GROWING UP WITH I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is a Personal Look at the Transgressive Classic

With the rise of fandom, the horror doc landscape has become littered by fans extolling the virtues of their favorite films in documentary form. Growing Up with I Spit on Your Grave tackles one of the most infamous genre films ever set to celluloid, but the hook here is the documentary was made by the director’s son Terry Zarchi, who had a role in the film when he was a mere nine years old (look for him in the gas station scene). The film, which seemingly disappeared after a trailer was dropped in 2014, is finally being released on DVD in conjunction with the release of I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà Vu, Meir Zarchi’s long awaited return to the characters that have now become a franchise, with Déjà Vu being the fifth film in this series.

The doc begins by laying out the horrifically true story that inspired I Spit on Your Grave. One day in October while taking his family to the park, the director found a young woman who was naked and caked in mud, who had just been raped. We discover through interviews with the director, his family, and friends how that moment shaped Meir’s career and life going forward. That image of the woman would find its way into a script and become one of the most notorious stories of vengeance ever, as Meir would grant the woman the vengeance she so deserved. The doc gives you all the details on production you’d ever want to know, as well as tackling some of the mythology behind the film. Like, was that really a young Demi Moore on the poster? For fans of the transgressive classic, you might know the basics, but thanks to the documentarian’s relationship with his subjects, you’re definitely going to learn a thing or two.

Equal parts documentary and home movie, Terry gives an intimate perspective on his family and their relationship with the making of this transgressive classic. It’s this mix that makes this a must watch for hard core fans, since Terry candidly chats with not only his father, Meir, but his then-stepmother Camille Keaton, who delivers some fascinating anecdotes on her time with the Zarchi family. My only wish was something on the unofficial sequel to Spit, Savage Vengeance, the fascinating SOV oddity Camille shot without Meir’s blessing. That being said, it’s still a near perfect companion piece to I Spit on Your Grave: Déjà Vu, with its deep dive behind what made the original the cult classic it now is as the story moves forward. Growing Up with I Spit on Your Grave is not just a fan talking about his favorite movie, but a son examining his father’s legacy and how one horrific event has shaped all of their lives both for better or worse.

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