Northern Ireland

Irish censors ban re-release of 1978 horror film

Camille Keaton
Image caption Camille Keaton stars in "I Spit on Your Grave"

Irish film censors have banned the re-release of a controversial 1978 horror movie.

The Irish Film Classification Office (IFCO) has blocked the sale of the DVD I Spit on Your Grave, starring Buster Keaton's granddaughter Camille Keaton.

The film was prohibited on 14 September for depicting acts of gross violence and cruelty towards humans.

Director Meir Zarchi said he was not surprised Ireland banned the film.

It tells the story of an aspiring writer who is repeatedly gang-raped and left for dead by four men whom she systematically hunts down for revenge.

"It has relentlessly continued to shock and offend audiences since 1978 when it was first released, and it still does to this date," he said.

"However, with the level of graphic violence and horror available these days, it is surprising that IFCO sees this 1978 film as more offensive than some of the most daring and empty of content torture porn available today."

The IFCO last made a prohibition order in 2007 when watchdogs banned the video game, "Manhunt 2".

"I Spit On Your Grave" was regarded as one of the most graphic and violent films in cinema history. The cult film, originally released under the name "Day of the Woman" is still available in the UK.

But Irish fans of the "video nasty" will be prohibited from purchasing locally, forcing them to import UK versions from internet retailers.

The movie has also been remade and will be in cinemas across the UK next February.

Eoghan Burke, of Lace Digital Media Sales in Ireland, said he was disappointed and saddened by the IFCO decision.

"I thought we had moved on from these times. It just drives business away from bricks and mortar and into the hands of online, denying much needed revenue to traditional retail," he said.

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."