‘I Spit On Your Grave’ Remake Images Lack Inspiration

Published 4 years ago by , Updated January 4th, 2011 at 4:24 pm,

I spit on your grave still 4 I Spit On Your Grave Remake Images Lack Inspiration

1978’s I Spit On Your Grave a.k.a. The Day of the Woman is perhaps the most well known (and some say quintessential) female revenge film ever made. The remake, due out this October, hopes to live up to all the shock and controversy of the original. If the recently released images are any indication, this will simply be a worn down, faded carbon copy. This is a film that belonged in 1978, but in 2010 it reads as an uninspired  rehashing.

At the time of its original release, I Spit On Your Grave offered a brutal, jarring and yes (in an era of sploitation films) exploitative look at some of the day’s most pressing cultural issues: Sex and feminism. It is a movie that fetishishes rape and revenge; female disempowerment and female empowerment alike. The poster (a woman’s backside covered in dirt and bruises, arm dangling with weapon at the ready) hails it as a sexually violent sploitation film.

In order to understand why this movie had such an impact at the time it’s important to look at some of the particulars of the plotline. It is the story of a young city writer who goes to a cabin to work on her novel and is brutally raped and sodomized by four locals. Her subsequent unleashing of the holy hell of revenge is the stuff of movie legend. Brutalizing each of the culprits beyond recognition in the name of every woman who had ever felt suffocated, abused or powerless based on her sex. There was a visceral, cathartic response to this film that could only be felt at that time, when it was fresh, when feminism and female sexual empowerment was so prevalent.

For this was not just any woman, this was a city woman determined to have a thriving career in a field traditionally reserved for men. A woman who traveled on her own, independently, and did what she wanted. She represented the archetype of “the modern woman” at the time – heading into the 80’s “working girl” archetype. And these men did not randomly pick her out. These were backwoods beasts offended by her “back talking” who sought to humiliate and crush her by using her to “devirginize” their retarded friend. These men represented primal /animal male suppression of female empowerment.  They even go so far as to destroy and mock her manuscript as they rape her, a clear attempt to destroy her eclipse of them in the social strata.

Each of these characters stood as archetypes for powerful social undercurrents of the day. A time when men and women were still negotiating volatile changing societal roles that some felt deeply threatened by.  Where suppressed feminine rage longed for an avenue of expression, a heroine to “take back the night” as it were. It was also a time where a movie could still shock its audience with graphic images.

While gender roles remain an issue in today’s world this is a movie that is so of its time that a remake feels like nothing more than an attempt to titillate audiences with now commonplace sex and violence. Sex and violence that is available on any given weeknight on television. Just turn on your cable and go.

What filmmakers’ should be doing is asking themselves; what are today’s cultural boiling points? And creating films that express them, rather than continuing to create paint by numbers remakes of outdated originals.

For a more recent female vigilante gem, I suggest David Slade’s Hard Candy (2005) starring Ellen Page.

What do you think of the remake and images?

Follow me on Twitter @jrothc and Screen Rant @screenrant.

Source: Cinema Blend

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21 Comments

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  1. That’s disappointing.

  2. This is one movie that didn’t need a remake. The original for those who have seen it, was one of the most disturbing things put on film. This one won’t even come close.

  3. Very well written and insightful article! Keep ‘em coming! (The articles not the remakes that is)

  4. I kinda wanna see this. Four pics in my opinion does not determine the quality of a movie. But that’s just my opinion. I hope someone doesn’t remake cannible holocaust. That would just be whack.

  5. All post-production images are like that in a way, but I’ve learned to wait on the finished product and then see for myself.

  6. ISOYG can’t touch Salo in the depravity department.

  7. it seems like most people on these sites have nothing better to do dan complain about this and that, since most of you are in the U.S. go to a mall and start asking people to see how many of them have even seen this movie, not many. there lots of good movies that were made in the eghties and seventies that alot of people have not seen due to the fact that they kids or in dippers and wont bother watching a thirty or twenty year old movie due to the dated fxs, movies that scare the crap out of you back then when you were a kid make you laugh today due to the cheesy fx by todays standards.

  8. sorry left the word ( were ) out before kids

    • Hi Luis,

      I’m not so much saying that the remake seems like an odd choice because the original is so stellar and should be left alone. It’s actually a B movie, not a cinematic masterpiece. What I am saying is that a remake today does not have the same social context that the movie did at the time it was made; and as a result can not have the same impact the original did. Culturally speaking it had a bigger significance than just your average horror movie. I think they are remaking it to try and monopolize on the shock value of the original – but it’s too late for that. We live in a different time. If violence and graphic images are your thing, this is in all likelihood a great movie for you. Have at it! Obviously I can not judge the merits of a film prior to seeing it. I am simply talking about the context of the remake.

      Thanks!

      Roth

      • You do have a point, I was just refering to the complaints in general every time hollywood tries to update a clasic for a new generation. They’re some movies out there that were great at the time that they were made but, as great as they might of been back then, they don’t seem pass the test of time.

        • Yeah absolutely. And I am not opposed to remakes. It all just depends on how and why it’s done. Example I loved the remake of the Japanese “Ringo” into “The Ring”. But much preferred the “French La Femme Nikita” to the American “Point Of No Return”. It all just depends. Here I am mostly just talking about the context of the original vs. the context of this remake. That’s all.
          Thanks!
          Roth

  9. Luis. The original was actually banned in a lot of countries. Not many have seen it.

  10. @Roth,

    This has to be one of the best pieces I’ve read on this site.

    • Hi Aknot, Wow, Thank you very much!

      Roth

      • Well you really seem to understand the original and intelligently explain why it would not work now in the way it worked then which made it what it was.

        Most times when the issue of remakes or reboots come up the general “fight” is it is not needed….. or you cant improve the original or it was so great why try.

        Yours was anything but.

  11. @Luis_PR, I agree and that goes for many of the 70′s & 80′s horror movies. Complain complain complain, that’s all they do. If they want to do a remake, then more power to them. If it turns out great, good, if it bombs, oh well, but it will not ruin the very magic of the original. I welcome every remake being made today, good or bad. I for one love the images and the trailer. Can’t Wait!

  12. I am wondering if this is another sarcastically written article meant to just cause a reaction because I saw the original and I was horrified that anyone would even think of remaking it. let alone tout it for any kind of a social message. It was an adult film meant to tickle the fancy of rape fetishists and graphic gore lovers. I don’t see the fiends repeatedly raping a woman one after another as a metaphor for anything. The revenge parts are gruesome-are you supposed to cheer as she cuts off a dude’s manhood in the bathtub? Really? This is far from what the feminist movement was about!

    Just my opinion.

    • I’m not being sarcastic – but in reading this comment I fear I may have been a bit unclear? I am not suggesting that this is a movie that represents the feminist movement. I am suggesting that this is a movie that was in some ways a response to the feminist movement (consciously or not). And that the massive cultural response to this movie was in some ways a result of the feminist movement, among other factors, which were so alive at the time. It was also due to the graphic nature, which is now pretty standard stuff.

      Mostly what I am saying is this – there were alive cultural realities in that day that are not as much so today that made the movie the cult hit what it was. I am not recommending it, or not recommending really. I make no claim (at all) that this is a feminist film or represents feminism as I see it. Or that this is even a good film. I am saying the circumstances of the film that made it such a huge controversy and B-movie success, do not exist today.

      Circumstances such as – a vibrant (still finding itself) feminist movement, the tendency towards exploitation films, and an increasing tendency to explore graphic and sometimes violent sexual themes (in a way that had not previously been done). It was a movie very much OF its time.

      As such, it seems odd to choose it to remake now in my opinion. I would, personally, rather see something that attempted to touch and clue in on themes that are vibrantly alive for us today culturally. That’s all I meant.

      Many thanks for your comment – good discussion!

      Thanks,

      Roth

  13. I don;t think the message of female empowerment is completely irrelevant. It depends on the choice of protagonist. A middle-class professional female writer is certainly not going to be a convenient victim- women like this have been liberated a long time ago.

    A better protagonist would be a poor, uneducated black woman. Remember the movie Precious? It struck such a chord because it dealt with the reality of women in the underclass- poor, uneducated, dependent but stilld etermined to get somewhere in life.

    Or if we want a more contemporary protagonist, how about a black man taking revenge on his racist opressors? Or a modern office worker deciding to do terrible acts of vengeance upon the corporation that has oppressed, drained and humiliated him day after day (and we see regular examples of this rage exploding into workplace violence on the news).

    Or maybe none of these would justify the kind of violent, brutal revenge we saw in the first movie. Perhaps that’s a good thing- it means there are no more viciously opressed minorities in America.

    Or what am I saying? Pedophiles. Of course. The sequel should have been about a child who was raped and sodomised then grew up to take violent revenge on his/her attackers. THAT would probably both justify the graphic violence and tap perfectly into a topical issue of the day. After all, who could object to seeing a pedophile burned, hanged or mutilated?

  14. I saw the movie yesterday and to be honest I didn’t find it entertaining at aaaaalll! It was disgusting and vile and brutal. I just love wen she kills all those guys.

  15. I agree with the your article in most part. The movie wasn’t an original and lacked anything special or new. It’s simply a gory revenge flick. Nothing more. For a better story, check out LADY LAWBREAKER by G.J. Fuller [you can get it at amazon.com in book format]. The female protagonist in that story is the rare mysterious chick with a touch of insanity, dark humor, grand beauty, and lethal skills. Also, Hard Candy is cool too.