Grindhouse Classic

Note: This release is exclusive to Ronin Flix

Director Meir Zarchi made a lasting mark on exploitation cinema with the twisted I Spit On Your Grave. Originally titled Day of the Woman, the uncompromising 1978 film has a brutally assaulted woman taking the ultimate revenge on her attackers, creating an entire sub-genre of rape and revenge films. Raising disturbing questions, I Spit On Your Grave’s shocking plot and unabashed graphic brutality against its female protagonist is unnerving cinema.

The movie unquestionably makes for uncomfortable viewing even to this day. Torn apart by critics like Siskel and Ebert, the controversial thriller has proved its staying power over the decades. The cult classic was remade in 2010 and most recently Meir Zarchi released a sequel to the original. Specialty cult label Ronin Flix has restored the film in 4K glory, lavishly packaging it with the forgettable 2019 sequel and a feature-length documentary on the movie’s impact across the decades.

Zarchi doesn’t sugarcoat the rape and physical violence on screen in I Spit On Your Grave

One of the lasting and most powerful taboos in film has been explicitly showing physical violence against women in graphic detail. It’s tough material to swallow and most audiences find it sickening. Movies largely avoid disturbing rape scenes despite the violent crime being a semi-common plot element in many genres. While women in peril have been a trope of Hollywood films going back to the dawn of celluloid, subjects like rape and vicious beatings have usually been handled with kid gloves, mostly happening off screen.

Zarchi doesn’t sugarcoat the rape and physical violence on screen in I Spit On Your Grave, directed against star Camille Keaton (What Have You Done To Solange?). A young woman from the city, attractive and carefree Jennifer Hills hopes to write her first novel. Living by herself at a remote cabin near a peaceful lake, she’s beaten and raped by a pack of loathsome rednecks. Led by a demented gas station attendant named Johnny, they coerce a mentally disabled man named Matthew into participating.

Somehow surviving the nasty and deeply traumatic confrontation, Jennifer Hills takes matters into her own hands when seeking revenge on her attackers. Castration is a fitting reward for the demented rapists. They get what’s coming to them as Jenny murders in cold blood.

Loosely inspired by films like Last House On The Left, I Spit On Your Grave became a notorious underground movie for its shocking violence and ultra-realistic portrayal of rape. The understated direction and solid acting performances add a disturbing sense of reality, which makes it all the more powerful. I Spit On Your Grave isn’t for those with weak constitutions. Jennifer’s brutal beating is laid out in full clarity.

The question has always been if the grindhouse thriller is an actual horror film or simply a graphic exploitation flick that goes too far. I Spit On Your Grave is a horrifying and even sickening experience. Raw and wildly graphic, the movie is certainly not made for everyone.

Video

Ronin Flix utilizes an impressive new 4K scan from director Meir Zarchi’s own uncut and uncensored 35mm camera negative with a fine film restoration. Grindhouse classics shouldn’t look this good on BD. The film elements have been cleaned up and appear in remarkable condition. The 1080P video showcases a finely-tuned contrast and lively colors from the new color grading. The green foliage near the lake looks amazing and bloody reds pop with vivid life. This is a film-like presentation that retains the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio.

Softness is inevitable due to the original cinematography. I Spit On Your Grave looks quite cinematic and filled with sparkling detail outside of a few select scenes. Ample definition and above-average clarity make for pleasant picture quality. Black levels are not an issue outside of one darkened scene, crushed with noisy exposure issues.

The main feature runs 101 minutes on a BD-50, beautifully encoded in high-bitrate AVC with flawless transparency. A hint of ringing is apparent in a couple scenes. Retaining the natural grain structure, some mild low-pass filtering has been carefully applied. Texture is abundant, revealing occasionally razor-sharp bursts of outstanding detail.

Audio

Newly restored mono audio is the primary sonic upgrade for this pricey set. I Spit On Your Grave’s original 1978 monaural theatrical soundtrack is presented here in 2.0 dual mono DTS-HD MA for the first time on home video. A needless “surround” remix has been included in 5.1 DTS-HD MA and 2.0 DTS-HD MA stereo.

The soundtrack has always been very limited and basic for the movie. There’s no real score or musical bed for the mostly direct dialogue. Grunts and screams are heard in sharp fidelity.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font.

Extras

Available exclusively through Ronin Flix’s website, the new collector’s edition box set includes a deluxe chipboard slipcase with original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Stothard, two collectible fold out 16″x20″ movie posters, two replica VHS box-style refrigerator magnets, and a new 44-page book featuring exclusive archival photos and extended liner notes by writers Michael Gingold and Meagan Navarro.

The entire package comes in a special box from Ronin Flix. It’s attractive and looks classy on the shelf.

The three-disc package contains three clear Amaray cases with reversible covers. One case each for I Spit On Your Grave, I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu, and feature-length documentary Growing Up With I Spit On Your Grave.

There’s no reason keeping the 2011 Blu-ray edition from Anchor Bay/Starz after purchasing the Ronin Flix box set. They’ve retained both original commentaries and all the special features from the 2011 BD.

Audio Commentary with Director and Writer Meir Zarchi – This 2004 commentary, pulled from the DVD edition, is a stiff but largely informative discussion by the director. Mostly covering screen-specific anecdotes, he covers his inspirations and more technical details.

Audio Commentary With Genre Expert Joe Bob Briggs – Another 2004 commentary pulled from DVD is a wonderful and engaging deconstruction by the always personable Joe Bob Briggs. The cult television personality knows genre filmmaking like the back of his hand. His laid-back style both attacks and defends the film.

Jennifer’s Journey: Locations (11:08 in HD) – The locations of I Spit on Your Grave are visited in this featurette hosted by writer Michael Gingold.

The Values of Vengeance: Meir Zarchi Remembers I Spit on Your Grave (29:01 in SD) – A 2011 featurette has the director covering many of the production’s tortured history and distribution issues, among other topical subjects.

Alternate Opening Title (00:16 in HD) – Day of the Woman title is used.

Theatrical Trailers (06:22 in HD) – Two separate original trailers.

TV Spots (01:39 in HD)

Radio Spots (01:15)

Rare Photos From Set (09:32 in HD)

Still Gallery (01:51 in HD)

Disc Two: I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu – 2019 sequel by director Meir Zarchi

Disc Three: Growing Up With I Spit On Your Grave – 2019 documentary by Terry Zarchi, Meir’s son.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
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Meir Zarchi’s shocking exploitation film has an undeniable power despite its reprehensible rape elements and graphic brutality against women.

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