I Spit on Your Trivia

In honor on the new I Spit on Your Grave Blu-ray release, David Maguire, programmer for the Leeds International Film Festival and author of I Spit on Your Grave (Cultographies), has compiled the following 11 bits of ISOYG trivia for fans - a commemorative 11 for 11/11 (Yahtzee!) if you will. And, yes, before you ask, that is Demi Moore's backside on the original film poster. 

Grab your copy of the definitive 3 disc collector's edition today at Ronin Flix.

TRIVIA FACTS

1. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

The title card of the 1978 film shows Jennifer Hills in close up as she drives out of the city. The same shot is repeated in the beginning of the 2010 remake, the 2013 sequel and even 1997’s A Gun for Jennifer, the latter featuring a protagonist who actually changes her first name to that of Ms. Hills. Talking of name homages, check out 2017’s Revenge, a modern French nod to I Spit on Your Grave in which our wronged female avenger is called – wait for it – Jen…


I Spit on Your Grave Collector's Edition Blu-ray (2020) - Interview with Jeremy Richey from Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave

2. I spit on your film title – again, and again, and again…

When the film title was changed from Day of the Woman to its infamous exploitation-friendly I Spit on Your Grave, the door was opened for countless subsequent movies aiming to cash in on its notoriety. Say hello to I Spit on Your Corpse (originally Girls for Rent, 1974), I’ll Kill You… I’ll Bury You… I’ll Spit on Your Grave, Too!(1995), I Piss on Your Cadaver (1999), I Spit on Your Corpse, I Piss on Your Grave (aka The Captives, 2001), and even the announced-but-never-produced 2010 zombie comedy I Spit on Your Rave.

3. And talking of the title

The change of title from Day of the Woman to I Spit on Your Grave was a tried and tested exploitation technique, designed to cash in on previous drive-in titles like I Drink Your Blood (1970) and I Eat Your Skin(1971). There was also already a 1959 film called I Spit on Your Grave… 

4. OK – while we’re still on the title 

The very first title of the 1978 film, at screenplay stage, was The Housatonic Revenge, the Housatonic being the river beside which the whole movie is shot. 

5. Breaking the fourth wall 

In Meir Zarchi’s 1978 film, the character of Jennifer frequently appears to be breaking the fourth wall – looking straight at the viewer – almost daring us to look away and questioning our complicity as passive participants in her degradation. It’s a powerful technique used in a number of ‘rape-revenge’ movies, from Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929) and 1973’s Thriller – A Cruel Picture.

I Spit on Your Grave Collector's Edition Blu-ray (2020) - Photo of Camillie Keaton from I Spit on Your Grave

6. Is it a slasher movie? 

In some respects, yes, as a lot of the tropes we associate with that genre are evident here. Using her wits to survive and vanquish the ‘male monsters’ that tormented her, unlike Halloween (released the same year), Jennifer doesn’t rely on a man (Dr. Loomis) to save her from her bogeymen. In fact, ISOYG subverts the slasher film – instead of a masked man hunting a predominantly attractive group of young women, ISOYG has an attractive woman stalking and dispatching a group of middle-aged men.


I Spit on Your Grave Collector's Edition Blu-ray (2020) - Interview with Camille Keaton from Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave

7. Subverting the male gaze

In feminist film theory, cinema has been accused of repeatedly depicting women from a masculine perspective, representing them as sexual objects for male viewers. ISOYG certainly subverts this: the assault sequence is shot entirely from Jennifer’s perspective, Meir Zarchi’s choreography meaning that the viewer – male and female – has to watch the ordeal unfold through Jennifer’s eyes. The effect is deliberately unsettling; by adopting the woman’s viewpoint as she is violated, the film clearly marks Jennifer as a victim who merits our sympathy and compassion. In doing so, Zarchi destroys the argument that the cinematic look is intrinsically male.

I Spit on Your Grave Collector's Edition Blu-ray (2020) - Interview with Ron Shelter from Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave

8. The official 2019 sequel 

Reuniting original director Meir Zarchi with the original Jennifer, Camille Keaton, 2019’s I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà vu follows the widow of one of the original victims seeking revenge. But the original concept, announced at Cannes in 2014 to secure funding, focused on a serial killer that used a crisis hotline to target rapists.

9. There’s a reason why the assault sequence is so real

Meir Zarchi didn’t storyboard the 1978 film, relying instead on three or four master shots of each sequence and a mixture of close, medium, long and reaction shots. As he only had one camera, it meant that the assault had to be performed a number of times.

10. It set the template

Following ISOYG, rape-revenge films have trod a narrative path that endures to this day: a young, attractive, independent career woman is brutally assaulted (usually by multiple offenders and often with one having learning difficulties) and left for dead; the law cannot help her so she tracks down her assailants and kills them.

11. Sounds good

Enjoy the soundtrack of I Spit on Your Grave? Really? Well there isn’t one! Zachi deliberately doesn’t use any non-diegetic sound in the film, which means the only sounds we hear are the ones taking place on screen. This makes the viewer feel like they’re actually there when the attack takes place, making the sequence even more horrific and realistic and strengthening our identification with and sympathy for Jennifer’s character.

I Spit on Your Grave Collector's Edition Blu-ray (2020) - Interview with Jeremy Richey from Growing up with I Spit on Your Grave

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