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Horror Movie A Day: Quint is violated by I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (1978)
It won’t stop bleeding!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day. [The regular A Movie A Day list has been frozen in order for me to do an all-horror line-up for October. I’ve pulled many horror titles from my regular “to see” stack and have ordered many more horror and thriller titles to make sure we have some good stuff. Like the regular AMAD column all the movies I’m covering are films I have never seen, but unlike the regular AMAD column I will not connect each film to the one before it. Instead I will pull a title at random every day and watch whatever the movie Gods determine for me.] Now going into this movie I was very aware of its reputation. Very, very aware. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE exists in the same group of “not available at Blockbuster” titles that were a kind of holy grail for gore-hounds in my early teenage years. CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, CANNIBAL FEROX, FACES OF DEATH, EL TOPO and I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE. I’m sure there are a couple that I’m forgetting, but those are the major ones that you could only find in the mom & pop owned video stores… usually within close vicinity of the porn section and separated only by a thin, awfully transparent sheet. I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE (also known as DAY OF THE WOMAN) is about a New York writer (Camille Keaton) who is spending some quiet time in the countryside to gather her thoughts and write a book. Being a city girl, she flaunts her sexuality a little upon arrival. When she fills up at the gas station, she parades in front of the attendant, when the half-retarded grocery manchild delivers her order, she flirts with him a little. It’s all innocent, of course, nothing more than most of us do in any given social scenario, but it’s all the excuse this group of hicks need to rev their engines. One day while lounging in her rowboat, these guys come speeding along in a motorboat and hijack her, pulling her to the shore where they abuse her. The rape in this movie is infamous and I was prepared for it. I’ve seen a lot of uncomfortable movies dealing with the issue. BAISE-MOI, IRREVERSABLE, JACKSON COUNTY JAIL, THE ACCUSED, GATOR BAIT, DELIVERANCE (both of which were parodied on South Park last week… proving George Carlin right, that anything can be funny, even rape), etc. When the first dude, the gas station attendant (Eron Tabor) who looks like a creepy mash-up of Billy Crudup, Vincent Gallo and James Caveziel, finishes his deed, I was thinking that either something was wrong with me or the movie wasn’t living up to its extreme reputation. I can’t say I was disappointed, more relieved. The group really just leave after the brief scene. It wasn’t comfortable to watch, but it definitely wasn’t as extreme as I was expecting… But then I realized it wasn’t over. Oh no. No-no-no-no. Poor naked Camille Keaton wanders around the woods naked, crying, and then comes upon the group again, as if they knew where she’d end up. It was then that it hit me that the rape scene was still going on and was going to keep on for a while. And then I realized why the movie has the reputation it does. Because as each of the four have their turn the violence is turned up. That’s the real shocking element of that plot point, just how brutal it feels. Thankfully, the actual sex isn’t as graphic as I was expecting, not much more than gyrations and asses, but what I avoided there is given to me tenfold in the violence. One character in particular lets the fists fly while violently raping her from behind. That’s when it really started getting to me. The reason why this scene has the reputation it has is because of how long it lasts. After each member is done, they let her go to wander or arrive at home, thinking she’s in time to get help. They give her that glimmer of hope and relief that it’s over before swooping in again, thus making the rape scene something like 25 minutes long.

Camille survives the encounter, no thanks Eron Tabor’s character, who orders the semi-retarded William (Richard Pace) to finish her off, by stabbing her in the heart. He can’t do it, but also can’t face his friends, so he bloodies the knife on her gaping face wound and leaves her, bloody, naked and ruined. Over the next couple of weeks Camille heals, but doesn’t go for help. This is too personal to leave to the cops. She won’t get the satisfaction she needs that way, so she becomes judge, jury and executioner, hunting down all four men and making them pay for what they did. Even William, who is probably the character that really makes this movie stand out from others of its type, extreme ‘70s indie exploitation. He’s about he grayest character of the bunch. Technically, his group uses him as the excuse for doing what they did. He is very simple, slow and has a crush on this girl. He’s also a virgin and they wanted him to get a piece. They egg him on for the majority of the extended rape scene and he refuses, but also helps the others have at the girl, holding her down. But you can tell he’s genuinely torn. He finally relents toward the end of things when she’s barely even conscious, so beaten and bloody that she almost doesn’t resemble a living being anymore, but even then he can’t get his rocks off. He also doesn’t kill her when any of the other three would have done so without a hesitation. But he’s a horrible person for helping in her attack and ultimately becoming a rapist himself. It’s quite a complex character and what makes it even worse is he’s the first to feel Camille’s revenge. And her revenge is paid back in full… with interest. Hoo-boy, she goes the extra mile and that gives us some incredible scenes. The most famous of which and my personal favorite belongs to Eron Tabor in the bathtub. It’s not that the gag is all that graphically shown, but it’s how the scene escalates and escalates and escalates. Camille has convinced this guy that she’s a broken woman, ready to get her fuck on and she “handles” him in the bathtub… When the knife comes into the situation everybody knows what’s coming and the guys instantly dread seeing what they’re about to see, even if the dude completely deserves it. It’s a great scene and the way director Meir Zarchi handles it is perfect. You know it’s going to end horribly, but you don’t know exactly when and to what extent. I took today’s subhead from that scene, so I’m sure you can put two and two together if you haven’t seen the movie yourself. The production values are fairly typical of this type of film. The sets are sparse, with little decoration… cheap. The acting questionable at times, but the film is surprisingly cinematic still to this day. It definitely feels raw and grimy. Final Thoughts: This movie not only deserves its cult status, but also proves to be atypical of the genre in terms of character complexity. It is hard to watch, but as brutal and horrific as the rape scene is, it all leads up to a great series of paybacks that make you want to stand up out of your chair and cheer. Camille’s final line is one for the record books. “Suck it, bitch!” Classic. If you haven’t seen it and this kind of movie is up your alley, then by all means quit pussyfooting around and give it a spin… just make sure your grandparents/parents, young siblings or wife/girlfriend aren’t watching along with you or you might have to guard your junk and apologize for being a man.

Here are the titles in the drawing pool for the rest of October: Wednesday, October 1st – Friday, October 31st: H-MAD! Horror Movie A Day! Check out the list here! Now’s the the time to pull the next HMAD! Next up is:

Interesting double feature, there. I expect NAKED YOU DIE to be a different kind of movie, but I’m sure there will be other, interesting parallels. See you tomorrow for that one! -Quint

Previous Movies: June 2nd: Harper
June 3rd: The Drowning Pool
June 4th: Papillon
June 5th: Gun Crazy
June 6th: Never So Few
June 7th: A Hole In The Head
June 8th: Some Came Running
June 9th: Rio Bravo
June 10th: Point Blank
June 11th: Pocket Money
June 12th: Cool Hand Luke
June 13th: The Asphalt Jungle
June 14th: Clash By Night
June 15th: Scarlet Street
June 16th: Killer Bait (aka Too Late For Tears)
June 17th: Robinson Crusoe On Mars
June 18th: City For Conquest
June 19th: San Quentin
June 20th: 42nd Street
June 21st: Dames
June 22nd: Gold Diggers of 1935
June 23rd: Murder, My Sweet
June 24th: Born To Kill
June 25th: The Sound of Music
June 26th: Torn Curtain
June 27th: The Left Handed Gun
June 28th: Caligula
June 29th: The Elephant Man
June 30th: The Good Father
July 1st: Shock Treatment
July 2nd: Flashback
July 3rd: Klute
July 4th: On Golden Pond
July 5th: The Cowboys
July 6th: The Alamo
July 7th: Sands of Iwo Jima
July 8th: Wake of the Red Witch
July 9th: D.O.A.
July 10th: Shadow of A Doubt
July 11th: The Matchmaker
July 12th: The Black Hole
July 13th: Vengeance Is Mine
July 14th: Strange Invaders
July 15th: Sleuth
July 16th: Frenzy
July 17th: Kingdom of Heaven: The Director’s Cut
July 18th: Cadillac Man
July 19th: The Sure Thing
July 20th: Moving Violations
July 21st: Meatballs
July 22nd: Cast a Giant Shadow
July 23rd: Out of the Past
July 24th: The Big Steal
July 25th: Where Danger Lives
July 26th: Crossfire
July 27th: Ricco, The Mean Machine
July 28th: In Harm’s Way
July 29th: Firecreek
July 30th: The Cheyenne Social Club
July 31st: The Man Who Knew Too Much
August 1st: The Spirit of St. Louis
August 2nd: Von Ryan’s Express
August 3rd: Can-Can
August 4th: Desperate Characters
August 5th: The Possession of Joel Delaney
August 6th: Quackser Fortune Has A Cousin In The Bronx
August 7th: Start the Revolution Without Me
August 8th: Hell Is A City
August 9th: The Pied Piper
August 10th: Partners
August 11th: Barry Lyndon
August 12th: The Skull
August 13th: The Hellfire Club
August 14th: Blood of the Vampire
August 15th: Terror of the Tongs
August 16th: Pirates of Blood River
August 17th: The Devil-Ship Pirates
August 18th: Jess Franco’s Count Dracula
August 19th: Dracula A.D. 1972
August 20th: The Stranglers of Bombay
August 21st: Man, Woman & Child
August 22nd: The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane
August 23rd: The Young Philadelphians
August 24th: The Rack
August 25th: Until They Sail
August 26th: Somebody Up There Likes Me
August 27th: The Set-Up
August 28th: The Devil & Daniel Webster
August 29th: Cat People
August 30th: The Curse of the Cat People
August 31st: The 7th Victim
September 1st: The Ghost Ship
September 2nd: Isle of the Dead
September 3rd: Bedlam
September 4th: Black Sabbath
September 5th: Black Sunday
September 6th: Twitch of the Death Nerve
September 7th: Tragic Ceremony
September 8th: Lisa & The Devil
September 9th: Baron Blood
September 10th: A Shot In The Dark
September 11th: The Pink Panther
September 12th: The Return of the Pink Panther
September 13th: The Pink Panther Strikes Again
September 14th: Revenge of the Pink Panther
September 15th: Trail of the Pink Panther
September 16th: The Real Glory
September 17th: The Winning of Barbara Worth
September 18th: The Cowboy and the Lady
September 19th: Dakota
September 20th: Red River
September 21st: Terminal Station
September 22nd: The Search
September 23rd: Act of Violence
September 24th: Houdini
September 25th: Money From Home
September 26th: Papa’s Delicate Condition
September 27th: Dillinger
September 28th: Battle of the Bulge
September 29th: Daisy Kenyon
September 30th: Laura
October 1st: The Dunwich Horror
October 2nd: Experiment In Terror
October 3rd: The Devil’s Rain
October 4th: Race With The Devil
October 5th: Salo, Or The 120 Days of Sodom
October 6th: Bad Dreams
October 7th: The House Where Evil Dwells
October 8th: Memories of Murder
October 9th: The Hunger
October 10th: I Saw What You Did

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