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154 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most infamous exploitation movies ever made
When movies first came out on video there were two legendary exploitation films I had to track down. One was "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the other was "I Spit on Your Grave," which is actually the more memorable film of the pair overall (although I do grant the highest place to the "hook" scene in TCM). Director Meir Zarchi's 1978 film...
Published on July 5, 2004 by Lawrance M. Bernabo

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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Let The Charming Title Fool You
I originally saw this movie in the early 80's when I was an impressionable child. It was one of those notorious films that kids whispered about--one filled with plenty of nudity and brutality. Along with "Last House on the Left" and "Faces of Death," "I Spit On Your Grave" exemplified exploitation cinema. I didn't particularly like the movie--even then I appreciated...
Published on October 9, 2006 by K. Harris


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154 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most infamous exploitation movies ever made, July 5, 2004
By 
When movies first came out on video there were two legendary exploitation films I had to track down. One was "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the other was "I Spit on Your Grave," which is actually the more memorable film of the pair overall (although I do grant the highest place to the "hook" scene in TCM). Director Meir Zarchi's 1978 film has become rather infamous, since critics hated it, audiences were outraged, and the film was banned in Germany and Great Britain. The story, such as it is, finds Jennifer Hill (Camille Keaton, Buster's grand-niece) out in the woods of Connecticut to work on a novel when she crosses the path of some local boys who decide she should be the first sexual partner for their mentally-disabled friend. When he cannot complete the rape, his friends do it for him. Then they decide that they are not done with Jennifer.
At issue are not Jennifer's specific acts of revenge, including the infamous bathroom scene, but rather the series of brutal rapes that precede them. I do not want to meet anyone who is not disturbed by these rape scenes and I think it is fairly obvious that Zarchi intended to make audiences uncomfortable. In retrospect you have to wonder about all those movies with rape scenes that do NOT upset the audience (the current obvious exception that proves the rule would be what happens in "Monster" right before the first murder). But Zarchi certainly pours it on thick, absolutely assuring that things go beyond the tolerance level of anyone who watches this film. So the bottom line is that this film will upset you and it is therefore effective at doing exactly what it wants to do. I have always considered this an "X" rated movie although I would not consider it pornographic in the traditional sense. But it is a very disturbing film and I do not think I would want my kids to see it until after they graduate college (if ever). Anyone renting this film for cheap thrills is in for a shock.
As I now understand it, this 1978 film was originally released as "Day of the Woman," but that rather innocuous title was replaced by the well known "I Spit on Your Grave," although the film was also screened as "I Hate Your Guts" and "The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill." All of this is interesting since it seems the producers were trying to pass off this film with both higher and lover levels of pretention. The cult status here is more for the shock value than any cheap artistic pretentions, that is for sure.
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207 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not a movie you watch in the presence of other people, July 27, 2004
By 
PSM/Bokor (United States) - See all my reviews
I remember first seeing " I Spit on Your Grave" twenty plus years ago when I was fifteen or sixteen years old. The video store should have never allowed me to rent it; this film deserves a stronger rating than R.

Certainly, over the years my memory had embellished the film; nonetheless, it still shocked me, today.

It is easy to forget that there are actors following a script. The film is evenly paced and unrelenting. Unlike " The Last House on the Left," there is no comic relief to remind the viewer that there is a director. One is forced to confront the brutality of rape and violence.

The actress is quite convincing and deserves recognition. The rape scenes are borderline snuff quality except for the fact the editing and directing have moments of brilliance. The men are sickening and easily hated; they are just vicious animals without any redeeming qualities, yet they are believable. Let us not forget, there are men who commit these attrocities. One can appreciate why she seeks revenge.

Without question, the rape scenes are some of the most disturbing moments in cinematic history. The castration scene is unparalleled. The special effects are just that, effective.

The DVD is an excellent package. " I Spit on Your Grave" isn't presented as a low budget film. It is art; it's not a slasher flick; it's not meant for entertainment.

Buyer beware...
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76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars At last Meir Zarchi explains himself, November 5, 2003
Well, now all the folks who wish writer/director Meir Zarchi would explain his controversial, infamous, and disturbing rape and revenge film can get their wish for the price of this Millennium edition DVD, which includes a feature-length commentary by Zarchi. In this commentary, Zarchi confirms what this film's defenders (including me) have been claiming all along -- that his intention was definitely not to promote rape to his male viewers, but rather to expose the true ugliness of the crime. He talks at length about the real-life encounter with a rape victim that inspired the film, and about the people he worked with in making it. He also discusses the technical aspects in enough detail to prove this is not the shoddy, haphazard production some folks want to claim it is. I also learned a few interesting facts about the film business in general. For example, when you submit a movie to the MPAA, they'll tell you it has to be cut to get an R rating, but they won't tell you WHAT to cut.
Besides answering your questions about the film, Zarchi's commentary also provides a clue as to what sort of person he is. Overall, he comes across as intelligent, articulate, and even compassionate.
However, he also comes across as a bit egotistical, which is why the second feature-length commentary by Joe Bob Briggs is useful for its more balanced perspective. Although Briggs defends the movie, pointing out specific scenes that exemplify its anti-rape viewpoint, he's objective enough to point out flaws where he sees them. For example, why on earth did Johnny send the mentally-challenged Matthew back to the house to kill Jennifer, when Matthew was almost certain to bungle the job? Briggs also addresses two ethical questions that have always bothered me. The first is whether Matthew deserves to die, and the second is whether Johnny's wife and children deserve to have their husband/father respectively taken away from them.
This DVD also includes various trailers, TV spots, and posters, including some promoting the movie under its original title, DAY OF THE WOMAN. There are also posted from a wide assortment of countries, in a wide assortment of languages. I wish the extras had also included the original version of the opening, with the title DAY OF THE WOMAN in the credits, but maybe there are no prints in existence.
So, if you want to own this movie on DVD, this is the edition to buy. If you own an earlier edition, you might consider selling it to raise part of the price of this one.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A vicious assault on the senses - but then, shouldn't it be?, April 7, 2000
By A Customer
In the UK, this film was on the very top of the 'video nasties' list of 1984, along with 'New York Ripper' and 'Cannibal Holocaust'. However, having finally watched it, I cannot see what all the fuss was about. True - it is a disturbing film which does feature pro-longed rape scenes and sadistic levels of revenge (very understandable too!), but comes across as exactly what it is - a 'rape/revenge shocker'.
The film itself is alittle twisted, Meir Zarchi spending almost too long showing scenes of brutal rape (however, never in a pornographic fashion - this is realistic violence and well acted). The lack of music is also very clever, adding to the realism. The plot is thin, but the acting holds it up and overall, I would suggest that if you are curious, as I was, then watch it atleast once, before jumping on the bandwagon and condemning it before even seeing it (as many others have).
This version is both uncut and fully re-mastered, another fantastic job by 'Anchor Bay' who seem to transfer most notorious classics extremely well to both VHS and DVD - forcing me to add another star to the review.
Hate this film or like it - it is well made and does have a message; the way that the message is delivered is so full on, that most viewers could be upset by it, but then, isn't this the intention anyway - do you really want to watch a film about rape that is both comfortable and enjoyable?
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why most people who hate this movie just don't get it..., June 15, 2006
By 
Kablamo! (New York City) - See all my reviews
I am so tired of reading posts about how somebody "can't believe that anyone would watch this trash," "this movie is a waste of time," etc. I am equally tired of reading the obligatory disclaimers that every supporter of this movie seems to include in posts about how watching a rape scene is so difficult, and implying that a rape scene is the most horrible thing that can possibly be filmed.

I think it's interesting that rape is so taboo, but just about any other form of violence is not at all. Look at Silence of the Lambs, for instance. That is a critically acclaimed movie that is aired on network TV at least twice a year, and it seems to be the sort of gruesome torture movie that the whole family can love! How is Buffalo Bill's serial-killing of women, and torturing of women by keeping them in a well in his basement, less disturbing than a woman being raped?

That movie not graphic enough for the argument to be valid? How about the new (and thoroughly crappy) movie, Hostel. Aside from the fact that the movie is just not a good film in the genre, look at its content: in one scene, a young girl is tortured so that her eye is removed from its socket and her face is severely burned. Now I have to ask... how is ISOYG's Jennifer's ordeal even remotely comparable to that girl's? At least Jennifer has a full physical recovery and even gets to exact revenge on all of her perpetrators!

And yet ISOYG exists only in a sort of underground world where most people who watch it and find it to be a satisfying film would be quite hesitant to admit so in mixed company. All because of the rape.

Personally, I thought this movie was fantastic because I am driven toward and satisfied by movies that strike me as being very real and generate a strong emotional response from me. I found the characters and plot to be quite believable, and the film aesthetic to be thoroughly creepy. Like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the documentary feel and the horror-juxtaposed-with-beautiful-scenery was very effective, and it reminds me of how often, in real life, there is crazy stuff going on beneath a picturesque veneer. There were so many intelligent, small details in this movie that contribute to its realness. Most Steven Spielberg flicks do not achieve that.

ISOYG has to be one of my favorite films of all time because I was utterly transfixed throughout the entire viewing, emotionally connected to it. I will never forget several of the scenes. How many films do that? I can count those that I've seen on two hands, and I have seen a LOT of movies. Further, I can't help but feel like I learned something by watching this film and all of the thinking that it stimulates about our world. These kinds of scenes play out in life every day (just watch the news) and perhaps you ignore them at your peril.

The world I live in is mostly civilized and happy. I watch a lot of movies, and few of them are horror. I would never in a million years intentionally hurt another person except in defense (or maybe in revenge, in the moment, who knows). So I don't feel guilty about watching this or enjoying it. I'm glad I can watch it from the comfort and safety of my sofa, and I hope that's the only place I'll ever see it. But if I should ever find myself the victim of something like this, perhaps I will handle it a little better without having the naivete of those who would refuse to watch such "garbage."
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't Let The Charming Title Fool You, October 9, 2006
I originally saw this movie in the early 80's when I was an impressionable child. It was one of those notorious films that kids whispered about--one filled with plenty of nudity and brutality. Along with "Last House on the Left" and "Faces of Death," "I Spit On Your Grave" exemplified exploitation cinema. I didn't particularly like the movie--even then I appreciated the finer arts. But based on its reputation and its controversial history, I knew I wanted to include this title in my extensive DVD library. Heck, it must be better than I remembered to have a Deluxe Millennium edition!

Well, in truth, it is better than I remembered. The amateurish quality lends it a gritty realism that actually works in the film's favor. Over the last couple of decades, we've become a little less sensitized to violence--some of our biggest hits are basically torture movies (think "Saw" or "Hostel"). So while the rape scenes are still quite disturbing, they are somehow less shocking. More astounding, Camille Keaton's performance is actually quite accomplished. Her reactions and subsequent revenge play out quite well.

Some claim this film as a feminist treatise, and some as vile female degradation. It's actually a bit of both--but I don't think the film merits a serious philosophical discussion. Either way, it was meant to assault your senses--and that it does.

Mind you, I'm not claiming "I Spit On Your Grave" is a great movie. But it is essential viewing for those interested in this genre. And for my money, it has held up better than "Last House On The Left"--although I do prefer the plot of "Last House".

A film entitled "I Spit On Your Grave" isn't for everyone. So don't let the charming title fool you, this isn't one for the whole family. KGHarris, 10/06.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, October 23, 2001
By 
Blahblahblah (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Spit on Your Grave (DVD)
I plan on never watching this film again. So why did I give it 5 stars? Well, art can perform more than one function. It can be used to entertain, but that isn't its only purpose. Art can also be used to get across a message or hold a mirror up to society. Unfortunately, while serious books and art can treat horrible subjects with great frankness and without entertaining and still receive great praise, movies are stereotypically seen as more of an entertainment medium, so when a movie comes along that doesn't even try to be entertaining, people don't know how to react.
This movie is not in the least bit entertaining. In fact, watching it is a rather horrible experience, but it should be. Any movie that pretends to treat the subject of rape seriously should be discomforting. This movie has one of the most powerful depictions of rape I have ever seen. Other major hollywood films that have tackled the subject of rape, like the one starring Jodie Foster (I forget its name), are lauded for their powerful depictions of rape, but when a more effective, low-budget depiction like this one comes along, one that gets across the horror of the act far more powerfully, it gets dismissed as exploitation.
Sure, the cover art is rather exploitative and seems to be geared towards attracting viewers looking for sexual thrills, and the same goes for the trailer, but the film itself is not one bit as exploitative as, say, the Deliverance. It is an excellent depiction of the brutality of rape, the sexual immaturity of rapists, the cowardly nature of the act, and the fact that it is an act committed by those who usually feel powerless in everyday life. The lead female, while staying at a remote cottage in order to write a novel, is gang raped and left for dead. She starts trying to rebuild her life (her taping together of her torn up manuscript is an excellent symbolism for this), but is then discovered to still be alive by her rapists. She then kills off the rapists one by one. Perhaps not the most admirable of choices (although they did try to murder her), but the manner in which she kills each of them, playing off of their psychological weaknesses, brilliantly makes a point about the pathetic nature of rapists.
All praise aside, it IS a disturbing movie to watch and one I hope nobody will find entertaining, and as a result I don't plan on watching it again. Once is enough. But that makes this great art.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps the most infamous exploitation film ever made, September 4, 2001
By 
This review is from: I Spit on Your Grave (DVD)
When movies first came out on video there were two legendary exploitation films I had to track down. One was "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and the other was "I Spit on Your Grave," which is actually the more memorable film of the pair overall (although I do grant the highest place to the "hook" scene in TCM). Director Meir Zarchi's 1978 film has become rather infamous, since critics hated it, audiences were outraged, and the film was banned in Germany and Great Britain. The story, such as it is, finds Jennifer Hill (Camille Keaton, Buster's grand-niece) out in the woods of Connecticut to work on a novel when she crosses the path of some local boys who decide she should be the first sexual partner for their mentally-disabled friend. When he cannot complete the rape, his friends do it for him. Then they decide that they are not done with Jennifer.
At issue are not Jennifer's specific acts of revenge, including the infamous bathroom scene, but rather the series of brutal rapes that precede them. I do not want to meet anyone who is not disturbed by these rape scenes and I think it is fairly obvious that Zarchi intended to make audiences uncomfortable. In retrospect you have to wonder about all those movies with rape scenes that do NOT upset the audience. But Zarchi certainly pours it on thick, absolutely assuring that things go beyond the tolerance level of anyone who watches this film. So the bottom line is that this film will upset you and it is therefore effective at doing exactly what it wants to do, which is supposed to be a good thing, right? I have always considered this an "X" rated movie although I would not consider it pornographic in the traditional sense. But it is a very disturbing film and I do not think I would want my kids to see it until after they graduate college (if ever). Anyone renting this film for cheap thrills is in for a shock.
As I now understand it, this 1978 film was originally released as "Day of the Woman," but that rather innocuous title was replaced by the well known "I Spit on Your Grave," although the film was also screened as "I Hate Your Guts" and "The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill." All of this is interesting since it seems the producers were trying to pass off this film with both higher and lover levels of pretention. Beyond being letterboxed, this DVD offers nothing than the cheesy original theatrical trailer. But this is one film where you would certainly like to have to hear what the director has to say.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MISUNDERSTOOD CLASSIC, January 13, 2000
By 
haggis109@hotmail.com (Footlights College, Oxbridge) - See all my reviews
This review is from: I Spit on Your Grave (DVD)
Why is this brilliant film so maligned by so many so-called film critics? It is a gripping, intelligent anti-rape film, which is brilliantly acted by a cast of unknowns(though star Camille Keaton appeared in several Italian exploitation films). The 'Videohound' reviewer said that the scenes in the film were irresponsibly portrayed, which is a total joke. The reason why this film has such an impact is because it is so realistic; because of the lack of music, the great acting, and most importantly, the fact that the film is so subtle. In the rape and the murder scenes, the viewer sees very little; there is hardly any gore or graphicness. That is not irresponsible, that is brilliant film making. Anyone who thinks this film could encourage rapists obviously hasn't seen it, as the rapists get their brutal come-uppance. In fact, this film should be shown to convicted rapists over and over, like the pavlovian therapy meted out to Alex in 'A Clockwork Orange'; It might make them think twice about raping again. I think that ISOYG comes across as a feminist film, though wether or not Meir Zarchi intended this is hard to tell.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very disturbing exploitation film, September 12, 2002
By 
Blake Kleiner (Troy, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: I Spit on Your Grave (DVD)
Getting back to the series of reviews I did on exploitation horror films like "The New York Ripper" and "Zombie," I now take the time to analyze the fiercely disturbing "I Spit on Your Grave" from writer-director Meir Zarchi. I'd seen the box for this film on movie store walls since I was about ten, and had been interested in seeing it ever since, but had always ended up passing it up for something else. Was it worth the wait? Yes. Could it have waited longer? You bet. It is a good film, but it's far from being a great film. The cult appeal of it is obvious. It was made on a low budget with shoestring cinematography and almost no makeup effects whatsoever. The makeup effects we do see are bad, so it's no wonder Zarchi decided to hide that gruesome castration behind the porcelain wall of a bathtub. Such things are better left to the imagination, as John Carpenter has pointed out to us; how it will look in the audiences mind is infinitely more terrifying. Zarchi isn't of that school though, and the violence in this film is put on display wholesale for us to digest and possibly throw up. "I Spit on Your Grave" is a merciless film.
The plot of the film is simple: A woman rents a cabin out in the woods, craving peace, quiet, and solitude to work on her first novel. She is quite attractive, and this is the first thing four men in town happen to notice when she stops by a gas station and later on gets a visit from the grocery boy. They decide to rape her. Very simple, and very disgusting, to think that there might actually be men in the world who think this way. And even more frightening yet to see the consequences of this way of thinking executed on screen in a series of vicious rapes and beatings that make the rape scene in "The Accused" look like passionate, consentual sex. Just when you think all the turmoil for this young woman is over, after she's forced to walk back home, naked, through the woods, stepping through mud and grit and trees with sharp branches, there's more to come. It seems like it never ends. Even the one man we have hope for betrays our trust, and hers. I was sick to my stomach by the time this was finally done. I know this was the reaction Zarchi was going for, but he could've done it with more style and less grit. Yes, this is disturbing, and most people might think it'd be disservicing the material to stylize it in anyway, but there really is a question of going too far here. As I've previously stated, when it's left up to our imagination, it's infinitely more terrifying. Nonetheless, the rape scenes, because they are so brutal and straightforward in their heinous nature, what ensues afterward seems justified. By the time the woman heals, we are already rooting for her, and we are one hundred percent with her when her plan to launch deadly revenge against the four men who attacked her goes into action.
On that level, I recommend this movie. It's hardcore, stomach-churning, and all-out girl-powered. The four guys in the movie are the reasons why some women hate men. ... The men in this movie are pigs. And we rejoice in the revenge of this young woman after she was sodomized again and again by the absolute bottom of the male gene pool. "I Spit on Your Grave" is a dish best served cold.
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I Spit on Your Grave (Director's Cut)
I Spit on Your Grave (Director's Cut) by Meir Zarchi (DVD - 2011)
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