expect from a film about violence upon women. Whenever a studio flick attempts the oh-so-touchy subject of sexual abuse, the result is nearly always watered down and muted for mass consumption.

But ask anyone who's seen I Spit On Your Grave if it's a film that celebrates rape - or one that presents the abuse as something akin to the world's most horrific torture. So painful are these scenes to watch that many mistake the ugliness for exploitation. I'd respectfully disagree. (Most of the flick's Exploitation Value comes in the murder-laden third act.)

Gaspar Noe's controversial new film Irreversible is currently taking a lot of media flak for its stunningly explicit sequences of gang rape - yet still the film has earned more than its share of supporters. Such was not the case back in 1978 when I Spit On Your Grave (retitled as such by the producers in an effort to bring in the horror crowd) hit theaters. Most likely because the film is low-budget and amateurish in many ways, people saw it as a despicable and leering Showcase of Rape.

So it's clear I think this is an unjustly vilified movie, but that's not to say I'd call it "brilliant" in any way. Save for the lead performance by the long-suffering Camille Keaton, the acting is atrocious across the board. Particularly annoying is the ever-doddering backwoods 'retard' character, though each of the actors portraying the rapists does manage to do what's required: you will hate each one a whole lot and therefore cheer when our heroine finally doles out some gruesome vengeance.

A tough film to recommend but one that certainly deserves to be seen with objective eyes, I Spit On Your Grave may thrill you, repulse you, or surprise you by being a bit more thoughtful than its detractors would lead you to believe - but ultimately you'll decide that for yourself. Considering how many powerful people detested this movie, it's a testament to the film that it still even exists.

And it's Elite Entertainment who got their hands on the infamous little Indie, and to say they've given the flick a Special Edition treatment would be a fair assessment indeed. Two separate audio commentaries are included, both of which are fascinating regardless of your opinion on the film. Track 1 features writer/director Meir Zarchi, who begins discussion by reading numerous bile-filled missives of critical hatred before offering his own arguments on the film's behalf. Given how secretive Zarchi has been over the years (particularly where this film is concerned), this commentary marks an editorial coup for the folks at Elite. Even more entertaining is Track 2, which is delivered by none other than B-Movie Mega-Guru Joe Bob Briggs. If you've ever thought of dismissing Briggs as just some cornpone movie freak, two minutes of this commentary will prove that theory wrong. Colorful, articulate, clearly well-informed, and very very funny, Briggs offers one of the most satisfying commentary tracks I've heard in years.

Also included are large handfuls of more traditional extras, including theatrical trailers, TV spots, photo galleries, review excerpts and poster artwork. Also noteworthy is the relatively brilliant Widescreen transfer, as anyone's who seen the old VHS version could immediately attest.

DVD-wise, every infamous cult flick should be treated this well.

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originally posted: 05/01/04 22:34:30
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User Comments

8/26/18 Marianne Whyte Camille Keaton's rape scene made me want to try anal sex with my HS boyfriend. 5 stars
2/13/17 morris campbell another sleazy rape and revenge flick 1 stars
4/20/15 stanley welles a powerful bit of revenge cinema 4 stars
7/08/11 moose rapper Monster A Go-Go thinks this movie is "Ho-Hum" lol 5 stars
4/18/11 action movie fan decent very graphic rape revenge film predictable but worth it 3 stars
2/28/11 art a DRIVE-IN CLASSIC! 5 stars
1/08/11 mr.mike Works for genre fans. 4 stars
11/14/10 Yo I never ever want to see this film again. 2 stars
4/17/10 Durwood Weak, fakey rip-off of Deliverance. In real life, country folk have high moral values. 1 stars
10/20/08 Monster A Go-Go The title is the best thing about this notorious but ho-hum revenge flick 3 stars
7/23/08 DM Issues of morality aside, objectively considered, this is a uniformly terrible movie. 1 stars
6/29/08 BNorm Greatest last line of dialougue in film history: "Suck it Bitch!" that's classic 5 stars
3/04/08 Jen Cherry Pretty sad 2 stars
2/17/08 ravindra its just too hot 5 stars
12/20/07 Kirk Must see list for trailer park trash folk!! 1 stars
11/29/07 art AN EXCELLENT slasher movie superb 4 stars
7/11/07 Total Crap I love revenge movies. just like Last House, but with better killings. 4 stars
11/29/06 David Pollastrini good gore with a little irony. 4 stars
6/11/06 jj The move let you that after something bad happon to you you can recover. 4 stars
4/18/06 Dave Vicious unbelievable film. 1 stars
3/27/06 ALBERT love that axe! 2 stars
2/06/06 dupadoit it blows 1 stars
6/21/05 Bruce Lee good 4 stars
3/17/05 Mark Smith Extremely Scary 4 stars
11/09/04 Naomi Great revenge!!!!! Payback is hell !!!!!!! 5 stars
10/16/04 sdsd good 4 stars
7/03/04 Camille Keaton is very sexually erotic in this movie. 5 stars
6/07/04 Ryan Clark Disturbing rape sequences, but Camille Keaton's performance makes it all worthwhile. 4 stars
5/17/04 intelligent single woman this really affected me years ago when I first viewed it--great movie for revenge on men! 5 stars
5/04/04 Joseph Cicala A movie you hate to love... but you can't help it 4 stars
1/26/04 Eric The best porno ever!!!!!! 5 stars
10/17/03 Sugarfoot I spit on this shit! 1 stars
7/24/03 Max Totally repulsive, the worst movie ever made!!! 1 stars
4/13/03 Zargo great fun, but i don't see it as anything feminist or shit like that 5 stars
3/02/03 STG3 Christopher Norman Kulik Watch Millenium Edition on DVD, listen to the commentaries; Ebert doesnt know shit!!! 5 stars
3/01/03 becky The bathtub scene is one of the best in movie girlfriends and I went nuts!!! 5 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Surprisingly involving; great full-frnotal nudity!!!! 4 stars
12/22/02 Pigwidgeon A servicable antidote to right-wing fratboy whining about "feminazis" 3 stars
11/23/02 Charles Tatum Ebert is right- the absolute worst film ever made 1 stars
8/02/02 artemishia hey, Horrorluver, robert ebert doesnt know shit! this movie kicks ass! 4 stars
4/29/02 Sugarfoot A perverse pleasure to watch the woman get revenge on the guys 3 stars
4/03/02 Edfink Lombardo Disturbing to the point of discomfort...This film never should have been made...Total shit 1 stars
2/06/02 twh repulsively interesting 3 stars
6/13/01 King Jackass The first 70 minutes or though suck, but once she gets her revenge it gets better. 2 stars
2/27/01 Mike Many cult classics are poorly directed, and acted, but as far as one of the BEST this rates 5 stars
2/25/01 Jacob Myers I watched this with my mother 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy So good... 3 stars
2/14/01 Bully very good 5 stars
2/07/01 m Violent? Of course. Exploitation? Nah! 4 stars
12/29/00 Maggie it was so disturbing! why the hell would someone make a movie like this? i had nightmares!! 2 stars
11/21/00 Arthur A film that kicks ass, a very insperational film 5 stars
11/15/00 MiS^DeMeAnOr bad bad acting, slow movies, but i halfway enjoyed watching her get her revenge! 3 stars
6/16/00 DAVID This may of been bad film making but i still enjoyed the movie and didnt take it seriously! 3 stars
4/17/00 Bob Bobson this movie sucked ass!!! 1 stars
1/06/00 william christiansen this is one unforgettable movie that rates closely with Caligula....YYYYYeck!!!!!!!!!!! 2 stars
12/10/99 Hutson Olsen I Spit on Your Grave is an imperative watch for all those who enjoy scum in filmdom. 5 stars
11/22/98 little jerry Has the peculiar effect of being a trash film that turns on you.Impressively directed. 5 stars
10/28/98 Silent Rob Both from a historical and social perspective, this trash-a-thon still holds up! 4 stars
10/15/98 {{{OZ}}} As an adrenaline revenge fest, it certainly get's you going. It's awful, but trashy fun. 4 stars
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  02-Feb-1978 (R)
  DVD: 08-Feb-2011


  02-Jul-1978 (X)

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