Re-release of 'I Spit on Your Grave' banned by film body

THE IRISH Film Classification Office has banned the DVD re-release of Meir Zarchi’s notorious 1978 horror film I Spit on Your…

THE IRISH Film Classification Office has banned the DVD re-release of Meir Zarchi's notorious 1978 horror film I Spit on Your Grave.

The body, formerly the Irish Film Censor’s Office, has, in recent years, been reluctant to ban films outright, so this must be viewed as an unusual move.

The reason given for declining to issue a certificate for the DVD, was the depiction of “acts of gross violence and cruelty towards humans”. Mr Zarchi commented: “It doesn’t surprise me that Ireland have decided to ban the film.

“It has relentlessly continued to shock and offend audiences since 1978 when it was first released, and it still does to this date.


“However, with the level of graphic violence and horror available these days, it’s surprising that IFCO sees this 1978 film as more offensive than some of the most daring and empty-of-content torture porn available today.”

I Spit on Your Grave, a low-budget rape-revenge thriller, was at the centre of the first so-called "video nasty" scandal in the early 1980s.

At that time, the UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions drew up a list of 72 films that could cause retailers to be prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act.

Other films on the chart – viewed as excellent publicity by canny distributors – included Sam Raimi's The Evil Deadand Abel Ferrara's The Driller Killer.

The new version, which features a substantial amount of extra footage, is not the same package that was put before the British DPP 30 years ago.

The decision comes a little less than a year after John Kelleher, seen as a liberalising force, retired as the director of classification. Ger Connolly, the current acting director, was formerly an accountant in the advertising and manufacturing industries. The reissue is timed to coincide with an upcoming remake of Mr Zarchi’s creaky original.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist