Blu Release – 4/5
I Spit on Your Grave
Director – Meir Zarchi (Don’t Mess with My Sister!, I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu)
Starring – Camille Keaton (Savage Vengeance, Sex of the Witch), Eron Tabor, and Richard Pace
Release Date – 1978
Rating – 4/5
When I was in high school I befriended another horror fan. He liked some of the same films as I did but his taste in horror went in a different direction than mine. One weekend I stayed over at his house and we dug into some of his movies. We watched a few of his Ernest tapes and then he showed me I Spit on Your Grave. My older brother had told me about this one before but I had never seen it but nothing could prepare me for what I was about to see. This viewing stuck with me for years.
Sometime ago I was sent the press release from Ronin Flix for their new box set of I Spit on Your Grave on blu. I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send over a review copy of this amazing set. Thanks guys!
**spoiler Alert** The film follows a New York writer who goes into the country to relax where she can write her first novel. A group of locals spot her and before long they make her their object of offection. When she refuses their advancements they decide that if she doesn’t want them willingly then they will force her to have them. The four men then gang rape her and leave her for dead. After two weeks she appears and one by one she seduces and kills the men that had raped her. **Spoiler Alert**
I’ve been a fan of horror and exploitation going on 20 years now and very few films have can make me feel disgusted and anxiety ridden like ISoYG. There is so much going on in this film but for the average movie fan you will find yourself squiriming for most of the film. I know the film faced backlash when it was first released but if you get your head out of your ass you will see that this film is one of the most important pieces of exploitation cinema. Not only is it a staple in the rape/revenge sub-genre but it also works as one of the earliest pieces of feminist horror.
The acting in this one is great which is amazing considering most of the cast had no prior experience. Camille Keaton is absolutely gorgeous and plays the innocent characters perfectly. After the violation she becomes a calculating and bloodthirsty character that will stop at nothing to get her revenge. Her performance here is legendary and inspired so many other actresses to tackle horror. The four men that star alongside her as great as well. Their rape scene leaves my skin crawling and their portrayal of womanizing scumbags left my skin crawling. Most of these men had no on screen experience and they absolutely nailed their performances.
The story for this one is simple and straight to the point. We follow a beautiful young city girl who ventures into the woods where some dumb locals rape her. Some may argue that this film promotes rape but those people did not finish watching the film. This film is clearly a film that advocates women’s rights. The pacing is damn near perfect and the movie does a great job with character development and building atmosphere.
Finally, this film does not have a high body count but the kills we do get are fucking memorable. With that being said, the tub scene is something that will stick with you the rest of your life. It is so memorable and done absolutely brilliantly. I highly recommend this film just for that scene alone. Overall, I Spit on Your Grave is not what I would call an extreme horror movie but it does strike a chord with most viewers. It’s an unsettling film that has a lot of power in the store. This blu release looks great especially compared to my DVD copy. Ronin did a fantastic job with this release.
I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu
Director – Meir Zarchi (I Spit on Your Grave, Don’t Mess with My Sister!)
Starring – Camille Keaton (I Spin on Your Grave, Savage Vengeance), Jamie Bernadette (/20 Massacre, Dead by Dawn), and Maria Olsen (Killjoy’s Psycho Circus, Hansel vs. Gretel)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 2.5/5
Tagline – “Vengeance, thy name is woman”
I had watched the original I Spit on Your Grave several times and its a movie that will always stick with me. I know sometime ago the film was remade and that film spawned a few sequels but I never had the drive or desire to actually check them out. Last year a sequel to the original was released and that one did catch my eye. I snagged the release when I could but I never got around to actually checking it out. When Ronin Flix sent over their I Spit on Your Grave blu box set it gave me the perfect excuse to finally watch Zarchi’s sequel to his classic film.
**Spoiler Alert** The film takes place several decades after the events in the first film with Jennifer (Keaton) now a mother and a notable author as she travels the country telling others about her rape and revenge. However, the relatives of the four men she killed can not move on with their life so they kidnap Jennifer and her daughter Christy (Bernadette). They kill Jennifer and then gang rape her. She is able to escape and plots her revenge in the same fashion her mother did all those years before her. **Spoiler Alert**
I wasn’t expecting Deja Vu to be as memorable as the original film but I was expecting something entertaining. The movie had a few entertaining moments but the overall film was absolutely nothing like the original. In fact, this one actually made me laugh a few times which is something I would never do at the original.
The acting in this one is very inconsistent and a little on the humorious side. Keaton in the original film delivers one of the most iconic performances in genre history. However, she is very underwhelming here. Jamie Bernadette delivers a very intense and phenomenal performance but the others in the scene with her often underplay her resulting in some unintentionally funny moments. With that being said, I’m so confused as to why Maria Olsen was directed to deliver such an outlandish character. She’s a great actress but her character in this film is very eccentric and out of place.
The story for this one is pretty much the same as the first film except they are relatives of the first film. It’s clever writing but the predictability and impact of the kills are not the same. We know what’s coming before it happens which really takes away the shock factor that the first film delivers so well. Also, the film is over 2 hours long which is way too long for the story we are given.
Finally, this one is a little more bloodier than the original. The practical effects are good and the few visual effects we get are solid as well. I typically hate visual effects but these were surprisingly well done. Overall, Deja Vu is not the original film. It does have a few moments that make the movie worth watching. The title really does sum this movie up perfectly except it tells the same story in 2 hours when the first one did not. I would recommend checking it out once but don’t expect something with replay value.
Growing Up with I Spit on Your Grave
Director – Terry Zarchi (Jungle Money, Holy Hollywood)
Starring – Camille Keaton (I Spit on Your Grave, Death House), Meir Zarchi, and Gunter Kleemann (I Spit on Your Grave)
Release Date – 2019
Rating – 3.5/5
I’ve watched and reviewed numerous documentaries over the years. Some were about horror in general while others were about specific films. Sadly, most of these films did not need a documentary about their production and the impact they had on the genre. If any movie deserved it’s own documentary it’s 1978’s I Spit on Your Grave. This is one of the most controversial films in the genre’s history and the inspiration for the film is just as shocking as the film itself. Last year the son of I Spit on Your Grave’s took the task of making a documentary about this iconic film which is included in the Ronin Flix’s box set with the original film.
**Spoiler Alert** The documentary follows the inspiration for the film, the ups and downs of filming the film, the fallout of being apart of the film, the marriage of director Meir Zarchi with actress Camille Keaton and subsequent divorce, distribution woes, and critics response before moving into how the film would go on to gain a cult following. **Spoiler Alert**
A documentary like Growing Up with I Spit on Your Grave should have been made sometime ago which is very surprising considering how many other films with less significance has recieved documentaries made about them. This film really does take viewers back in time with some great information on the film and a lot of insight on what it was like to film the movie and what inspired it.
The interviews are extremely informative. The film does an amazing job at getting so many people involved with the film together to be interviewed. The viewer is showered with so many stories from the making of. It was also eye opening to see just how the film was received when it was released. The movie was released almost a decade before I was born so this was all news to me. I took so much away from this film. With that being said, I really would have loved to see some of those that viewed the film as pro-rape be interviewed just to hear their side of it even though they are misinformed and opinionated.
The topics discussed in the film goes in chronological order starting from the sexual assault victim that director Meir Zarchi and his family found while visiting the park one day before moving on to writing the film, getting it produced, filming, release, distribution, marriage and divorce, and then the legacy of the film. This film was perfectly laid out and easy to watch.
Finally, the editing and transitioning between each interview and topic is very smooth. However, there is several instances where some very generic graphics are used that reminded me a lot of those old news specials from the 90s. Nothing to bring the film down but they are funny enough. Overall, Growing Up with I Spit on Your Grave is a great companion piece to one of the most controversial films in movie history. There is so much information held in this that the viewer will come away with it with a hole new appreciate for the classic. It may be a little biased coming from the son of director Meir Zarchi but it’s well worth your time. Check it out.
Disc 1: I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
Video: High Definition Blu-ray 1080p Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) utilizing a new 4K scan and restoration of director Meir Zarchi’s 35mm original camera negative
Audio: Newly Restored DTS-HD Master Audio Mono, DTS-HD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Special Features: NEW Jennifer’s Journey – the locations of I Spit on Your Grave featurette hosted by writer Michael Gingold, Audio Commentary with writer / director Meir Zarchi, Audio Commentary with Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs, The Value of Vengeance – Meir Zarchi Remembers I Spit on Your Grave, Alternate Day of the Woman Opening Title, Theatrical Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, Still Gallery and NEW Slideshow with Rare & Behind-the-Scenes Photos from Set, Reversible Cover
Disc 2: I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu (2018)
Video: High Definition Blu-ray 1080p Widescreen Presentation (2.39:1)
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH
Special Features: NEW Audio Commentary with Film Critic Joe Bob Briggs, NEW Cast Interviews, Exclusive The Making of I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, Behind-the-Scenes footage with director Meir Zarchi and cast, Theatrical Trailers
Disc 3: Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave (2019)
Video: High Definition Blu-ray 1080p Widescreen Presentation (16:9:1)
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH
Special Features: Exclusive Deleted Scenes, NEW Terry Zarchi’s 8mm film starring Camille Keaton, NEW Home Movies – Camille and Meir’s wedding, Trailer