Camille Keaton, grand-niece of Buster and star of the thriller Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange?, appears here as Jenny, an aspiring novelist who rents a cabin in the Connecticut woods. Three rednecks at a local gas station and a retarded delivery boy seem quite friendly at first, and many viewers wonder just where director Meir Zarchi is going with the story. Then he drops them 200,000 feet right into the center of Hell for the longest, nastiest, and most brutal gang-rape in motion-picture history. Zarchi takes his time with this scene, not for the sake of titillation, but to make the audience feel the absolute horror of Jenny's plight. She is humiliated, sodomized over a rock, and brutally beaten in the middle of the woods. Then she crawls home, naked and bruised, only to get a repeat performance with her new novel shredded, her stomach kicked, and a bottle rammed violently inside her. The experience leaves Jenny shell-shocked, a cipher completely detached from reality. She hangs the delivery boy from a tree, gorily castrates the ringleader in a bathtub, and dispatches the other two rapists with an axe and an outboard motor. Eron Tabor, Richard Pace, Anthony Nicholls, and Gunter Kleeman co-star. There's a reason why this one is commonly described as a "cult classic": its smallish audience has maxed out and will not grow beyond the number of admirers it has now.I Spit on Your Grave, likeThe Texas Chainsaw MassacreandLast House on the Left, will never have the semi-mainstream audience ofNight of the Living DeadorSam Raimi'sEvil Deadseries because it is too gut-wrenching for the public at large. Look at what happens to poor Jennifer (played with total realistic abandon byCamille Keaton, who made a few B-movies before vanishing in 1989). The harrowing, near-pornographic torture she is put through for the first 30 minutes is excruciating to watch, and to do so requires a degree of third-person sadism few people will willfully admit to. It's disturbing as anything committed to celluloid. But it's all done to set up the revenge motif, and boy does it work. When Jennifer regains her strength and sets out to even the score, it is impossible not to respond with an authentic adrenaline rush of one's own. Shot on a budget of about 87 cents on leftover film stock seemingly hand-cranked through an antique camera,I Spit on Your Gravemakes other low-budget independent horror films that came after it seem quaint. While its audience numbers may not expand, it will always remain stable because there is always another crop of budding horror fans who have heard of its reputation and will go out of their way to find out what everyone in their circle is talking about. And once they see it, they'll never forget it.
Mondo Culto is a thriving, obsessive, and elaborate "be-in" for friends of Cult Films and the stepping to the punk beat of the East Village: Ass Juice at the Double Down, Karoake at Planet Rose, Cheese Fries at Crif Dogs, and Midnight Movies at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema are just some of the staples of La Vida Mondo Culto. So if you like living after midnight and rocking till the dawn, The Mondo Culto Experience is for you!