So here we are again talking about yet another film involved in the DPP72/Video Nasty controversy of the 1980’s. This time I thought I would talk about I Spit on Your Grave; this is always going to be a controversial film to talk about what with its plot basically being about the rape of a woman and then her gruesome revenge.
I decided to tackle I spit on your grave at this point because I figured after a Zombie/Demon film and then a well basically a mocumentery that I wanted to carry on with a diffrent type of film so went for the revenge film, I just figured it would be more intresting to keep mixing things up instead of wwatching previously banned zombie movie after previously banned Zombie movie.
The contreversy surounding this film is not helped by the fact that the film contains a 25 minute rape scene, when hearing this it seems a little too much to show for a film, one might argue that you could understand that she had been raped and that it was terrible even if you were only shown a moment or two of it even from a distance. In my opinion though the viewer is supposed to view the main female character as a hero and sympathise with her situation and even see her revenge as justified even if it is incredibly violent.
I think what I was trying to get across is that the film was trying to put you in her place, trying to make you feel violated, I think a lot of the issues with this film revolved around some people being scared people would get off on the rape when that was not the intention at all, your supposed to be revolted by it and want it to stop. Yes I admit that with every film, there are at least two meanings and two sets of feelings, the first will be those that were intended by the director/writer the other will be down to the individual watching its personal interpretation, so yes you can in theory design a scene to shock which ends up instead arousing someone but if you think thats reason to ban something then you would have to be prepared to ban almost everything, after all we live in a world were there are people out there who have the strangest thoughts and desires and triggers you only have to watch a documentery or two to find that out (there is a woman who eats sofa ccushions, a man in a sexual relationship with his car and thats just things I have bumped into in the last week.)
Does it say something about our society now that the remake of this movie came out with virtually no fuss being made in the media about it and yet in the 80’s the makers of the original version faced prosecution? Maybe it says that we are a sicker society one which is more willing to ignore shocking things and to take them for granted as part of life, or maybe it shows that we are a more enlightened society which is less eager to sensor things and hide them away from the public, one which is more willing to acknowledge different types of art form and the complex questions they wrestle with.
British feminist Julie Bindel actively opposed the original film when it was released in the UK. She later changed her mind and she has now said that she considers it to be "a feminist film". Yet the late and great Roger Ebert gave both the original and the remake zero stars in fact Ebert Often referred to the original as the worst movie ever made. My own opinion on the film is more flexible like Julie Bindel’s. The first time I watched the film I found it hard to swallow, I didn’t particularly want to watch twenty five minutes of a woman being raped regardless of whether it was fake or not, it just felt wrong and watching it I felt for want of a better term uncomfortable. I have to admit though that I never felt so much as a shred of sympathy for the men as she killed them, I always thought that they were getting exactly what they deserved and I have to ask would I have felt like this if the rape had not been as intense as it was?
Thinking about it in depth I do think there are lots of ways you could show how tortured she was without having to show as much of the rape, and I even think with some work that you could keep the impact. Now I have never been raped but I have been beat and held hostage and although the event itself was horrible it was all of the things after that were really horrid, the flashbacks and the fears it brought to the surface, I think a smart writer could have showed more of how it affected her than of it actually happening yet still have you understanding her anger and feeling that on some level her seeking violent revenge was justified.
Maybe it is just my personal view but I found the 2010 focused less on the rape but this combined with the fact that they made one of the villains a little more sympathetic, yes he was mentally disabled in the original but he just seems even more so in this one to the point you wonder how much of what he was involved in he understood.
I also found the main character of Jennifer to be very different between the two films, in the original she seemed like a regular woman who had been driven to her actions because of her anger at what had happened to her, she did some twisted things in the pursuit of her revenge but they seemed plausible for a regular woman to have done. In comparison new Jennifer just seemed like she suddenly turned in to some kind of female Rambo, I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had summersaulted through the air wielding dual machine guns. As with most modern horror movies, the remake has plenty of what you could call gross-out scenes in fact they seem to make up the majority of the film but I guess this is part of the way it tries to appeal to a new audience. I think that as a society we find it more acceptable to allow people to see extreme gore rather than sex, which is in itself strange, and maybe that’s one of the reasons the modern take got less flack because some of its attention had moved from the rape and towards violence.
Personally I don’t think this film should have been banned, sure some of it is difficult to watch and if someone told me that they particularly enjoyed watching the rape scene I would be very concerned but I believe that this film tells a story which asks important questions if you just open your mind and really listen to the themes that are running through it.
Which you should watch the old or the new depends entirely on personal taste do you prefer the raw nature of the original with a believable heroine, believable gore and some tense scenes that are hard to watch or would you prefer a film with a more modern flavour? As for me, well I will take the original every time.
I didnt really give the film any kind of score when reviewing it, I just talked about why it was banned and how times had changed, if I was to try and pin a score to the film though it would have to be something around a 6, but I would deffinetly give the film a warning, if your easily triggerd or upset then it is not for you. Lets face it there is a certain safty in something like the Evil Dead because we all know that Zombies do not exist yet things like rapists and murderers are actually out there wwhich I think makes them more freightening because the things seen in a film like this could actually happen. I dont think it deserved banning but it deserves its 18 and some sensible caution in who you show or recomend it to.