Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 30/04/98

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

Gravespitting and other anti-social habits

Like most people whose parents bought a video recorder in the early 80s, I inevitably ended up watching a lot of really bad late 70s horror movies on video. There were a number of reasons for this:

Naturally, we watched such obvious titles as Halloween, but we also made time for ultra-dreck that would never sustain a cinema release. There was, for instance, Bloodsucking Freaks, promoted with the irresistible tagline 'This movie contains scenes that are gross and disgusting and will offend', or words to that effect. The only scene I can now remember involves someone having their head locked in a vice and cut off with a hacksaw.

There was also a well-developed sub-genre (and 'sub' is the operative word here) which had a basic plot that ran as follows: lonely woman is raped by gang of bored teenagers; woman proceeds to dismember said teenagers in a variety of graphically gory ways, preferably involving at least one castration. Key titles in this market included Demented and I Spit On Your Grave, and it is the latter movie I concern myself with here.

ISOYG re-entered my radar recently when Gusworld's resident cinema freak Spanky pointed out that it was actually now banned in Australia. Only five films have actually managed this distinction; what makes ISOYG so special? Consider the description given on the video case:

This woman has just . . . cut, chopped, broken and burned four men beyond recognition . . . BUT NO JURY IN AMERICA WOULD EVER CONVICT HER!

A pretty young writer rents a secluded cottage for the summer. Four youths -- bored, depraved and without feelings or guilt, seek her out.
What follows is beyond description . . . as she is repeatedly raped, beaten and left to die.
What they didn't expect is that she'd live . . . but she does . . . and slowly . . . methodically . . . seeks her revenge. HER kind of savage justice!

I have my doubts about the blurb-writer's faith in the US jury system, but the fundamental problem with this description is that it gives the impression that the majority of the movie concerns itself with the lead character's revenge. In fact, the entire killing sequence is crammed into the last quarter of the movie. The first three-quarters are largely taken up with long, violent, repetitive, gratuitous and utterly appalling depictions of the rape sequence.

I'm guessing that it's this emphasis on sexual violence which has earned ISOYG its Australian banning, while similarly-plotted flicks such as Demented survive. On the whole, I can't honestly claim that this is unjustified censorship, although it may well have piqued interest in the movie for some people.

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