I've been dreading doing this post for a while now because I'm struggling how to put into words how up in arms I am over the remake of I Spit On Your Grave aka Day of the Woman. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand how much I adore this film, but in case you didn't notice; It's where I got the name for this blog, and I use the iconic shot of Camille Keaton's ass as my banner. The reason that this blog even exists is because of the impact this film had on not only on the genre, but on Miss BJ-C herself. Today the filming of the remake started and Brutal As Hell gave me an entry on how they would remake it. Here's my two cents.
My heart is breaking at the thought of this film being redone. I have said many times before that I don't have a problem with films being remade as they bring the originals to a newer audience that were otherwise unaware of the film's existence. HOWEVER, (this however is so big it needed caps) there are certain films that I believe should not be redone for the simple fact that even the smallest change could completely ruin its heart. The film has its faults as does every film (except for maybe Star Wars), but this is undoubtedly a flawed masterpiece. When the film was created, it was a time that didn't have as many "politically correct" and taboo subjects constantly buzzing around. We now live in a day and age where we must walk on egg shells in order to protect the feelings of the people around us. 1978 was a completely different world.
The first thing that I see them cutting from the film is the lengthy and very graphic rape scene. People that dislike this film tend to point out that the 26 minute gang rape is completely excessive and unnecessary. I respectfully disagree. Rape is a very serious thing and according to RAINN, someone is raped every two minutes. What makes it so horrifying to see a rape on film, is because it's one of those instances where we know, it could happen to us. The scariest movies aren't the ones where mutant monsters come and create a gore-fest, it's the ones that are real, and could happen to anybody. Why did Paranormal Activity freak out so many people? Because it felt REAL. Should films include rape, just to include rape? Not a chance. But is rape something that needs to be brought to our attention? Absolutely.
The rape scene in this film is VITAL. Without it, there is no set up for her absolutely brutal revenge on her assailants. These scenes were filmed in the 70's where we were flooded with video nasties but people weren't afraid to make them. It's not the same anymore. People take the easy route and they sugarcoat reality. I hate when TV portrays rape because they sanatize the hell out of it...AND THAT'S NOT BEING HONEST. We're going to end up getting a film with a rape scene that will be barely as graphic as the one in the remake of The Last House On The Left. This doesn't make me some sick person who wants to see rape, but the horrifying torture of Jennifer Hill is what gives this film such sting. The tagline of "this woman has just chopped, crippled, and mutilated four men beyond recognition...but no jury in america would ever convict her" only rings true if we get a real understanding of the pain that she endured which fueled her need for revenge. We're not going to understand her and the horror she experienced, unless we see it.
The second thing I see getting cut is the death of Matthew. If you haven't seen the original, Matthew is a delivery boy at the Gas Station one of the men works at and the hang -out spot for the other two friends. Matthew is also mildly mentally retarded. The reason the men even initiate the gang rape in the first place is so Matthew can lose his virginity. Although he is mentally handicapped, he is very aware that what they have done is wrong. The three men send Matthew to kill Jennifer after they have all raped her, but Matthew cannot bring himself to kill her. This action shows us that although impaired, he understands the difference between right and wrong. There is no way in hell this remake will include a mentally retarded person raping a woman. I don't think I even need to explain why this scene won't be included.
So say they do include the character of Matthew and they allow him to be mentally challenged, I have a suspicion that he won't be killed off. He'll become the conscience of the group and try to stop everything from happening, Jennifer will take pity on him, and she'll spare his life and let him ride with her in her speed boat off into the sunset. I'm not even kidding. You can bet your bottom dollar that if they include his character, they won't get away with killing him.
Jennifer won't be walking naked through the woods either. My guess is that instead of us having to witness the reality that is a bloodied, bruised, battered, naked, and vulnerable woman...we'll see a stumbling girl with a ripped wife beater (no pun intended) and someone slowly pulling her panties back on that were drug to her ankles. The most horrifying thing about this film is not only seeing the rape on screen, but then having to watch her recover. Plenty of films show us rape, but not many of them show us the mortifying look of a woman who has just endured it.
The old film in all honesty, doesn't have much of a plot. The film was completely centered around not only the rape, but the revenge. It's an exploitation film and it's showing us the absolute worst things that could possibly happen to us. If its remade, it's going to be very plot driven and everything is going to be so watered down it won't be the same anymore. It will be a completely different kind of movie. They released it originally without a rating. That was how the people making the film could get away with everything that they had done. The censors tried to rate the film "X" with what they were making, so they just released the film without a rating so they could do whatever they want. If the film is made with the same heart as the old film, it will undoubtedly get a NC-17 rating. If this happens, no movie theater will ever show it, so the film will end up sugar coated and it'll lose it's heart. George A. Romero released Dawn of the Dead and Day of the Dead without a rating and could do whatever he wanted but by the time Land of the Dead came out, he no longer had this option. He had to play ball and bite the bullet otherwise the film wouldn't get released. This is exactly what is going to happen with this remake.
To sum it up, this film is going to come out and be "safe" and it makes me sad. This film wasn't showing torture for torture's sake...it had a heart and it had a moral to the story. One of the few films I had hoped people wouldn't touch, is going to have politically correct and uptight fingers all up into it.