EXTREME HORROR: “Rape and Revenge” movies

You can’t talk about extreme horror films without mentioning some of the most infamous “rape and revenge” flicks. And you can’t talk about “rape and revenge” movies without mentioning 70s exploitation cinema.

However, with this 8th article in my extreme horror series, I wanted to focus on some modern additions to the “rape and revenge” sub-genre that are both very extreme and impactful enough to be worth sitting through. However, a shout-out to the 70s was necessary, so I picked two films that deserve a place in the series but might not be as well known as some of the more classic examples in this sub-genre. This is why I excluded titles such as The Last House on the Left, Midnight Train Murders and the original I Spit on Your Grave. I, also, didn’t include Irreversible – my favourite film in the sub-genre – because I briefly talked about it before, in an article entirely dedicated to the films of Gaspar Noe’.

Before we start discussing the five extreme “rape and revenge” films, let me explain what I consider to be a good movie in the sub-genre: in order for this kind of picture to be effective, the rape must be confronting and hard to watch (not necessarily in an overly graphic way), but the revenge part should take central stage and make the viewer feel satisfaction in witnessing the assailants get what they deserve. Gritty and dirty look, low-budget, nasty feel would definitely help a “rape and revenge” movie to come off as extreme and exploitative enough.

Without further ado, let’s check out these extreme exploitation-horror films, in chronological order as per usual.

Continue reading and check the five extreme rape and revenge movies below…

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Thriller: A Cruel Picture (Sweden, 1973) – This nearly two-hour-long Swedish picture follows a girl, muted after a sexual assault as a child, who gets kidnapped and sold as a prostitute to the depravity of various clients. One day, she escapes and decides to start training to become a badass killer, in order to murder every single man who wronged her in the past so-many years.

This is the film that inspired Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (specifically the character of Elle Driver), which is kind of understandable since Thriller is a truly fantastic watch. The character development is meticulous, every sequence is gritty but highly stylised, the story is truly hard to watch. This movie succeeds because the main girl truly goes through a lot before it’s her turn: she gets raped multiple times on screen, she’s forced to do drugs, she’s beaten up and tortured. After that, though, the viewer gets to witness how hard she trains to become a killing machine and, more importantly, we are given a truly bloody and satisfying revenge part that’s long and extremely fulfilling.

My only complaint with this picture is the insertion of pornographic shots of actual sex scenes that are supposed to represent the rape: this feels very gratuitous, 100% unnecessary, absolutely disgusting. Other than that, Thriller: A Cruel Picture is a great film and, perhaps, one of the most disturbing “rape and revenge” flicks ever made.

Lady Snowblood: Blizzard from the Netherworld (Japan, 1973) – On the other side of the spectrum, there’s this rather delicate “rape and revenge” story about a woman who gets sexually assaulted by three men who make the mistake of letting her live: this woman creates an instrument of revenge by purposefully getting pregnant. In fact, her daughter (played by the wonderful Japanese icon Meiko Kaji) is raised to get revenge on the three men who assaulted her mother and killed her father.

Although the premise sounds exploitive and disturbing, Lady Snowblood handles the rape part of the film with delicacy, in a way that makes it seem more depressing than actually hard to watch. The revenge part, however, is very well-done and bloody, with Kaji’s acting delivering all her character’s anger and rage in the best way possible. Even though this film is very slow, the artistry behind camera-work and cinematography, in combination with themes such as destiny and honour, makes it very easy to sit through.

Lady Snowblood might not be the most extreme example of “rape and revenge” film, but it’s one that fans of horror and Japanese cinema should definitely watch.

Baise-Moi (France, 2000) – We enter modern times with this French independent movie with a title that literally translated to “fuck me” (very classy!). In this picture, two young women who are marginalised by society, go on a destructive tour of sex and violence, breaking norms and killing men after having had “rapey” sex with them.

To be perfectly clear, I really don’t like this movie. To me, it all feels pointless and shocking for the sake of it: there’s no traditional narrative, no morals, no characters’ arc, no reason. However, if you’re looking for an extreme horror-thriller that’s sexually charged and uncomfortable throughout, Baise-Moi delivers: this is a truly and purposely tasteless film that takes pleasure from being offensive and as disturbing as possible. It’s the revenge on society of two very unlikeable characters who, in my opinion, justify why society marginalised them…

Again, this movie was very hard to watch (for me) due to its extreme content: if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t miss it out.

Revengers Tragedy (England, 2002) – From the director of Repo Man comes this highly stylised and unique “rape and revenge” take on Thomas Middleton’s celebrated play from 1607. Revengers Tragedy follows a man who, after his wife gets raped and killed on their wedding day, seeks revenge against the perpetrators.

This film is extreme for two reasons: the cyber-punk look and feel, and the hard-hitting gore. This is a very unconventional picture that combines elements of horror, drama, exploitation, dark comedy in a cyber-punk setting created by the combination of industrial soundtrack and absurd visuals. If you’re looking for a completely different experience in the “rape and revenge” sub-genre, Revengers Tragedy is a must-watch!

I Spit on Your Grave (USA, 2010) – The remake of the infamous 1978 shocker improves upon the original on every single level: acting, cinematography, sound-design, look and feel, character development… all the while even increasing the nasty feel of the original, and making the rape more disturbing and the revenge more satisfying.

This is my second favourite “rape and revenge” film of all-time, as the filmmakers really weren’t afraid of making a modern horror-exploitation movie as nasty as possible: the rape, here, goes on forever, but the revenge part is equally long and rewarding. This is sold perfectly by Sarah Butler’s performance as the titular character: first, she embodies the role of the victim in a heart-wrenching way; then, she becomes a badass killer who makes the assailants pay as they should.

Had it not been for the awful CGI crows, this movie would get a perfect score from me as far as “rape and revenge” movies go.

What “rape and revenge” movies do you guys consider as extreme? Which ones left you with a long-lasting nasty impression? Have you seen the five films I just talked about? What are your thoughts on them? Let me know in the comments and, while you’re at it, what should my next EXTREME HORROR article be about? Leave some cool recommendations and I’ll take them into consideration!


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