I Spit on Your Grave title

AKA: Day of the Woman, I Hate your Guts, The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill

Tag Line : The woman has just cut, chopped, broken and burned four men beyond recognition.
But no jury in America would ever convict her.

I Spit on Your Grave Of all the films I've had to review, this is certainly one of the ones I had the toughest time sitting through (please note that this is the uncut European version I am reviewing here, NOT the heavily censored UK print). The film revolves around a young writer named Jennifer Hills (Cammille Keaton) who has decided to rent a lakeside cabin in a small country town whilst she works on her new novel.

However, her hopes for peace and quiet are shattered when she catches the attention of a group of young redneck country boys who decide to have a little "fun" with her. Whilst out on the lake in her canoe, they turn up in a motorboat and drag her to shore, where they then spend the next ten minutes of the film brutally gang raping her.

She staggers away from her ordeal and tries to make it back to her cabin. Unfortunately, she finds they've decided to come back for some more, and so ends up being held down, battered and raped for a second time. They leave her again, and she finally manages to make it back to her cabin where she attempts to call for help, only to find her attackers are there waiting for her, and so gets beaten up and done over a THIRD time.

One of the group, a retarded lad named Mathew, is given a knife and sent back in to finish her off. But finds himself unable to do so, so just smears the knife blade in some blood and tells them he's done it. She spends the next 2 weeks recovering from her ordeal and plotting her revenge on the group who violated her.

The first thing she does is lure Mathew, the retarded chap, back to her cabin and leads him into the woods on the promise of some more fun. Unfortunately, as soon as he closes his eyes she slips a noose around his neck and hoists him up on it. She then seduces the second attacker and takes him to the cabin, where she lures him into the bath. Once in the water, she produces a knife and (in one fail swoop) removes his manhood, leaving him to remark "oooh feels so good it hurts" until a sudden spurt of blood shocks him into realising what she's done.

The last 2 members of the group, realising that something is amiss, head on over to the cabin in their motorboat to sort her out. Only to get a taste of their own medicine when she suddenly appears and shoves them into the water, then proceeds to drive at them at high speed wielding an axe (you can guess the rest).

Brutal, shocking and most definitely not for the fainthearted, the film is in many ways like a female Death Wish. However, many will undoubtedly be put off by the horrendous rape scenes (3 in total, which in the uncut version are stretched out over 40 minutes!!!) which, unless you are watching the VERY heavily truncated UK release, are a pretty unbearable ordeal and had me reaching for the fast-forward button. In either version though, the scenes where she wreaks a bloody revenge will undoubtedly have you cheering for the films heroine.

Overall Marks : 7/10.

Terrifying Trivia.

  • Director Meir Zarchi apparently based the idea for the film on a real life incident, whereby he and a colleague came across a girl wandering through a park who had just been raped by a gang of thugs. They took her to a local police station, only to realise they should have taken her to the hospital as the police were totally unsympathetic and were more interested in asking her "what she was doing there" and "why she wasn't at home", despite the fact she had been badly beaten, and even had a broken jaw. He drew on this real-life experience, to produce a film showing the true unpleasantries of rape, and took inspiration from films such as "Death Wish", "Straw Dogs" and "Deliverance" to show the films heroine exacting her own revenge, rather than suffer any further indignities at the hands of police bureaucracy.

  • Cammille Keaton, who plays Jennifer, is actually the grand-niece of the late silent movie star Buster Keaton. She has only starred in about 10 films during her 20 year career, her last film was in 1993.

  • The US distributors had to remove the second rape scene and tone down the other scenes of rape and violence in order to gain an "R" certificate for the films release. However they then sneakily issued the full uncut version theatrically as an R rated feature. The MPAA didn't catch on for over a year, despite the fact that many reviewers had complained about the film being too strong for an R rating.

  • The film was originally released in the US to the drive-in movie circuit under the title "Day of the Woman". Subsequent drive-in releases as "I Spit on your Grave" were missing several scenes of dialogue, although these were re-instated for the video releases.

  • The US theatrical release was not very successful, however when released onto tape sales went ballistic. Reportedly outselling the then Academy award winning film "Ordinary People" by 20-1, and even getting as high as no 24 in the Billboard best sellers list of 1981.

  • A proposed un-official sequel tentatively titled "Return to the Grave" went into production during the early-90's, directed by Donald Farmer (former editor of US horror mag "Splatter Times"). The film starred Cammile Keaton again, but after she pulled out of the project partway through, the movie was shelved. It was eventually released under the title "Savage Vengance" and Cammille Keaton was credited as Linda Lehl.

  • The film was never theatrically released in the UK, but did enjoy a brief uncut video release during the early 80's. However this, like so many other films of the time, was subsequently listed on the governments "Video Nasties" list and prosecuted for obscenity. In fact it was this film, along with "Driller Killer" and "SS Experiment Camp", that caused the Video Nasties furore of the 80's in the first place.

  • The film was finally submitted to the BBFC for a UK video release in 2001, and was eventually passed. However this version suffered over 7 minutes worth of cuts. These VERY heavily trimmed the 3 rape scenes, however the revenge scenes were all left intact. The film was resubmitted in 2003 with the offending rape scenes "reframed" so they appear to happen just "off camera". This version got through with fewer cuts, trimming only the second rape scene. However, although more complete then the previous release, its still a long way off the uncut version.

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