Censor spits on Grave
By Philip Wakefield
In an extraordinarily rare decision, the film censor has banned a high-profile release by a mainstream DVD distributor.
Madman Entertainment had to pull the 2010 remake of the 1978 exploitation cult shocker I Spit on Your Grave on the eve of its April release.
And in the wake of this, the Office of Film and Literature Classification is reassessing if the original, which has just been re-released on Blu-ray with an R18 certificate, should be reclassified.
It deemed the movie objectionable “because it tends to promote and support the use of violence to compel any person to submit to sexual conduct. It also tends to promote and support acts of torture and the infliction of extreme violence and extreme cruelty.”
The office described the brutal terrorisation and rape of a woman by a group of men she seeks retribution against as “long and realistic”, and said it invited viewers “to take vicarious pleasure in the men’s misogyny and the woman’s abject fear and debasement.”
“Whereas the brutalisation of the woman is chillingly realistic, her revenge is a series of grotesque and implausible horror set-pieces.”
The office considered the effects of the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 on whether its classification interfered with freedom of expression but concluded its decision was consistent with publications deemed objectionable Section 3(2) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.
The office also considered if the movie could be approved with cuts.
“However, the material that causes the DVD’s tendency to promote and support sexual violence and other violence and cruelty against women is extensive. To remove the worst parts too many excisions would be required and it is arguable whether these would remove the problematic messages underlying this film.”
However, Madman Entertainment has been able to release the DVD/Blu-ray in Australia with an R18 restriction; both versions also are for sale with an R18 rating in the UK, and the original remains on sale here. A decision about its classification won’t be made until late May or early June.