in Horror Movie Reviews

I Spit On Your Grave 1978

I Spit On Your Grave 1978 – whose original title was Day of the Woman – is one of the most controversial horror movies of all time. When it was first released as Day of the Woman in 1978, the extent of the violence was so graphic that the movie had to be edited down quite considerably, in strict adherence to the regulations of the Motion Picture Association of America. However, in 1980, the Jerry Gross Organisation, who were known for making a series of grind house movies, including Zombie Flesh Eaters, gave the film a wider release. They restored many of the cuts and renamed the film I Spit On Your Grave. And that is the title which instantly springs to mind when people remember its notorious reputation for graphic violence against women.

The movie tells the story of a writer called Jennifer Hills (Camille Keaton), who sets up residence in an idyllic lakeside cabin to write her first novel. Unfortunately, her presence in the area attracts the worst kind of attention in the form of three local roughnecks: Johnny, a garage owner, and his two cronies, Stanley and Andy. The latter two, on discovering where she lives, begin to cruise by her cabin in their speedboat, and during the night they surreptitiously prowl around in the nearby woods, studying her cabin with obvious baleful intent.

A couple of days later, they surprise Jennifer in their speedboat as she relaxes on the lake, and tow her to the shore. There follows a most horrific and graphic rape scene, perpetrated by the three men, which also involves Matthew, a mentally impaired grocer boy. Virtually no dialogue is spoken throughout this lengthy, disturbing scene, which lasts for almost half an hour. The gang then order Matthew to kill Jennifer, but he can’t bring himself to do it. However, later on, he lies by saying that he did stab Jennifer to death.

As the weeks go by, Jennifer’s mental state deteriorates as she relives the events of that horrific day. She has now changed from the happy, carefree, level-headed girl who arrived here from New York City into an extremely disturbed, bitter and vengeful victim. Consequently, all she can think of now is exacting a gruesome revenge on the scum that violated her body and who very nearly killed her.

As it turns out, she certainly shows no mercy whatsoever in giving her violators their comeuppance. The halfwit Matthew is coaxed into a sex session… and is hung by the neck. Whilst luxuriating in a hot bath, Jennifer brutally castrates the aroused Johnny… and relishes his screams of agony as he bleeds to death.

When Stanley and Andy learn of Johnny’s disappearance, they make for Jennifer’s cabin in their speedboat, worried about their friend’s safety. Brandishing an axe, Andy leaves the boat and confronts Jennifer, but she dispossesses him of the weapon and buries it right in his back. She dispatches Stanley with equal brutality, disemboweling him with the boat’s propellers as he drowns. As Andy and Stanley’s bodies sink into the lake, the avenged Jennifer wears a twisted smile as she speeds away on the boat.

Although I Spit On Your Grave was severely condemned by critics for its explicit content, and although it was banned from the cinemas by the censors, who took a very dim view of its apparent glorification of violence against women, the movie did eventually find its way onto home video in many of these countries, gaining it a new audience. In the United Kingdom, the film was cited as a video nasty.

In 2010, the movie was remade, with actress Sarah Butler taking the role of Jennifer. Two sequels followed.

You can buy the Special Blu Ray edition of I Spit On Your Grave 1978 by clicking on the image link above this article.

Alan Toner