Rape and revenge film
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Rape and revenge films (aka rape/revenge, rape-revenge) are a subgenre of exploitation film that was particularly popular in the 1970s. Rape/revenge movies generally follow the same three act structure:
- Act I: A character is raped/gang raped, tortured, and/or left for dead.
- Act II: The character survives and/or rehabilitates themselves.
- Act III: The character takes revenge and/or kills their rapist(s).
In some cases, the character is incapacitated or killed at the end of the first act, and the "revenge" is carried out by their family, as in The Virgin Spring, I Saw the Devil, the original The Last House on the Left and The House of the Spirits. The Virgin Spring is particularly notable as being one of the first in the genre as well as being directed by Ingmar Bergman.
In 2006, Rogue Pictures finalized a deal to remake The Last House on the Left. Wes Craven (writer and producer of the original film) produced the remake, starring Tony Goldwyn and Monica Potter. The 2009 film Run! Bitch Run! is set in the late 1970s. The controversial remake I Spit on Your Grave, starring Sarah Butler and Chad Lindberg, was released worldwide on Halloween 2010 by CineTel Films; its sequel, I Spit on Your Grave 2, was released in 2013.
In Gaspar Noé's 2002 film Irréversible, the structure was reversed, with the first act depicting the revenge before tracing back the events which led to that point. Roger Ebert argues that, by using this structure as well as a false revenge, Irréversible cannot be classified as an exploitation film, as no exploitation of the subject matter takes place.
The genre has attracted critical attention. Much of this critical attention comes from feminist critics examining the complex politics involved in the genre and its impact on cinema more generally. More recently, a broad analysis of the rape-revenge genre and concept was published in Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. The book argues against a simplistic notion of the term 'rape-revenge' and suggests a film-specific approach in order to avoid generalizing films which may "diverge not over the treatment of sexual assault as much as they do in regards to the morality of the revenge act."
In addition to American and French films, rape/revenge films have been made in Japan (e.g., Takashi Ishii's Freeze Me), Finland, Russia, Argentina (e.g., I'll Never Die Alone; ; original title: No Moriré Sola), and Norway (e.g., The Whore ; original title: Hora).
Examples in film
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- 22 Female Kottayam
- 6 Guns
- American Mary
- Bad Reputation
- Coward of the County
- Daughter of Darkness
- Death Weekend (aka: The House by the Lake)
- Death Wish
- Death Wish II
- Eye for an Eye
- Girls Against Boys
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
- A Gun for Jennifer
- Hannie Caulder
- Hard Candy
- Hollow Man
- The House of the Spirits
- I Saw the Devil
- I Spit on Your Grave (1978)
- I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
- I Spit on Your Grave 2
- Jungle Warriors
- Kill Bill
- Kill the Rapist?
- The Ladies Club
- Lady Snowblood
- Lady Vengeance
- The Last House on the Left (1972)
- The Last House on the Left (2009)
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Ms. 45
- Pulp Fiction
- Red Sonja
- Revengers Tragedy
- The Rifleman of the Voroshilov Regiment
- Rise: Blood Hunter
- Run! Bitch Run!
- Savage Streets
- Shutter (2004)
- Shutter (2008)
- Sin City
- The Stranger
- Straw Dogs (1971)
- Straw Dogs (2011)
- Sudden Death (1985) (aka: Dirty Harriet)
- Sudden Impact
- Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
- Thriller – A Cruel Picture
- Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives
- Titus (1999), a modernized adaptation of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus
- Tomcats (1977) (aka: Avenged) (aka: Deadbeat)
- The Virgin Spring
- Wild Things
- Wild Things 2
- Wild Things: Diamonds in the Rough
- Wild Things: Foursome
- Ebert, Roger. "Irreversible::rogerebert.com::Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- Clover, Carol J. (1992). Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-00620-2.
- Creed, B. (1993). The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-05259-9.
- King, Claire Sisco (2003). "Review of "Thelma & Louise" by Marita Sturken and of "The New Avengers: Feminism, Femininity, and the Rape-Revenge Cycle" by Jacinda Read". Retrieved October 6, 2007.
- Read, Jacinda (2000). The New Avengers: Feminism, Femininity, and the Rape-Revenge Cycle. Manchester, UK and New York: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-5905-4.
- Heller-Nicholas, Alexandr (2011). Rape-Revenge Film: A Critical Study. New York: McFarland. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-7864-4961-3.
- Makela, Anna. "Political rape, private revenge. The story of sexual violence in Finnish Film and Television". Google.com. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- Schubart, Rikke (2007). Super Bitches and Action Babes. McFarland and Company Inc., Publishers. pp. 83–104. ISBN 9780786429240.