By Claire Henry
Thought of a infamous subset of horror within the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, there was a big revitalization and diversification of rape-revenge lately. This publication analyzes the politics, ethics, and impacts at play within the filmic building of rape and its responses.
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Additional resources for Revisionist Rape-Revenge: Redefining a Film Genre
This characteristic of the contemporary genre will be explored in Chapter Two through two even more overt examples, Teeth and Hard Candy. Other allusions include the rape on the car bonnet as a possible reference to Thelma & Louise; Alice finding her necklace in the forest post-rape as a possible reference to The Last House on the Left; the male witness or participant’s account of the rape replete with graphic flashbacks as a possible reference to or borrowing from The Accused; and the final look to camera, which again may be a reference to Thriller but is also an iconographic element of the revisionist genre seen in films such as Descent, the remake of I Spit on Your Grave, and Teeth.
The camerawork and editing fragment Mari’s body, objectifying her during her rape rather than conveying the experience of her terror. The camera voyeuristically roves up and down her body, lingering on her naked flesh—it seems to be taking cues from pornography conventions as much as horror. The visuals are stylized and rhythmic and are accompanied by a porn soundtrack: Mari’s cries and a slapping sound and no music. In short, I reacted with greater disgust at the graphic and affecting original, but with greater offense at the sanitized, aestheticized, and sexualized remake.
Reflecting the British censors’ approval of how the remake conveys the girls’ anguish, the American theatrical version retains Mari’s one subjective point-of-view shot during the rape, which is omitted from the unrated version. This point-of-view shot shows Paige lying on the ground in the distance and is out of focus around the edges of the frame, perhaps conveying the trauma of Mari’s experience and the potential for losing consciousness during it. 7 This change is revealing and significant, as it illustrates how an acceptable portrayal of rape is one that conveys the experience from the victim’s perspective, rather than one which structures the victim as object, watched by rapists and spectators alike.
Revisionist Rape-Revenge: Redefining a Film Genre by Claire Henry