Chad Ferrin Talks The Deep Ones’ Lovecraftian Horror

Back in January, we broke the news that cult writer/director Chad Ferrin (Someone’s Knocking at the Door, Easter Bunny! Kill! Kill!) was producing an original horror flick inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft.

Three months later, the film has wrapped and post-production is underway on what can only be described as a very sticky, very bizarre and oft-amusing throwback genre entry that combines the Cthulhu mythos with what you might call that Chad Ferrin feeling.

In the wake of the flick’s gory execution I spoke to the veteran indie filmmaker about how the picture came together and what audiences can expect from the mind behind John and Wilma Hopper (Someone’s Knocking) and the murderous mole people of Parasites.

Bob Freville: The Deep Ones is very different from anything else you’ve made. What was the genesis of this project?

Chad Ferrin: Star/producer, Gina La Piana offered her beach house as a location, and said we should shoot some kind of airbnb horror film there. The moment she said Airbnb, my mind clicked and the script was done in two weeks. It fell into place faster than anything, from script to production that I had done before. Perhaps it was writing for specific actors, seaside locations, divine intervention or Lovecraft guiding my hand…whichever, it was a perfect formula.

Were you reading a particular Lovecraft work when you alighted on the idea?

Shadow over Innsmouth, Dagon and The Call of Cthulhu inspired me the most. And I must say, it’s truly a dream come true to make a Lovecraftian film.

How did the project come together and what did that look like from inception to pre-production to wrapping on the beach?

It all started with Robert Miano introducing me to Gina for another project and when that didn’t work out, this one fatefully slithered up. Once we had her and the locations, Robert found the first batch of investors Michael Schefano and Richard Pate, followed by Gerry Karr and Jerry Irons. Then producers Zebadiah DeVane and Jeff Olan came in with the rest of the budget. Gina recommended Johann Urb and Jackie Debatin who were FANTASTIC in the roles of Petri and Deb. We had Zeb’s excellent catering, perfect weather, I only almost died twice(fell asleep at wheel)…it was really a blessed production.

How much planning went into the creature FX? I imagine you had a hand in sketching out the design of the mythical beast.

Jim and I went back and fourth on few concepts for Dagon that fit within our budget. Elements of C.H.U.D. were the icing on the creature cake. Then Jim and his crew had a couple months prep and they really out did themselves.

How was this experience different from that of your previous films? What were some of benefits to this shoot and, by contrast, the struggles you came up against?

It was the smoothest from start to finish and by far the most rewarding for me artistically. In large part due to a really top notch cast and crew that gravitated to the material. The set had a family vibe that helped keep everyone in high spirits and the beautiful locations didn’t hurt.

I understand that Robert Miano co-produced this one with you. How did that come about and can you talk a bit about your collaborative process with someone like Rob?

We collaborate on everything from script to screen. I first worked with Robert’s wife Silvia Spross on Someone’s Knocking at the Door, and she introduced me to Robert. The three of us had an amazing collaboration on Parasites, and then continued with Robert Rhine on Exorcism at 60,000 Feet and now The Deep Ones.

Did you have any specific influences in mind when you were prepping The Deep Ones? I know we touched on some aesthetic similarities to Brian Yuzna’s Society and Peter Jackson’s Braindead when we were talking about a particular sequence from the script, but were there

other influences that you were consciously or, subconsciously drawing upon?

Yes, Society and Braindead, as well as Kubrick’s The Shining, Horror Express, Rosemary’s Baby, Halloween III, Dark Shadows, Possession, Humanoids from the Deep, Salem’s Lot and Prince of Darkness.

The Deep Ones has reunited you with some people that you have worked with frequently in the past. I believe this was your third time working with Robert, but you’ve also got Timothy Muskatell on board for the first time since…Someone’s Knocking? You’ve always had a bit of a repertory company of actors going. Do you have a dream team of sorts that you’d like to work with in the future?

Well when you find talented cast/crew you just want to keep that magic going from film to film. Worked for John Ford, right? I hope to add Gina, Johann, Jackie, Kelli, Nicolas and Jerry to the next one. It’s nice to work with talented people that you have a little history with. I worked James Ojala back in my Troma days. Rae Robison had done costume design on Unspeakable, so it was pretty awesome to reunite 20 years later. Jeff Billings worked on Parasites, really dug the script and went above and beyond. Steve Hitselberger, John Santos, David Defino have been on most of my films since The Ghouls. Richard Band and I had a such a great experience on Exorcism that just had to get him on board.

I have to say that this flick seems pretty epic in scale in terms of the practical creature effects and whatnot. Do you see yourself going in the opposite direction with your next picture? Could we ever see a two-person character study from Chad Ferrin? Maybe a claustrophobic single location thriller?

I have a sort of single location thriller sitting here as well as a few bigger budget things. I’m ready for anything.


What do you think audiences can look forward to experiencing when The Deep Ones is finally unleashed on them?

Wall to wall cosmic creepiness and a score that is phenomenal. A Lovecraftian Rosemary’s Baby that will leave you gasping.

Do you have any acquisition deals in place? Is there a global sales rep attached or anything of that nature?

There’s a lot of interest, but I’m waiting to do a festival run before locking anything.

Can you see yourself expanding on the Cthulhu mythos down the road?

Yes, working on a sort of sequel to The Deep Ones now. Very excited.

Are there any other existing IPs that you would be interested in tackling?

I have a western version of Kihachi Okamot’s The Sword of Doom ready to roll.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates regarding The Deep Ones as they come in…

Chad Ferrin, Genre Auteur Goes Deep in New Cult Horror Film

Chad Ferrin has made seven feature films over the last two decades, each of them a celebration of the Grotesque. All of these movies shared a certain DIY ingenuity along with an obvious obsession with the limits of sanity.

Despite their collective preoccupations, no two of Ferrin’s flicks were alike. The director brazenly leaped from the no-budget social satire of The Ghouls (2003) to the festive revenge film Easter Bunny, Kill! Kill! (2007)

It was there, in a seemingly threadbare narrative with one primary location, Ferrin found his footing as a filmmaker. The tale of a disabled kid and his doting single mom provided the director the opportunity to explore difficult subject matter such as child abuse, Munchausen by proxy and more, all within the snug confines of the exploitation genre.

Not two years later, the promise on display in the bloody bunny pic would reach a new apex with Someone’s Knocking at the Door (2009). Produced, in part, by actor/star Noah Segan (Knives Out, Deadgirl), ‘Someone’s Knocking’ is a positively bugfuck psychological horror film about a group of med students who stumble upon a drug that resurrects two sexually voracious thrill-killers.

In the years since ‘Someone’s Knocking,’ Ferrin has seen several of his projects fall apart in various stages of pre-production. First there was the widely announced Dances with Werewolves which made it into the pages of Fangoria before financing fell apart.

The oddball horror western hybrid was ultimately retooled by other filmmakers and released to zero fan fare in 2017, by which time Ferrin had seen a number of other concepts collapse in his wake. After dealing with years of frustration and false deals from bogus money men, Ferrin decided to return to his roots.

In 2016, he took to the fetid streets of downtown Los Angeles to make what should have been the guerilla filmmaking triumph of the decade. Parasites was to be a gritty modernization of Colter’s Run with the action transplanted to the culverts, underpasses, back alleys and reservoirs of LA’s homeless population.

After facing down violent protest from real life street addicts and a flurry of problems typical of shoestring productions, Ferrin managed to successfully execute the film he set out to make. The result is a mean little picture with balls as big as the bone it’s got to pick with society.

Boasting a ferocious performance by chameleonic character actor Robert Miano (Donnie Brasco, The Funeral) as the central heavy, Parasites exemplified Ferrin’s talent for taking a familiar trope (the middle class take a detour and end up in a place they don’t belong) and amplifying it to 11.

What should have been a breakout hit for the genre auteur ended up going the way of countless other direct-to-DVD flicks when Ferrin discovered that his domestic production partners had gone behind his back, secretly releasing the pic on streaming platforms in the United States and quietly selling off International territories.

After he managed to wrest his film from the greasy hands of his rapacious partners, Ferrin found another distributor who had some ideas of their own. A full two years after principal photography was complete, Parasites bowed out on Amazon Prime under the uninspired title Attack in LA.

Situations like this one are hardly remarkable in the film industry where handshake deals are regularly reneged upon and distributors frequently betray a director’s vision by re-cutting a movie. What is remarkable is Ferrin’s perseverance. Lesser artists would have thrown in the towel, but Chad understood something that’s lost on others—keep yourself busy and, sooner or later, someone’s gonna be knocking on your door.

As a gun for hire, the man has been presented with many an opportunity to work from other people’s source material. In some cases, such as the Mexican investor who tapped him to shoot a B-movie south of the border before slashing his director’s fee in half without warning, things don’t pan out, for good or ill. In others, such as 2019’s Girls & Corpses-produced horror-comedy Exorcism at 60,000 Feet, things end up going another way.

Working from a script by Robert Rhine (son of famed All in the Family scribe Larry Rhine) and Daniel Benton, Ferrin used ‘Exorcism‘ as yet another golden opportunity to flex his stylistic muscles. As with Someone’s Knocking at the Door and Parasites before it, ‘Exorcism‘ illustrated the director’s knack for utilizing woefully underutilized actors and subverting genre expectations.

In 2020, he is poised to take this subversion one step further with The Deep Ones, the first of his films to be inspired by an existing intellectual property. The Deep Ones takes the tired framework of a couple on vacation among strangers with dark motives, and thrusts it into territory that has yet to be explored in cinema.

Fans of H.P. Lovecraft will be thrilled to learn that Ferrin has grafted the insidious influence of Rosemary’s Baby onto a plot revolving around the summoning of Cthulhu by a cult undergoing the Innsmouth transformation.

Many in the horror community have professed love for Lovecraft’s work and some, like Jordan Peele, have produced work that pays homage to said influence. What nobody has done is unleash the Cthulhu mythos on characters of their own creation.

Few would have the guts, but it would seem that Ferrin has intestines for days. Something smells fishy at the Solar Beach Colony when Petri and Alex arrive at the Air BnB of Russell Marsh, a charismatic naturopath with a powerful hunger for clams.

What follows is a terrifying 24 hours beside the dark depths of Cthulhu’s oceanic abyss. Filming for The Deep Ones begins this month in several seaside locations with Robert Miano returning to play the picture’s villain and Deadgirl‘s Jim Ojala on board as makeup effects coordinator.


Robert Rhine, Johann Urb and Kelly Maroney (Night of the Comet) will also star with Underworld‘s Kurt Carley appearing as none other than Dagon.

After a sneak peek at the shooting script, I can definitely tell that this will be Ferrin’s most ambitious project to date. As with everything else he’s directed, I have no doubt that he’ll knock it out of the park.

And I’m not the only one, actor Johann Urb (Resident Evil: Retribution) is also confident. “Super excited to be working with this team of talented people and to explore the depths of darkness,” he says.

The cast’s enthusiasm is understandable given the meatiness of each role. It’s one salty or sinister character cropping up after the other, many of them receiving the rare chance to deliver their lines in a particularly obscure tongue.

The plot itself and the turns it takes may seem hackneyed to those who grew up on Polanski and Larry Cohen flicks, but suffice it to say that this one is going to take some gnarly turns. The fundamental theme is freaky enough in and of itself.

As cast member Silvia Spross (Someone’s Knocking at the Door, Mysteria) says, “The horror of brainwash is that good people do horrible things, thinking they are doing something great!”

The Deep Ones was developed from an original screenplay by Ferrin himself. What this tells us is that Ferrin is back where he belongs, behind the keys and at the helm. Veteran actor and frequent Ferrin collaborator Robert Miano is inclined to agree. As he puts it, “Nothing can stop an idea that’s found its time.”

Keep your bloodshot eyes peeled for more on The Deep Ones as news oozes in.

Bob Freville

The Grim & the Grit: An Interview with Genre Veteran Chad Ferrin, Part I

By Bob Freville

A stoner med student receives a knock on his dorm room door. When he opens it a lanky woman, butt naked, stands before him, her pert nipples staring at him. This temptress wants to fuck and who’s this pipsqueak to say no?

The med student invites her in and they get right down to it, but you can imagine his disappointment when she takes the shape of a hunched little man with fiendish eyes, gnarly teeth and barnacles growing on his flesh. This terrible little man also has the distinction of possessing a monstrously large cock which he uses to defile and demolish his young prey.

Drugs, sex and murder. This was my introduction to the work of Chad Ferrin. The movie was Someone’s Knocking at the Door and I first became acquainted with this trippy, batshit horror flick and its mysterious director after Breaking Glass Pictures sent me a press kit.

At the time, I wasn’t thrilled about writing small caption reviews of indie movies for horror sites because I was itching to make my very own. Up until that point I had only directed one hour-long video, the avant-garde anti-love story Of Bitches & Hounds which would go on to become a cult hit on Berkeley TV. But I wanted to do something slightly bigger, I just couldn’t figure out how.

What Chad Ferrin, the director of ‘Someone’s Knocking‘ taught me was that you could make a micro-budget film look like it cost way more money than it did if you could learn to think on the spot. ‘Someone’s Knocking‘ may not have the look of a Hollywood picture, but it’s densely packed with one-of-a-kind imagery from the prosthetic genitalia of its two thrill killers to the bizarre black face funeral sequence that comes later in the pic.

After the film came out, I got in touch with Ferrin and we talked shop. He gave me copies of his other movies, Easter Bunny Kill! Kill! and The Chair, and I loved them, warts and all. Over the years, we lost touch as each of us suffered at the hands of an unmerciful film industry, but I recently had the opportunity to remedy that.

Looking like nothing so much as the oldest guy at a Frat party in Encino, Chad Ferrin struts into a room with all the swagger of Robert Mitchum in his prime. At 5′ 11” and with his sandy hair trailing behind him as he walks, he is somehow more imposing than any 6′ 3” ex-con you’ve ever met.

Perhaps this owes to his battle scars, ones that are not necessarily visible to the naked eye but reside within him. They can be glimpsed in his face which wears the furrowed mask of a gunfighter who’s been in a series of brush ups.

The former Minnesota native and longtime Angeleno has lived in the pits of smoggy California long enough to have not only seen beneath the facade of palm trees and palm pilots but to have been burned by its ersatz rays of light.

At 45 years young, Ferrin has gotten enough raw deals to inspire a Dostoyevsky novel. A lesser auteur would have left the city long ago and turned to writing novels or film criticism, but Ferrin isn’t a man who sees himself to the door when he’s asked to leave. He’s the guy with his boots up on your desk, refusing to step off until he’s gotten what he came for.

A true embodiment of the By All Means Necessary spirit of filmmaking spearheaded by Spike Lee and his NYU brethren (Jarmusch, Soderbergh, Alexandre Rockwell, etc.), Chad has been churning out underground movies for the better part of 20 years, starting with the no-budget feature The Ghouls and running right up to 2016’s Attack on L.A., formerly Parasites.

I ask him about when we first talked. “At the time, you had come off a series of bad experiences with film producers and distributors and I was gearing up to let Troma ass rape me without the courtesy of a reach-around. Do you remember what your first experience as a director was in terms of navigating the world of film distribution and acquisitions reps?”

Ferrin casts his mind back to the eve of the new millennium. “I had just finished the rough edit of Unspeakable (available from Troma) and with unbridled enthusiasm, I copied it onto countless VHS tapes and mailed one to every distributor from Artisan Entertainment to Warner Bros.

“To this day, almost twenty years later, I still remember the excitement of seeing the Paramount letter head before reading the rejection below it. You know, sometimes the best thing in this business is the anticipation of your dreams coming true just around the corner.”

The name Troma, once synonymous with the satirical revenge flick Mother’s Day and the punk rock hilarity of Tromeo & Juliet, now makes me cringe. That’s what bogus quarterly reports and a worthless net profit deal will give you.

“I know we were both screwed over by Troma,” I say. “But you were the first with Unspeakable. And to be fair, you warned me about working with Troma prior to them acquiring my film Hemo. I’m curious how our situations differed though and if you could shed some light on why young filmmakers should stay away from this famous cult movie house.”

To my surprise, Chad no longer shares my distaste. “Over the years, I’ve come to realize that the bulk of the blame falls on myself for not negotiating a better contract with them. If I had been more shrewd in working out the details of the contract, like fighting for a split of gross profits or capping expenses at $5k instead of $25k, then things would have turned out better on my end.

“I’m not saying they’re saints, I can’t imagine there are any in this business that are but; they worked the contract in their favor and you can’t fault ’em for that. When our term ended recently, I called up Michael Herz, we re-negotiated a new contract, and now every three months I get a check. Not a big check mind you, but hey, a little something is better than nothing, right? So, for the love of God, everyone reading this go to and a order a copy of Unspeakable right NOW!

“That said, let me take this moment, swallow my pride, and apologize to Troma for the years of ill will that I harbored against them. Now, if you want a warning of a horrible distributor, every filmmaker out there should stay far, far away from 108 Media!”

We’ll get to that in a moment, but first it is worth acknowledging how humble Ferrin is. As someone who’s been raw dogged by this industry more times than I care to recount, I can’t say that I possess even a modicum of Chad’s understanding. The fact that he could not only forgive but also apologize to the bastards that ripped him off speaks volumes about his character.

It’s a character which Ferrin brings to bear on his actors when developing a scene which goes far towards explaining why his particular brand of exploitation cinema works—there is a beating heart under the layer of grime.

“I reached out to you about two weeks ago to ask if you had a screener of your last movie Parasites and you shared some pretty unfortunate news with me. As I understand it, the film’s original distributor, 108 Media, breached contract by not paying the MG and then breached your subsequent termination agreement by selling rights away to the Netherlands. Can you talk more about that and why the film’s name has been changed to Attack In LA?”

Ferrin thinks. Ferrin is always thinking. “After Parasites screened at the Fantasia film festival in 2016, it had a buzz swirling around which caused a bidding war that 108 Media came out on top of, and we signed a deal. Then, they failed to pay the minimum guarantee, thus breaching the contract. We terminated the agreement, and I searched for a new distributor. Then to my shock, I find out 108 had released the DVD in the U.S. on Amazon!

“I called them up screaming, ‘What the fuck?! It’s on Amazon, what the hell are you doing?’ They said, ‘Oh, sorry, Amazon made a mistake by putting it.’ Ughhhh! ‘No shit!’ I exclaimed, then proceeded to threaten to sue them for breaching our termination agreement and doing damage to the value of the film.

“After an hour of yelling back and fourth, we made a new termination deal, they pulled the DVD off Amazon, but the fact that it had been released pretty much destroyed the title Parasites. The new distributor ITN decided to change the name to Attack In LA and see if that shakes the stink of the previous release. Unfortunately, it hasn’t really caught on under that title. It has been heartbreaking, soul crushing ordeal which doesn’t end yet…

“…a few months later, I find it being sold on the UK Amazon by Red Square Film in the Netherlands. A sale which 108 Media denied up and down, in fact, they denied making any foreign sales at all. After about a week of research, I dig up a company called Take 1 in Sweden who admits to buying it from 108. Take 1 then sold it to Red Square Film. I call up 108, and with this evidence, they finally admit to selling it, but say, ‘Chad, we didn’t make much money on it.’”

Ferrin growls. “I said enough is enough and I sued the bastards. And on November 16, a judge in Toronto ruled in my favor, ordering them to pay me $25,155.00. Score one for the little guy!”

Stay tuned for Part II in which Chad talks about how to make a movie among junkies, street racers and gang members.

8 Eighties Exploitation Films That Could Never Be Made Today

By Bob Freville


Brenda: Sounds nice and kinky to me. Too bad you’re not double-jointed.


Fargo: Why?


Brenda: Because if you were, you’d be able to bend over and kiss your ass goodbye!


—Actual dialogue from Savage Streets (1984)


Much has been written about sex and violence in motion pictures, but few bother to mention how much on-screen sex and violence have changed over the years. One could argue that things that used to be unacceptable in entertainment, such as homosexual protagonists or simulated sodomy, are now acceptable (see: FX’s American Horror Story, A Serbian Film, etc.), but it is also evident that things that were once acceptable are no longer considered appropriate.

If we look back at the Seventies and early-Eighties, we can see that the rape-revenge sub-genre was massively popular. From Clint Eastwood’s seminal Play Misty for Me (1971) to Sam Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, audiences were enraptured by tales of female empowerment against male brutality.

You would think that these kinds of narratives would be more popular than ever what with the #MeToo movement, but one could also argue that real-life female empowerment and the recent leveling of power, especially abuse of power, has led to a relative dearth of such dreary subject matter.

Maybe shit is just too real and people don’t want to watch renderings of that reality anymore. There is also the matter of PC culture; in the 80s, it was perfectly okay to casually call a character a “fag” while today it would be grounds for expulsion from the entertainment industry.

In fact, that is just what happened to a cast member of TV’s Grey’s Anatomy, a show that is every bit as graphic as any horror movie. Don’t believe me? Just watch the Season 5 finale and tell me there’s any air left in the room when you’re done.

The current sociopolitical landscape is such that it would be tough to get most so-called exploitation movies made today, if for no other reason than there’s too much brutality going on in viewers’ daily lives.

A relevant example would be Eli Roth’s remake of Death Wish. Completed in early 2017 and intended for theatrical release, it was ultimately pulled from MGM’s theatrical line-up after the movie’s trailer caused public outrage.

The trailer, which depicted the kind of indiscriminate violence one would expect from a revenge picture (the closing moments see Bruce Willis dropping a car on a greasy-haired white dude), was flagged by sensitive audience members who saw that Willis’ character guns down a black man.

Consequently, the flick was accused of being an Alt-Right fantasy aimed at inciting whites to attack black people. At the time, the film’s director, a veteran of grindhouse fare, thanked critics for the free publicity, but he probably wasn’t smiling when the movie got an unceremonious DVD release on June 5th of the following year.

It seems more than coincidental that Roth’s 2018 follow-up to Death Wish was an adaptation of a children’s book that falls neatly into PG Goosebumps territory. It’s simply easier for directors to get their movies made if they embrace the widest audience possible and offend as few demographics as they can.

What Roth’s experience with Death Wish illustrates is just how unlikely it is for the films of yesteryear to be considered up to snuff by contemporary standards. Today, we’ll take a look at eight other examples of past motion pictures that couldn’t possibly work in 2018.

Some, you will notice, actually have been remade in the last ten to twelve years, but you’ll quickly notice just how different said remakes were from their source material. Let’s have a look!


1. MOTHER’S DAY (1980)

This “Tromasterpiece” by Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman’s younger brother, Charles, is an unflinching and, oftentimes, bizarrely hilarious horror satire. When it’s not focused on the preternatural trio of murderous Mama and her two co-dependent hillbilly sons hacking off people’s heads or raping young women, it is brutally sending up the cultural trends of the late-Seventies.

Nothing is sacred in Kaufman’s film, whether it’s high society, cheesy self-help seminars, posh pool parties or the prevailing music trends of the day (Addley: Punk sucks! Ike: Disco’s stoopid!). The movie, which filmed right across the lake from where Sean S. Cunningham was simultaneously shooting the first installment of Friday the 13th, even manages to make fun of the tropes inherent in films like the Jason Voorhees franchise (see: the old man who warns the girls not to go in the woods).

What makes 1980’s Mother’s Day especially shocking, even today, is the seamless way in which it segues from a sort of comedy of grotesquerie to unadulterated horror. Few films can have you laughing at its villains one moment and then cringing at their actions the very next.

Now, Mother’s Day is one of those rare rape-revenge flicks that actually got a reboot (or reimagining) in the 21st century. In 2010, Saw franchise director Darren Lynn Bousman gave us his watered-down take on Kaufman’s classic, casting Rebecca De Mornay in the role of “Mother” and replacing the rotten-toothed hilljacks, Ike and Addley, with two fit young TV actors with chiseled pretty boy features.

Not only was the cast too fay to seem truly menacing but this rape-revenge flick dropped the rape in favor of the odd scalping and a lot of wanna-be alpha male posturing. Essentially, all we get is a lot of grab ass, a rip-off/reversal of Mr. Pink from Reservoir Dogs and male-on-male torture.

It almost seemed like Lynn Bousman was trying to comment on the homoeroticism of home invasion or something. Whether this was his intention or not is moot. The point is, Mother’s Day just ain’t Mother’s Day without hillbillies in gunny sacks who brush their teeth with cheap beer.


2. MS. 45 (1981)

In this early Abel Ferrara gem, our mute protagonist is raped not once but twice on her way home from work. This is another early example of how talented filmmakers could use the exploitation genre as an opportunity for social commentary.

The film, which was shot in the derelict apartments of a crumbling and filthy New York City, had a lot on its mind and Ms. 45’s double-rape is clearly a statement about just how rampant grime and crime were in the bowels of the Big Apple.

Like Ferrara’s other early effort, Driller Killer, this one is unlikely to appeal to a modern audience who have been weaned on terms like “trigger warning” and “trolling.” And it’s not just the so-called “snowflakes” that would have a problem with this flick and many others in the rape-revenge vein.

The Alt-Right is unlikely to even believe in rape, seeing as how they are in love with a man who thinks he can go around grabbing women’s genitals at will. These same people are of a generation that grew up hearing stories like the one that appeared in Rolling Stone Magazine, stories of college campus rapes that were later proven to be untrue. For these individuals, the notion of a woman deserving of vengeance is laughable.

You won’t find the misogynistic white power crowd enjoying the climax of I Spit on Your Grave. Of that much I am sure.


3. VIGILANTE (1982)

Best known for 1980’s Maniac and the cult Maniac Cop series, William Lustig followed up the success of the former with this bad-ass flick whose name tells you everything you need to know about its plot.

Inspired by the high crime rate in 70’s NYC, Vigilante concerns the actions of a group of men who get tired of being pushed around by street gangs and ignored by an ineffectual police force. The film was an unbridled look at drugs, prostitution and murder that even managed to shed a light on male objectification.

The notion of male objectification seems virtually absurd in 2018, right?

Maybe not.

When one considers Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor Terry Crews’ testimony about his sexual assault at the hands of a Hollywood agent, it becomes obvious that this is a problem facing people of all genders.

Still, you are unlikely to see a movie about it any time soon. Hollywood ain’t about to feel sorry for men, especially when the men running it are rats on a sinking ship due to their objectification of the fairer sex.


4. ANGEL (1984)

Described in the film’s synopsis as a “baby prostitute,” Angel’s eponymous female lead is exactly that, unsettlingly young with cherubic features. This adds to the grit that’s already pervasive in Robert Vincent O’Neill’s film.

Even the film’s tagline seems like something you would be unlikely to see on a movie poster in the 21st century: “Honor student by day. Hooker by night.”

The hard R film focuses on a fifteen-year old protagonist who must endure a constant onslaught of pervs as well as lines from companions like, “The men use their dicks as oars” and, “Hey! All’s I wanted to do was borrow it, not buy it!”

It’s not hard to imagine a Hollywood studio greenlighting a movie about a young call girl (The success of The Girlfriend Experience immediately comes to mind), but you won’t find a movie made in the last five years containing dialogue such as, “When I was a kid my father warned me. He said, ‘Rachel, don’t ever play cards with a Jewish dyke. They cheat!’”

5. COMBAT SHOCK (1984)

Buddy Giovinazzo (Buddy G, for short) is a celebrated author and directorial gun for hire in Germany today, but in 1984, he shook up the grindhouse circuit with this sleazy Staten Island horror-drama about the mental fallout from the Vietnam war, and the tolls that poverty and drug addiction take on our veterans.

Much of the film’s acting is typical Troma quality at best, but the decaying production design and harsh imagery hold up, as does the soul-sucking skull-fuck that is its main character’s plight. Frankie returns from war to find only unemployment and acrimony waiting for him. His wife is an incessant nag and his child is nauseatingly deformed from the effects of Agent Orange.

In the ensuing years, we’ve seen plenty of movies about the squalor of the junkie lifestyle and the perils of war, but none of them packed a punch like the last ten minutes of Combat Shock. If infanticide and oven cremation sound like something you can stomach, this is the flick for you. You better scoop up a copy because you’re not gonna see anything else like it from here on out.



This might seem like a more mainstream example, but at the time, A Nightmare on Elm Street was a sterling, obsidian example of the revenge picture. Whereas its sequels turned Freddy Krueger into a Vaudevillian trickster, the original kept him cloaked in shadow, slimy and enigmatic.

The revenge here belongs to the villain as much as it does to his would-be victims. Krueger attacks the teenagers of Springfield in their dreams to get even with their parents for murdering him years earlier.

This is another one that received a mostly lackluster remake in the early-Aughts, and it’s debatable whether the remake was more or less disturbing than Wes Craven’s first entry in the franchise. For instance, Fred Krueger’s pederasty is made more explicit in Samuel Bayer’s 2010 iteration, but the mystery and brutality are definitely toned down.



Danny Steinnman’s rape-revenge flick might be the most perturbing on this list as it involves the sexual assault of a deaf mute (scream queen Linnea Quigley) and the wave of violence that this assault leads to.

Horror royalty Linda Blair plays the buxom babe who avenges her handicapped sister’s rape, wielding a crossbow decades before Darryl Dixon (The Walking Dead) and contending with everyone from a gang of hardened punks to a tyrannical high school principal (John Vernon) who says things like “Fuck an iceberg!”

There is no shortage of movies featuring women in tight leather clothing kicking major ass (see: Charlie’s Angels, Catwoman, American Mary, et al.), but there aren’t too many movies being made lately that offer laughably gross dialogue and uncompromising ferocity.




Millennials may only know her as the MILF wife of Saw’s criminal mastermind John “Jigsaw” Kramer, but Betsy Russell was once a tomcat of Eighties sex romps and slasher films. In 1985’s Avenging Angel, the stunning Russell replaced Donna Wilkes as Molly “Angel” Stewart and wrought wrath on downtown LA after her law enforcement mentor was murdered in cold blood.

As sequels go, Avenging Angel isn’t at all groundbreaking, but it is impressively gritty considering how slick and polished most sequels usually are. If Angel were allowed to be made in this day and age, it would be highly improbable for the filmmakers to do what they did here (,i.e.: take a sympathetic jail bait character from the first installment and replace her in a sequel with a curly-haired sex pot).



The early-2000s saw a number of exploitation movies made, from 2009’s grindhouse throwback Run! Bitch! Run! to 2010’s torture porn remake of the rape-revenge classic I Spit on Your Grave, but it would seem that the trend towards this kind of content is coming to a close.