Monday, October 29, 2012

Horror Thoughts ‘12—I Spit on Your Grave (1978) *

R, 101 min.
Director/Writer: Meir Zarchi
Starring: Camille Keaton, Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Anthony Nichols, Gunter Kleemann

Some times the worst results can come from the most earnest of efforts. I have no doubt that the makers of this 70s cult classic thought that they were making cinematic gold when they filmed this ultra low budget exploitation flick that was obviously inspired by Wes Craven’s “Last House on the Left.” The plot is too similar to be a coincidence.

The story involves a woman who takes a secluded vacation home by a lake to write a book. She is harassed and eventually raped by four local men in the woods. One of the men is mentally challenged. She survives her attack and takes revenge on her attackers.

I’m sure the filmmakers felt they were producing a story of female empowerment by having the rapists pay the ultimate price at the hands of their victim, but what they end up with is a gross depiction of sexist ideals and a woman who chooses to sink to the level of evil that fueled her abuse. But, the message is hardly the problem with this movie. The acting is terrible. The tension never builds, and no real motivations are ever presented for the behavior by either side.

The whole thing is approached with no passion whatsoever. It’s all so much of a bother for everyone involved. And, the second rape of the woman boarders on the comic in the nature of a clown in the way the rapist goes at her. What the hell does that guy think he’s doing to her? I don’t think they told him. It is a rare moment of passion in the film, but someone might’ve wanted to give this guy a lesson in anatomy and explained just which organs were involved in the act of rape. Instead, I think they just told him to pretend he was on a spaceship and imagine what his 6-year-old self would do as he blasted into the sky.

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