“I Spit on Your Grave”

It’s not quite a return to the days of the Committee on Evil Literature, but the recently [2008] rebranded Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) has blocked the re-release in Ireland of the controversial 1978 horror movie “I Spit on Your Grave”.  The re-release of the original was timed to coincide with the release of a 2010 remake.

Despite appearing at the time on a list of 72 films, drawn up by the UK Director of Public Prosecutions, which could have caused retailers to be prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act – a list which included Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead and Abel Ferrara’s The Driller Killer – the re-released version is available in the UK. 

The BBC report quotes the director of the original, Meir Zarchi

However, Mr Zarchi said the ban will just give the movie more publicity.

“Since the birth of the internet all censor boards around the world have instantly become irrelevant, IFCO included,” he added.

“Anyone, anywhere in the universe can simply push a button on any video website store and order a disc of ‘I Spit On Your Grave’.

“There are no iron curtains in the skies that can stop it from landing at his or her door.

“Are we going through the “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” syndrome all over again?

“The bottom line – thank you IFCO for promoting the film in Ireland.”

The IFCO website claims

Our approach to classifying cinema films and video/DVDs is guided by three main principles: 

  •  We believe that adults (i.e. persons over 18) should be free, within the law, to choose what they wish to view
  • We have a duty to protect children and young persons from harm
  • We strongly encourage and promote the exercise of parental responsibility

And according to the Press Association report

The IFCO confirmed the movie was prohibited on September 14 for depicting acts of gross violence and cruelty, including mutilation and torture, towards humans.

Have they seen any of the Saw/Hostel movies?

Interestingly, the Irish Times notes

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. [added emphasis]


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  • William Markfelt

    ‘Have they seen any of the Saw/Hostel movies?’

    Have they watched the news, a regular video source of gross violence, mutilation and torture, in whatever form, against humans (but mostly in relation to ‘the war on terrorism’ in Iraq and Afghanistan)?

  • Pete Baker


    We’re talking about fictional representations.

    Let’s keep the focus on that.

  • Pippakin

    Ireland has introduced the most repressive censorship laws so why should anyone be surprised at this latest example of blinkered minds.

    As for making an accountant the ‘acting director’ – how apt.

  • tacapall

    Back to the good old days of Darby O’ Gill and the Quiet Man an all, find the end of the rainbow and get a pot of gold, dont be going near that fairy ring. An innocence of logic in bygone years, but ffs its 2010 there is no bogey men, no monsters under the bed. Fiction is fiction no matter what subject.

  • The Raven

    And speaking, a little more obliquely, of censorship….


  • Driftwood

    Saw this back in 1980, and again a few years ago. It’s shite.
    Nowhere near as graphic as ‘True Blood’, which is a brilliant TV series, or ‘ Generation Kill’.
    I saw it on a double bill (remember them- Taxi Driver and Midnight Express for a quid) with another similar set up. Think friday the 13th dirge.
    Around the time Lucio Fulci was making crap splatter movies.
    Wes Craven’s ‘Last House on the Left’ was decent though, based on Bergmans ‘The Virgin spring’ IIRC.
    And ‘Caligula’ at the Tonic in Bangor, nostalgia central.

  • Pete Baker


    Even obliquely that’s of little relevance to the actual topic.

  • Pete Baker


    “Saw this back in 1980, and again a few years ago. It’s shite.”

    It’s cinematic merit isn’t relevant.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘We’re talking about fictional representations.’

    Yeah. It’s fiction. Dead, immolated Iraqi Republican Guardsmen sitting in tanks and reduced to bits of flesh seared to a skeleton, broadcast in the early evening news, are real.

    And that’s the litmus test by which fiction should be judged (in Ireland, who probably broadcast those dead Iraqi images before the watershed, or anywhere else).

    If you wish to broadcast those images as ‘news’, then it weakens the case for banning a decent make-up artist with a copious amounts of tomato ketchup enormously.

    There’s my focus.

    You can’t have the IFCO (or the BBFC) act in isolation, or a pretence of obliviousness, to that ‘news’ visual output.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘I saw it on a double bill (remember them-‘

    I do.

    Clint Eastwood followed by Bruce Lee at the Troxy, for me.

    It also served pints to 14 year olds 🙂

    No questions asked.

    I also seem to recollect that Belfast City Council had a committee that vetted films on behalf of the city’s dwellers, and that Eileen Paisley sat on it at one time, famously emerging from one (The Exorcist?) to say ‘This film is disgusting. My husband needs to see it’.

  • Driftwood

    What is relevant?
    The fact that censorship laws are irrelevant in the internet age?
    OR That the Republic of Ireland thinks it can turn back the tide of increasing ‘immorality’ and not let the colleens dancing at crossroads be subjected to such ghastly stuff.

    Sure watching ‘The Angelus’ every evening on RTE will soothe their fevered brows..

  • Pete Baker

    Yeah, and the Vietnam war, nevermind other wars, got missed by the international media…

    Wake up.

    The ‘news’ output has nothing to do with this. There are already plenty of examples in the fictional arena which contradict this ruling.

  • Driftwood

    Wasn’t it 3 times Belfast City Councillors had to see ‘Emmanuelle’ before banning it.
    Didn’t apply to liberal Bangor though!

    remember Down District Council banning Scorcese’s ‘Last Temptation of Christ’. 1st time ever SF and DUP agreed. There were no Cinemas in Downpatrick or the council area at the time, but hey, ya gotta make yer point.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘and the Vietnam war, nevermind other wars, got missed by the international media…;

    In terms of graphic coverage, that’s exactly what happened.

    Comparing Vietnam coverage with that of Iraq is chalk and cheese.

    It might be helpful if you referenced another film freely available in Ireland by which we could make comparisons.

  • I saw the film a while ago and the only reason I can think that it might give the Classification Office the jitters is that it has several graphic rape scenes.

    It’s a throwback to the times when the Irish state would censor pretty much anything that didn’t conform to Catholic dogma.

  • Pippakin

    The Irish state has within the last year or so actually increased censorship. The Dail knows its place and that is, as ever, on its knees before the Vatican.

  • tacapall

    WOW Pip thats fire and brimstone talk, the vatican must have some sceal about people in the irish government or thats the power the people give the vatican and the politicians are just doing what the people want them too, why else would people keep voting them in for then.

  • Pippakin
  • The Raven

    Well two things, the latter of which I incorrectly thought could be read between the lines:

    I’d actually like to see it banned because – even as an example of its rape-and-revenge genre – it’s crud. Having seen it, and if that’s your gig, there are any number of better movies, Straw Dogs being one. But that’s neither here nor there.

    I’m surprised anyone blinks an eye at this sort of censorship. The BBFC still tweaks here and there, especially on some foreign-language movies, which inevitably turn up in some later DVD uncut format. That this appears on this board, when as a matter of course, censorship of one form or another on artistic output – see some of the reasons for takedowns in the BBC piece – is a day and daily occurrence is what surprises me.

    Is Oireland moving back a step? I’d say it’s probably kicking up a gear to catch up with everyone else, in a world where the ever-moralistic, fundamentalist right seems to be creeping ever further into the limelight. In a Western society where some rights are seen as God- or State-given elsewhere, are still denied to the Irish citizen, I’m just surprised it’s taken this long.

    It’s amazing just who starts to assert themselves at times like these, when recession starts to become an excuse for oppression. Too strong a word, I know, but it was the only one with that meaning that rhymed.

    Anyway – that’s its oblique relevance. To me.

  • Dr Concitor

    At least the Republican guard got on TV, unlike the Marsh Arabs. Also the Americans stopped before they all were dead, unlike Saddam and the March Arabs

  • Mark McGregor


    Have you seen this film? The British version is heavily edited. Close to an hour of graphic gang rape in a film of limited production values is inevitably going to attract negative reaction.

    I think it should be banned for being shit.

  • An Ceide

    Never heard of the film but now I’m curious to see it.

    The news is great a publicising these things. In this day and age with the online culture you can bet there are thousands more people like me who nerver heard of it but will now feel the need to see what all the hype is about.

  • Rory Carr

    I just got a DVD of Darby O’Gill and the Little People from Amazon to watch with my grand daughter. Bloody terrifying! She had to hold my hand in reassurance. “It’s only a film, Grandad, it’s not real.”

  • Alias

    At least we don’t live under glorious Palestinian rule. Hamas, the elected authorities in Gaza have stringent censorship rules with the blocking of internet porn sites for example, being done automatically with no consideration of particular cases.

  • “Close to an hour of graphic gang rape in a film of limited production values is inevitably going to attract negative reaction.” …. Mark McGregor
    22 September 2010 at 10:02 am


    Maybe it is more the notion that the rapists get their just desserts, and society would condone and seek to deliver such actions that causes such manly disquiet. Rape is such a cowardly crime, is it not, ranking right up there in the heavens alongside the abuse of innocence and children.

  • Alias

    “Maybe it is more the notion that the rapists get their just desserts, and society would condone and seek to deliver such actions that causes such manly disquiet.”

    But that would be a false message. If the state actually had such values in regard to a right to justice for its citizens, then it might have a case to reinforce that message in society on the basis that it was true. However, neither the UK nor Ireland regards justice as being a right but rather something that is at the discretion of the state.

    Child porn, for example, is banned not because it corrupts the viewer (who is held by the state to already be corrupted and hence automatically a criminal paedophile) but because a criminal act occurs during the production of it.

    Other examples of existing regulation, for example, are where criminal acts are simulated as in the visual production of BDSM porn then there is a mandatory scene included at the end wherein the protagonists are shown to be acting and that no malice occurred or harm was actually done to either party. Now, while I have not browsed such content with other than an academic interest *cough* when some pop-up has appeared from another site, if you do not avert your innocent eyes then you will see that the promo always ends with the couple depicted in such a pose as makes the acting explicit, so that’s there because of the regulation.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Have the censors never heard of Torrents ?? 🙂

    It is the biggest load of shite though !! Much like A Clockwork Orange…………over hyped ballix !! 🙂

  • Alias

    “A Clockwork Orange”

    That’s censorship that I approve of… ban films because they’re boring.

  • Quite so, Alias, ….. and thus does the law render itself an ass and a subjective tool of an objectionable tool?

  • Cynic

    “I Spit on Your Grave”

    Phew…on reading that headline I thought, ‘Wow …the UUP Leadership race is hotting up’

  • They’d have to censor the logo for that classification!

  • Rory Carr

    Do you speak from experience here, Alias. Have you been frustrated while in Palestine in finding that your favourite site for a quiet evening’s (or 5 minutes at least) pleasure was unavailable to you ?

    Love locked out. So distressing.

  • Rory Carr

    …or a headline for a tabloid kiss ‘n’ tell account of Iris’s current relationship with Peter.

  • Wilde Rover

    Totally random, given similar scenes in other movies, and pointless in this day and age.


    “Have the censors never heard of Torrents ??”

    I imagine the torrent rate has gone through the roof on this one.

  • Pippakin

    Blasphemy and censorship laws the same beast wearing different clothing. A, usually successful, attempt to prevent people saying what they think or discovering for themselves what all those people with the power already know.

    It happens all the time and it’s one of the reasons the MSM are so obedient: to be one of the chosen few you have to keep their secrets. It is the main reason the internet and blogging are so successful.