Day of the Woman (1978)

USA, 1979
90m (Australia), 98m, 100m (USA), 102m
35mm, Eastmancolor, 1.85:1
mono, English

An American exploitation/horror film by director Meir Zarchi and one of the earliest additions to the British “” list of the 1980s. It's better known under its re-release title I Spit on Your Grave. According to her autobiography Inside Out, Demi Moore was the model featured in the famous I Spit on Your Grave re-release poster.

Plot Summary

New York writer Jennifer Hills rents a small cottage in the country to work on her novel. But she is attacked, humiliated and raped by a gang of men who leave her for dead. But Jennifer survives and rallies enough strength to seek

Credits

Crew
Directed by: Meir Zarchi
© MCMLXXVIII
A Cinemagic Pictures production
Produced by: Joseph Zbeda, Meir Zarchi
Written by: Meir Zarchi
Director of Photography: Yuri Haviv
Film Editing: Meir Zarchi
Location Recording: Steven Sklar
Make Up: Armine Manassian, Joan Puma
Special Effects: Bill Tasgal, Beriau Picard
Locations: Kent, Connecticut, USA

Cast
Camille Keaton (Jennifer Hills)
Eron Tabor (Johnny)
Richard Pace (Matthew Lucas)
Anthony Nichols (Stanley)
Gunter Kleemann (Andy)
Alexis Magnotti (Johnny's wife)
Tammy Zarchi, Terry Zarchi (Johnny's children)
Traci Ferrante (waitress)
Bill Tasgal (porter)
Isac Agami (butcher)
Ronit Haviv (supermarket girl)

Alternative Titles

Blood Angel – West German (video)
I Hate Your Guts
I Spit on Your Grave
I spit on your grave – koston enkeli – Finland (DVD)
Ich spuck' auf dein Grab – West Germany
Koston enkeli – Finland (video)
Non violentate Jennifer – Italy
Oeil pour oeil – France
The and Revenge of Jennifer Hill – USA (advertising)
Tomar revancha – Argentina (video)

Remakes
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Naked Vengeance (1985)

See also
Weird Science (1985)
Scream (1996)

Press


Variety 22 November 1978 p.26
The rape scenes are often comical, with the men's motions and grimaces more akin to seizures than sex, but the “revenge” scenes are more believable. One in particular, in which the girl castrates a man in a bathtub with a butcher knife, sent two women running and gagging toward the exit at the screening viewed. The other men get it by hanging, by being split with an axe and by being devoured by an outboard motor. […] One scene redeems “Day of the Woman” from being instantly discardable. After her first rape, Keaton is fighting her way through the as muted harmonica music plays on the soundtrack. The music gets louder and louder, and Keaton emerges at a clearing to find one of her attackers perched atop a rock – playing the harmonica. But one scene does not a movie make; as for the castration scene, its impact is as powerful as its taste is questionable. The rest of “Day of the Woman” isn't as powerful, but it's no less questionable. – from a review by Bian.

1981
American Film vol.6 no.5 (March 1981) pp.54-56
The film itself was garbage – reprehensible, vile. Its skeleton of a plot existed only as an excuse for a series of violent scenes in which a woman was first ravaged by a pack of four demented men, and then took her vengeance against them. […] Watching this film was a terrible experience. As a daily newspaper movie critic who goes to see nearly every movie that opens commercially, I thought I'd seen almost everything in the way of screen violence, but I had not. What made I Spit on Your Grave particularly effective (if that is the word) was its brutal directness of style. Lacking grace, humor, or even simple narrative skill, the filmmakers simply pointed their camera at their actors and then commanded them to perform unspeakable acts upon one another. Although the violence I the film was undoubtedly staged, the directness of this approach took away any distancing effect that might have been supplied by more sophisticated storytelling. The film has the raw impact of those pornographic films which are essentially just documentary records of behaviour. – from an illustrated article (Why movie audiences aren't safe any more) by Roger Ebert

1982
Starburst no.46 (1982) p.13
It's a film that is hard to defend and in at least two scenes, puts and incredible onus on its audience as to whether they should really be watching the proceedings under the guise of entertainment. […] The protracted rape […] is as squirm inducing as anything I've ever seen in the exploitation field. – from an illustrated review by Alan Jones

1983
Variety 30 March 1983 p.18
Woman” is reduced to mere camp value as filmmaker Meir Zarchi exaggerates the violence, generating laughter instead of audience involvement. Part of the problem here is one shared by most 1970s revenge pictures: an excess of motivation. […] Though the peaceful, green-saturated locale is well-shot as a natural contrasting backdrop to mayhem, Zarchi's conception of sex and violence is unrealistic, derived from the “groan louder” school of softcore porn. Emphasis upon a black humor nerd-character (Richard Pace) goaded on by the others to prove his manhood insures [sic] that the viewer will be laughing at the violence. […] By substituting sadism and cheap thrills for the efficient catharsis of successful revenge films (ranging all the way from William S. Hart silents to Charles Bronson starrers), Zarchi ends up with a padded, unconvincing exploitation film. – from a review by Lor.

The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon p.354
A humorless and disturbing movie shot in Connecticut.

1984
Cinema Papers no.49 (December 1984) pp.400-407
I Spit on Your Grave must be the only [horror] film I have seen at a drive-in during which no-one even bipped their horn […] during intermission, [when] normally […] everyone is yelling and pushing each other, screaming ‘And […] when that guy gets the hypodermic in his eyeball…' It was so quiet that all one could hear was the ringing of the cash registers and the shuffling of moccasins. – from an article (Tales of terror: the horror films you think you know) by Philip Brophy

Video Nasties, The: Freedom and Censorship in the Media by Martin Barker (ed.) pp.48-55
Well made, interestingly written, beautifully photographed and intelligently directed. – from an article (J. Hills is Alive: A Defence of I Spit on Your Grave) by Marco Starr

1987
Video Movie Guide: 1987 by Mick Martin and Marsha Porter p.704
An utterly reprehensible motion picture with shockingly misplaced values […] This is, without a doubt, one of the most tasteless, irresponsible and disturbing movie ever made. Regardless of how much you may enjoy “bad” films, you will hate yourself for watching this one.

1992
Sight & Sound vol.2 no.1 (May 1992) pp.16-18
The claim on the part of some reviewers that I Spit on Your Grave shows the woman enjoying the rape is flatly dishonest; not for a moment does she express anything but protest, fear and pain. The rapes are presented as almost sexless acts of cruelty that the men commit more for each other's edification than for physical pleasure. – from an article (Getting even) by Carol Clover

1998
Metro no.116 (1998) p.28-29 (Australia)
I Spit on Your Grave is successfully excessive, explicit, humourless. It also represents sexist, inhumane acts of sexual violence. It's clearly low-budget, schlocky and pretty sloppily photographed and written. It shocks and disturbs as the genre intends – from an illustrated article (Censorship folly) by Jane Mills

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References

Periodicals

  • American Film vol.6 no.5 (March 1981) pp.54-56 – illustrated article (Why movie audiences aren't safe any more by Roger Ebert)
  • Cinéaste vol.28 no.3 (Summer 2003) p.32-34 – illustrated interview with John Bloom (Cult films, Commentary Tracks and Censorious Critics: An interview with John Bloom by Gary Crowdus)
  • Cinema Papers no.49 (December 1984) pp.400-407 (Australia) – article (Tales of terror: the horror films you think you know by Philip Brophy
  • The Dark Side no.66 p.31 – review, credits
  • L'Écran Fantastique no.6 (1978) p.24 – note
  • Film International vol.4 no.1 (2006) pp.75-76 – DVD review (Short Takes: Box of the Banned by Michael Tapper)
  • Is It Uncut? no.3 pp.14-18 – illustrated article
  • Metro no.116 (1998) p.28-29 (Australia) – illustrated article (Censorship folly by Jane Mills)
  • Sight and Sound vol.2 no.1 (May 1992) pp.16-18 – article (Getting even by Carol Clover)
  • Sight and Sound vol.12 no.4 (April 2002) p.70 – illustrated article (Playback: less rape, more revenge by Linda Ruth Williams)
  • Sight and Sound vol.14 no.5 (May 2004) p.86 – DVD review (Home movies: premiere releases by James Bell)
  • Sight and Sound vol.15 no.12 (December 2005) pp.86-87 – DVD review (Box of the Banned by Matthew Leyland)
  • Starburst no.46 (1982) p.13 – illustrated review (by Alan Jones)
  • Variety 22 November 1978 p.26 – credits, review (by Bian)
  • Variety 30 March 1983 p.18 – credits, review (by Lor)

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) pp.329-330
  • Educational Institutions in Horror Film: A History of Mad Professors, Student Bodies, and Final Exams by Andrew L. Grunzke p.96
  • The Films of the Eighties by Robert A. Nowlan and Gwendolyn Wright Nowlan p.275
  • Hoffman's Guide to SF, Horror and Fantasy Movies 1991-1992 p.92 – credits, review
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis p.186
  • Horror Films of the 1970s by John Kenneth Muir pp.541-544 – credits, synopsis, review
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.244 – credits, review
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.265-267
  • Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Carol J. Clover pp.6-7, 29, 32, 51, 114-125, 129-130, 136, 138-140, 143-144, 147, 150-154, 157-160, 164-165, 228-229, 234 – notes, articles
  • The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon p.354 – credits, review
  • Regional Horror Films, 1958-1990 by Brian Albright p.184
  • The Seduction of the Gullible (2nd edition) by John Martin p.107 – illustrated article
  • Video Movie Guide: 1987 by Mick Martin and Marsha Porter p.704 – review
  • The Video Nasties: Freedom and Censorship in the Media by Martin Barker (ed.) pp.48-55 – article (J. Hills is Alive: A Defence of I Spit on Your Grave by Marco Starr)
  • X-Rated Videotape Guide Volume I pp.233-234 – credits, review