Rape Film...(festival? Can I have a better word, please?)

Something Wild (1961, not the 1986 Melanie Griffith romp): rape-traumatized Carol Baker attempts suicide but is rescued and then confined by Ralph Meeker, a decent but lonely man playing the Blacksnake Moan gambit

Town Without Pity a German woman is raped (no doubt about it) by 3 GI’s. We’re supposed to root for them because the Army wants to come down on them like a ton of bricks to appease the local Germans (who, after all started WWII), but are saved by lawyer Kirk “not quite Paths of Glory; more like the creep who raped teenage Natalie Wood” Douglas.

Cry Rape, a 1973 TV movie with Andrea Marcovicci, who’s had a respected career more as a singer than as an actress, despite some good movies. Those of us who saw this back in the day were not only outraged at the rape, but at the slam at cat vs dog owners.

I know February is long past, and I left out the obvious ones like The Accused, since I’m looking for overlooked movies that were either courageous or remarkably flawed

I Spit on Your Grave, the 1978 version was certainly out there at the time. A writer gets gang raped and left for dead, then goes after her attackers with girl-power-revenge.

Ingmar Bergman’s The Virgin Spring

Preston Sturges’s The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek would be considered rape today – the girl was so drunk that she didn’t remember what happened. But since she had drunkenly married the man (and couldn’t remember much of that, either), it was spousal rape, a concept* that didn’t exist in 1944.

*It existed, but most people couldn’t wrap their minds around the idea.

Girl with the Dragon Tatoo.
Bad Lieutenant
All the rapes are catalysts for revenge.

In the same vein Ms. 45, starring Zoe Tamerlis who later co-wrote Bad Lieutenant.

How about Movie Marathon?

Johnny Belinda

Forced Entry: a bizarre and unpleasant movie from 1973. I guess it was an attempt to combine a Deep Throat-era porn movie with a gritty seventies crime thriller. Harry Reems plays a cliche character of the era - a psychopath Vietnam vet. He stalks women he sees, breaks into their apartments, and rapes and murders them. Then he goes even crazier and kills himself.

It failed as a movie. The characters and the story had no depth or development so you couldn’t take it as a serious exploration of the violence in American society like Taxi Driver or Death Wish or The Incident. The graphic sex scenes kept it from being marketed as a violent exploitation film like Macon County Line or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre or The Last House on the Left. And the people who wanted to see x-rated porn generally weren’t interested in the violence.

Surprisingly they made a remake only two years after the original. This version cut back on the more graphic sex scenes and stuck with just the crime/horror genre. The remake was therefore slightly more mainstream and featured two actress starting out their careers - Nancy Allen and Tanya Roberts - who would become well known.

Dead Girl. Rape AND zombies, very disturbing.


That Michael J Fox Vietnam film

A Clockwork Orange

Straw Dogs

Another revenge rape movie: Death Wish.

Pretty When You Cry

Any number of Popeye shorts featuring Bluto. And don’t get me started on that French skunk…

Another one was Savage Streets, which was a cheap-ass ripoff of the Death Wish idea, with Linda Blair becoming a vigilante who begins killing street criminals after her younger sister (played by Linnea Quigley) is raped.

For something unique try Werewolf Woman. It’s an incredibly odd combination of slasher film, sexploitation, and rape revenge with a big spoonful of werewolf boobs on top.

Full disclaimer: Not actually a werewolf movie aside from aforementioned werewolf boob scene.

What’s the February connection?

The most disturbing example I can think of is an Italian film called Two Women (La Ciociara) starring Sophia Loren. A widow and her twelve-year-old daughter are both raped by Allied troops in an abandoned church during WWII. The daughter blames the mother for putting them in danger by making them leave their safe hideaway too early. They are at least partly reconciled in the end, but you’re left to wonder what their relationship will be like. The story is fictional but based on true events that unfolded during the war. Sofia Loren won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance but I think the film is not very well known in the U.S. At least I never heard of it until a few years ago.

I know they don’t really meet the “overlooked” criterion but I’ll submit these because they’re hard to forget:[ul]
American History X
Boys Don’t Cry[/ul]

Apparently, February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.

I’ll sidestep the rape discussion and just thank Slithy Tove for posting links to old movies, presumably no longer under copyright control.

I only dimly remember watching the movie, but I sure remember Gene Pitney with his many great hits, including the title song of this movie. Following Mr. Tove’s good example, I provide a link.


Due to a cluster of threads on the topic at the time, February was sarcastically declared to be “Rape Month.”