Rape and revenge films (rape/revenge) are a subgenre of exploitation film that was particularly popular in the 1970s. Rape/revenge movies generally follow the same three act structure:
- Act I: A woman is raped/gang raped, tortured, and left for dead.
- Act II: The woman survives and rehabilitates herself.
- Act III: The woman takes revenge and kills all of her rapists.
In some cases, the woman is killed at the end of the first act, and the "revenge" is carried out by her family, as in Last House on the Left.
Notable rape/revenge movies include The Virgin Spring, I Spit On Your Grave, Lipstick, Thriller - A Cruel Picture, Death Wish, Straw Dogs, Ms. 45, Sudden Impact, Baise-moi, ¡Dispara!, Coward of the County Irréversible, Thelma & Louise, and Extremities. The Virgin Spring, sharing a common source material as Last House on The Left, is particularly notable as being arguably the first in the genre as well as being directed by Ingmar Bergman.
The 2009 film Run! Bitch Run! is a throw back to the classic 1970's rape and revenge films like Last House on the Left and Ms. 45. The film takes place in the late 1970’s, where the lack of modern technology made the world a more vulnerable place.
Notably, in Gaspar Noé's 2002 film Irréversible, the structure was reversed, with the first act depicting the revenge before tracing back the events which led to that point. Roger Ebert argues that by using this structure, as well as a false revenge, Irréversible cannot be classified as an exploitation film, as no exploitation of the subject matter takes place.
- Ebert, Roger. "Irreversible :: rogerebert.com :: Reviews". Rogerebert.suntimes.com. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20030314/REVIEWS/303140303/1023. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
- Clover, Carol J. 1992 Men, Women, and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691006202.
- Creed, B. 1993 The Monstrous-Feminine: Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 0415052599.
- King, Claire Sisco 2003. "Review of Thelma & Louise by Marita Sturken and of The New Avengers: Feminism, Femininity, and the Rape-Revenge Cycle by Jacinda Read." http://www.scope.nottingham.ac.uk/bookreview.php?issue=aug2003&id=437§ion=book_rev (retrieved October 6, 2007)
- Read, Jacinda 2000. The New Avengers: Feminism, Femininity, and the Rape-Revenge Cycle. Manchester, UK and New York: Manchester University Press. ISBN 0-7190-5905-4.
- Makela, Anna (no date). Political rape, private revenge. The story of sexual violence in Finnish Film and Television
- "(viewed as HTML. Retrieved October 6, 2007". Google.com. http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:0Vk_2922Is0J:media.utu.fi/emy/AnnaMakela.rtf+rape-revenge&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=101&gl=us. Retrieved 2010-01-25.