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It's Always Funny Until Someone Gets R*ped

By Dustin Rowles | Film | October 5, 2010 |

By Dustin Rowles | Film | October 5, 2010 |

There are a lot of sick, twisted fuckers in this world. I read several accounts of actual dog abuse cases this morning that really brought the notion home. There was an instance where men doused a puppy with lighter fluid and put it in an oven. I read another where someone had glued a dog’s eyes and nose shut. Another, where a couple of men duct taped a dog’s mouth and legs together, dumped it in a can of paint, and attempted to ignite it. Another where a dog was chained to a truck and dragged behind it. For kicks. Another where a man sexual abused a dog and let it nearly starve to death inside of a cardboard box. Fortunately, that dog survived, and after several months, made a full recovery. I’d like to imagine that, after its recovery, the dog tracked down that man and ripped his neck off with his jaws.

Can you imagine any of these incidents fictionalized, filmed, and screened for profit? Would you want to watch a dog tied up with duct tape, its eyes glued shut, and raped by four men? Would it make you feel better about having seen such a film if the dog survived the ordeal and ferociously mauled its attackers?

Then why would you want to see the same thing happen to a human being? That’s what the I Spit On Your Grave remake amounts to. Putting completely aside any of the feminist implications of the film — which we’ve discussed ad nauseum in the past, and I have no interest in resurrecting that argument — why would a movie about the torture and rape of a person be any less objectionable than the torture and rape of an animal? Because bestiality is perverse? Guess what? So is rape. But if the men got their comeuppance at the jaws of the dog, would we celebrate the film for being empowering for canines? Would we applaud the dog vigilantism, and praise Fido for fighting its own battles and not seeking retribution through the legal system?

Of course not. Critics would say the film glorified animal abuse. But when it’s a person, it’s entertainment. It’s an exploitation film! Let’s put it in an arthouse, where you can sprinkle Brewer’s Yeast on your popcorn while watching a person reduced to a piece of meat that other people can stab, kick, punch, and fuck. And it’ll only cost you $9.50 and your soul.

We’re not going to review the I Spit On Your Grave remake, which comes out this weekend. I thought about it. I really did. When the nice gentlemen from the distribution company of this film attempted to defend his position with our readers, he also offered us a screener, and I almost took him up on it, reasoning that maybe this movie deserved a fair shake, separate from my feelings about the original. But then I remembered: 1) I don’t accept screeners, and 2) I don’t want to see anyone — man, woman, or animal — brutally tortured and raped for an extended period of time, and I can’t imagine any scenario in which I’d consider that art, entertainment, or at all redeeming.

It’s not that I don’t like horror movies, and it’s not that you can’t make the same dog analogy to any number of horror or revenge films, but this is different. Why? Because it is. Because I Spit On Your Grave is not about the revenge; it’s not even about the juicy, blood-drenched kill. It’s not about scaring you, or shocking you with a creative dismemberment. It’s not about zombies or monsters or serial killers. It’s about making you stew in dread, it’s about subjecting you to something intensely uncomfortable, and then prolonging it, and sticking your nose in someone else’s depravity until you’re too sick even to vomit. And it might even be about turning you on. And if it’s not about any of those things, then it’s failed as a remake, because it didn’t achieve what the original set out to do.

So, no: Sorry, folks. I don’t want to watch a rape movie. Rape movies aren’t funny, unless — as someone around here used to say — it’s the rape of clown. Because clown rape is always funny.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.