I Spit on Your Grave is the controversial and classic 1978 exploitation rape/revenge film that has been reviled by critics for its deplorable depictions of woman but also upheld by others as having a strong underlying feminist message.
Originally filmed under the title “Day of the Woman” the movie has also been shown under the name “I Hate Your Guts” and “The Rape and Revenge of Jennifer Hill”. The film didn’t become known as “I Spit on Your Grave” until it was re-released in 1980.
While many debates have and will be waged on the content of the film and its depiction of women and the elements of revenge and justice, one lesser known issue about I Spit on Your Grave that has been talked about for years is the mystery of the the woman on the movie poster.
Regarded as one of the most iconic movie posters of all time, the I Spit on Your Grave one-sheet captures and encapsulates not only the tone of the film but also the spirit of the mid to late 1970’s cinema movement.
One would assume that lead actress, Camille Keaton was the model depicted on the poster as it appears to show her character, Jennifer Hill. However, Camille has gone on record several times throughout the years saying that it was definitely not her that was photographed for the poster. Also, Camille’s frame and ahem, backside doesn’t match that of the woman on the poster.
So then, who is the mystery girl on the I Spit on Your Grave poster?
The most widely accepted rumor purports that it is none other than Golden Globe nominee and former Mrs. Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore.
In 1978, I Spit on Your Grave, was originally released as “Day of the Woman” and did poorly at the box office. In 1980 it was re-released by exploitation movie producer and distributor Jerry Gross. One of the conditions of this distribution deal was that Gross could re-title the movie anything he wanted. He chose “I Spit on Your Grave” after a 1959 French drama. Under the new title the film gained further notoriety fueled by the extremely negative reviews by Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert and their campaign against depictions of violence toward women in film.
In 1981 director and film distributor Charles Band acquired the video distribution rights to I Spit on Your Grave through his company Wizard Video. With the video distribution rights Wizard was also responsible for commissioning a poster emblazoned with the new title. At the time Band had been filming a low budget sci-fi movie called Parasite which featured a young Demi Moore in her first starring role. It is also rumored that Band and Moore were having an affair at the time.
When it came time to pick out a scantily clad model to be featured on the I Spit on Your Grave poster Band chose Moore.
Demi would have been 19 or 20 years old at the time the poster was commissioned and had previously done some modeling work prior to acting. Her close proximity to Band and her age and features do seem to point to a strong correlation to the young woman on the poster.
While the story has never been confirmed by Demi herself, Band, his assistants and several others close to the business have said unequivocally that it is indeed Moore’s cheeks that grace the I Spit on Your Grave poster, VHS, DVD and Blu-ray artwork. What do you think? Is this the backside that has so long been associated with one of the most controversial movies of all time?