Saturday, July 5, 2014

Versus - I Spit On Your Grave

Time again for the Steel Cage Death Match.
This time out - I Spit On Your Grave.
Or, as Joe Bob Briggs calls it: "Ah Speeyut...On YOOOOUUUURRRR Grayve."

<------- Actually, no one gets burned in this movie. Not even by a cigarette. But let's not be petty.

This film, released in 1978, is one of the most hated and controversial films ever made. It was filthy, ugly, dirty and humiliating. It was filmed in the gritty grindhouse guerrilla style of that time. It infuriated Roger Ebert, who damned it as the worst movie ever made. It was banned in Norway, Ireland, Iceland and West Germany. It drove me out of the living room and into the bathroom the first time I saw it, certain I was about to vomit up all of my internal organs as well as my toenails. A few weeks later, pissed at myself for being such a pussy, I sat down and forced myself to watch it in its entirety. I did not vomit. I did not enjoy it, but I wasn't supposed to. Rape is filthy, ugly, dirty and humiliating. It's not sexy, or glamorous, or erotic. Director Meir Zarchi wrote it, directed it and released it on his own after rescuing a rape victim off of the streets of New York and seeing firsthand the aftermath of her ordeal, including the inhumanity of the police department he brought her to, who showed zero compassion for the battered, bruised and bloody girl.

Anyway, onto the comparison.
As usual, we will start with the original.

The Good:

Sleazy, gritty and grubby. You could almost see a coating of dried spunk and fungus on the reels.

Camille Keaton. 

Plop-Plop-Spurt-Spurt-Too Bad Your Dick Won't Work. 

The Bad:

The axe-murder scene. It looks like she just sliced open a peach colored mattress.

The dialogue is dated. The acting (aside from Keaton) is poor, and the characters (aside from Jennifer) are flat. Also, the mentally challenged guy is almost too stereotypically "retarded." However, in Zarchi's defense, he didn't have a huge amount of time, talent or money to work with.

Okay, onto the 2010 remake. 

The Good: 

Ummm... decent acting. Pretty shots of nature things being natural. 

Every bit as violent and sickening and humiliating as the original...which begs the question: "Why bother?" 

The Bad: 

I really want to know how the hell Jennifer managed to lift Andy up off the floor and harness him into that rig over the bath tub. Did she have a forklift stashed back in the woods?

Also, how the hell did she survive in the woods for a month (or however the hell long it was) and still manage to find sexy yoga clothes and designer jeans that fit her perfectly? 

How did she manage to pass herself off as the little girl's teacher? It's a small community - pretty rural, from what I could ascertain - but it's still the age of the Amber Alert. And no one asks for ID, or questions why this woman suddenly shows up, claiming to be an honors teacher and allows her to amble off to the park with a little girl in tow without asking one single solitary fucking question about her identity or credentials? My bullshit meter says: "Is this StupidVille, population Duh?"

The 1978 original. Filmed in a more simple time (yes, believe it or not, the world was still pretty innocent back in the 70s) the events that unfold are easier to believe, even despite the shitty special effects. Jennifer didn't need any fancyass torture devices or clever plans. She just nursed her wounds, picked up an axe and did what needed to be done, using herself as bait and counting on the bottomless ignorance of her rapists to buy into her false seductions. She wasn't superwoman, she was just pissed as hell, a violated caterpillar blossoming into an enraged, poisonous butterfly.

We're not just watching Jennifer get raped. We're watching her die. She will never be the same woman again. She may even has lost her mind completely. Her reaction to the merciless beating, dehumanization and vicious sodomy/beer bottle vaginal penetration is purely primal: kill the scumbag mutherfuckers. 

Whereas the remake seems to slick, too perfect in its revenge. I don't buy for one second that Jennifer's intricately planned revenge scenarios would have played out as perfectly in real life.
Nothing ever does. 

Although I will admit to enjoying the "shotgun sodomy" scene. 
Am I scaring anyone?

By all means, watch both. But for fuck's sake, watch the original FIRST. And if you're a huge blubbery weenie like I used to be am, watch it with the Joe Bob Briggs audio commentary track on. It cushions the blow a bit.

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