That is a shot of Actress Camille Keaton from her most famous performance. This is what her Director Meir Zarchi told her after legendary Film Critic Roger Ebert savaged the film in his review:
“Ebert sure didn’t like it, I heard him talk about it and it really hurt my feelings. But Meir told me not to worry about it: ‘Camille, this is the best publicity that we could ever get!’ And he was right. That made everybody want to go see it.”
With that, a grind house cinema masterpiece was turned into one of the most controversial films of all time. Let’s take a look at:
“I Spit On Your Grave!”
This 1978 film, originally known as “Day Of The Woman”, is one of the most shocking films ever released, a massive hit that was hugely controversial – and Critic Roger Ebert’s scathing indictment of the film only helped the legend!
Here’s the story Of Actress Camille Keaton and how she ended up in the most shocking film of the 70’s!
Camille was born in 1947 in Arkansas, and appeared in a number of films and TV shows, such as the Italian Giallo “What Have You Done To Solange?” and “Sex Of The Witch”, but it’s this film that she will always be remembered for…
Here’s the plot of “I Spit On Your Grave”:
Keaton plays Jennifer Hills, a young woman who escapes the chaos of New York City by going on a solo writing retreat in an isolated house upstate. After a few brief moments of blissful solitude, beautifully captured by Director Zarchi, a group of men discover her alone in the woods…
Jennifer is raped and left for dead by four local men in an extended sequence of extreme brutality – the shocking scene is just one reason for the controversy around the film, which saw Siskel and Ebert go so far as to stand outside theatres – trying to deter moviegoers from buying tickets!
Here is the original movie trailer:
Just how bad was their reaction? Well, read the review:
“A vile bag of garbage named ‘I Spit on Your Grave’ is playing in Chicago theaters this week. It is a movie so sick, reprehensible and contemptible that I can hardly believe it’s playing in respectable theaters…but it is. Attending it was one of the most depressing experiences of, my life. This is a film without a shred of artistic distinction. It lacks even simple craftsmanship. There is no possible motive for exhibiting it, other than the totally cynical hope that it might make money. Perhaps it will make money: When I saw it at 11:20am on Monday, the theater contained a larger crowd than usual.”
The film is so raw – shot in a documentary style – and Camille’s performance is just as raw:
Although Keaton says that she always knew the film would be controversial, she is also very candid about her part in it.
“It’s my profession; I do my work and I do what I’m supposed to do. I don’t know how other people see it.”
She explained that her main reason for taking on the role at the time was that after appearing in a few giallo films in Italy, she was eager to make a film in America.
“Also, what attracted me to it was that there’s quite a few different things in the film for my character to do. In the beginning she’s not having any problems, then she gets attacked, and then she goes on her revenge. And that was fun, especially the revenge part!”
The Ultimate Revenge!
Indeed, while the film is well-known for the rape scene, what follows is equally shocking!
The last of the film is just as shocking as the first – she hunts down and murders each of their attackers in increasingly imaginative ways.
“I especially enjoyed doing the motorboat scene,” Keaton reflects, referring to the moment when her character chases down one of her attackers in a speedboat, steering the engine with one hand and holding a small axe in the other. “We did those in the last couple of days of filming. I’d never operated a motorboat before!”
Keaton is amazing in the film – this is one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen, and you are really cheering her on at the end!
You can see the entire interview with Camille at this terrific website – it’s worth the read:
The Actress continues to work steadily, and is candid and proud of her work on the film – now, about the remake:
The original Director made “I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu” in 2019 – and Camille is in it!
The original film was also remade in 2010, this time starring Sarah Butler as the woman attacked and left for dead:
You can see more about the remake and Butler’s career by clicking on my story here:
Just two years after the original film shocked moviegoers, Director Abel Ferrara made a film with a similar storyline:
It’s one of my favorite revenge thrillers – starring Zoe Lund in her movie debut:
The Actress had a tragic life, but starred in one of the best rape/revenge films ever – here are a look at some of the others, from “Death Wish” to Christina Lindberg:
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