Read our exclusive interview with Meir Zarchi, who directed the controversial 1978 horror film ‘I Spit On Your Grave.’ He served as an executive producer on director Steven R. Monroe’s new remake of the film, which set to premiere theatrically on October 8, 2010, in a limited release. He discusses with us, among other things, why he agreed to participate in the new version and why his original was so controversial when it was released.
Shockya (SY): You directed the original 1978 version of ‘I Spit On Your Grave.’ Did you have any part in getting the production company to agree to remake it?
Meir Zarchi (MZ): Yes. They had the last word. (The production company) Cinetel had the last word. They were very respectful of the original. They also respected anything I told them as well.
SY: You served as an executive producer for the remake. Why did you decide to take part in creating this new version?
MZ: Well, basically, I was interested in making a sequel, before Cinetel created the remake. A lot of other companies were interested, and easily one of them could have done the remake. But I wanted to do a sequel. Yet, when Cinetel talked to me the film, I realized the tremendous respect they had for the original. I was convinced they would do it with a lot of respect for the original, and give it justice as well. I knew they would justify the remake as well.
SY: When your version of the movie was released, it was controversial. Why was the way you portrayed a woman defending herself against her attackers so controversial?
MZ: It dealt with a subject that was brutal. It had shots that nobody had seen or experienced before. That’s why it still is so controversial.
SY: When the remake is released, do you think it will be just as controversial as your version?
MZ: I hope so! The remake was very, very well done. It’s different than the original, which is okay, because it shouldn’t be the same. I think the remake was very well done. I believe it will be just as controversial as the original.
SY: ‘I Spit On Your Grave’ is similar in nature to other horror movies as ‘The Last House on the Left.’ What is it about your movie that makes it stand out from such similarly-themed horror movies?
MZ: In ‘Last House on the Left’ and all the other movies that were done about revenge, like ‘The Brave One,’ etc., the revenge was done by the father or the brother or the husband, etc. Never by the victim herself. In ‘I Spit On Your Grave,’ this is the first time the victim herself is standing up and taking revenge against the culprits.
SY: What was your reaction when you first saw the remake?
MZ: I loved it, liked it very much. But I was involved with the screenplay, and with a certain extent, the shoot and the set. So I saw it developing. I saw the dailies as well. So it wasn’t such a big surprise for me that it was done so well and so good. It might shock the audience who sees it for the first time, in the cold. For me, it was gradual. I’ve seen the movie about four or five times. I’ve seen it with an audience, which is the most important way to see a movie. They all loved it and appreciated it. They all came out of the theater with a shock.
Written by: Karen Benardello