Saturday, June 4, 2011
I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978)
A film that's been both hated and praised by feminists and critics everywhere. There isn't really any middle ground and I've had many arguments with various girlfriends trying to defend the virtues of this sleazy spectacle. To me this is the highpoint of rape/revenge films. Seeing this movie in a theater recently was an interesting experience. I recall Roger Ebert's original review where he said 42nd street audience members cheered on the rapists. While I didn't experience that I did realize there are a few funny bits in places that originally watching this alone in a dark room I didn't find all that amusing. The semi-retarded character of Matthew with his stupid Gilligan hat is just too goofy of a fuck not to laugh at even while the most horrendous scenes are unfolding.
I don't feel any need to go into a plot synopsis on this here since rape/revenge tells you everything you need to know. Yes, it's as simplistic as that but also as purely emotional as that. This movie disturbed me upon my first viewing back in the VHS days and I'll never forget that feeling no matter how many times I revisit it. This movie is supposed to disturb, that's the point that Ebert missed or disregards. This movie has a power that few films live up to and for that it will always be one of the best examples of a classic 70's exploitation movie.
As far as the remake goes, I haven't seen it but everything I've read makes it seem like they turned the revenge part of the film into an excuse for showcasing elaborate SAW-like traps which seems like a terrible idea. Our victim, Jennifer, wasn't a survival expert or an advanced engineer. She was just a writer, just a normal person who is brutalized by her fellow human beings and that's why we can relate.