The original I Spit On Your Grave was easily one of the most controversial films of the 1970s. The plot was simple: a young woman is raped by a group of men and she takes revenge on said rapists. It’s a story that has been told over and over, but this particular version of the story was one of the most visceral and disturbing tellings of that story ever. In 2010, the movie was remade and it hit festivals garnering a similar reaction to the first film. The unrated version of the 2010’s I Spit on Your Grave comes to DVD and Blu-ray on February 8.
I sat down for a one-on-one chat with one of the stars, Chad Lindberg, to discuss his experiences making this film and watching it.
Geeks of Doom: What specifically drew you to this particular role?
Chad Lindberg: I read the script and I was like this is probably one of the most intense intriguing scripts I’ve read in a long time not realizing its past and I gravitated towards the role of Mathew and I said I think I should go in for Mathew and they let me go in for the role and I ended up getting it and I was so over the top excited and couldn’t believe I had this opportunity to play this role in this cool horror film. Then later on after I’d gotten cast I was doing a little online searching and I realized that this was a remake, I had no idea until after I’d gotten cast, that this was like a remake and a huge, huge cult phenomenon so I obviously got so excited and realized that you know we have something very cool in our hands and was very excited to honor the original.
Geeks of Doom: On that note, did you watch the original film?
Chad Lindberg: I did, I did, before going out I watched the original, it’s one of those movies, you know what can you say, I had to turn the volume down, can my neighbors hear what’s going on, what are they going to think? My gosh, but yeah, the original was quite, quite something. Ah I wanted to you know definitely see it before working on it.
Geeks of Doom: What do you do to prepare for some of those really intense scenes you have to be in?
Chad Lindberg: “¦once I’d gotten on the set the other actors were there a couple of days before me and once I got there we all jelled really fast and we did these scenes, the horrific scenes first and we were all extremely anxious but with material like that it’s not like we were acting. I’ve never done anything that intense before so it just, it was challenging but you’re so caught up in what you’re doing and we all got such a creative high out of it, it was unlike anything I’ve ever done and you know you prepare the best you can, you trust everybody and you just go for it and we went for it. So yeah, it was quite, it was an experience [laughter].
Geeks of Doom: Of the scenes you were in, what scene in particular for you was the most challenging?
Chad Lindberg: Most challenging… [sigh] I would say, gosh yeah, the most challenging but not challenging I don’t know it was, you know probably the scene where I go in and ask for her forgiveness. That was challenging , you know because we had to make that switch, you know she had to make that switch as well that was challenging for me. I mean it was all challenging, you know , I would say the rape scene was challenging, it was just more, so hard to describe it was just, I mean, you know between each take when I was on top of her maybe you know, my character was raping her I would go off in like hurl sort of like “¦ in the corner my body would have sort of a visceral reaction to what was going on and then I would have to settle myself and look over at Sarah (Sarah Butler) and I’d like give her the thumbs up and she’d give me the thumbs up. Then it was cool then we’d go back and do it again so it was like a rollercoaster you know.
Geeks of Doom: Wow, I assume you’ve seen the completed film now, of the entire film, not just of your scenes in particular, but of the entire film, what’s the most challenging scene for you to watch?
Chad Lindberg: Yeah, you know I, I wouldn’t say it’s challenging to watch, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to see it like anybody else that wasn’t there, you know in it, it’s hard for me to separate myself enough from it, I would say definitely the rape scene is where I feel the most, like, I, it gets my heart racing, it’s just nuts, you know I get there, I start sweating you know a little bit so, you know, my feeling, that I would imagine that other people that are watching it are getting caught up the same way and feeling that intensity, and I look at it from an actor’s point of view, I look at it like ok that was well actually one of my most interesting moments because it was so many levels to my character which was Zero to One Hundred in like seconds, all these different emotions, so I kind of would look at it that was a really great acting part, you know.
Geeks of Doom: It’s hard for you to separate the film from the work of the film?
Chad Lindberg: Right, Yeah exactly, for the other actors that are in it, it’s hard for us to sit back and watch in its entirety even though we can but we think of that day, we think that moment, we think you know ok you know he came over and did this you know, but yeah I, my heart races probably the most during that scene, you know all the other stuff is pretty cool but you know how it works so, you know I wasn’t like urrrrrg.. but you know the movie I think it’s a great movie, I think it’s one of my most favorite things I’ve ever done to date and I can’t wait for people to see it.
Geeks of Doom: I know that when the movie played festivals there were some pretty intense audience reactions; did you get to see it with an audience?
Chad Lindberg: I’ve seen it… you know, I went up to Calgary and I saw it with an audience there, I know that these festivals there was one guy that passed out. I’ve heard that people have rushed out of the theater vomiting, that’s what I heard in L.A. The screening that I saw, I mean the audience always has a reaction to this film and it gets a reaction out of people in really weird ways, whether your fainting or your nauseated or your just like, people are always like Aughhh “¦ Aughhhh, making noises, and especially when it turns you know when she’s going after these guys the audiences have been clapping and cheering for her, which is something that I don’t see very much in film. I’ve never gone to a theater and heard a lot of clapping and cheering, you know, she’s just taking her revenge so it’s kind of weird and cathartic for me in a way. But in a way, it does provoke so many different reactions from people you know and it’s a conversation piece.
Geeks of Doom: So, have you family and friends seen the movie and how did that go for you?
Chad Lindberg: [laughs] “¦ you ask me great questions man … I really love it, thank you. Yes my mom has seen the movie and my mom was actually at the premier with me, I had my mom on my right side and my girlfriend on my left side and my family is very supportive of me, they get that I just gravitate towards dark material and that I’ve always been, you know, just different, so they kind of get that and my mom she brought like a little like a fan, like one of those Japanese fans that she does when she gets hot flashes, she brought one of those to like sort of like cover her face and I just would tap her leg and she’d cover her face at the appropriate time and she did but she loved the movie ..and she enjoyed watching it, she enjoyed watching me, and I’ve told my extended family and my family, enter at your own risk, like this is not for kids and you know you’re not always going to like everything I do but, you know you might look at me differently, it’s disturbing, and it’s not for everybody and so yeah I kind of put the disclaimer out there but you know they’re all proud of me and excited.
Geeks of Doom: A lot of the genre films of the 1970s came out of some sort of , you know, social reaction. There’s a social commentary within those films somewhere. I just wonder for you if there is some sort of message other than her seeking her revenge that you feel is in the film?
Chad Lindberg: “¦ God some of these people are going to take away different things from this movie, I don’t know, I don’t know that there’s a message for it, you know, It’s definitely going to cause conversations and reactions out of people… and you know the subject matter; it’s horrific and it’s terrible and you know we have more movies that show awful things, sometimes we have to show, you know, not so great parts of human nature, so … I don’t know … it’s one of those films, you know it’s hard to just sum it up.
Geeks of Doom: Is there another character or actor that you looked to for reference for this particular part?
Chad Lindberg: No, no, not really, I kind of just, I don’t know the character felt just natural to me in a way and I, do a lot of stuttering so I had watched a lot of YouTube video and what not, you know Ed Norton has always been somebody that I admired and watched his work closely… but I just sort of try to make it my own “¦ I didn’t want to go over the top and I didn’t want to go too under “¦ I wanted to try and get it correct, and at the same time not.
Geeks of Doom: Do you think that this will lead you into maybe exploring more horror film roles?
Chad Lindberg: I think so, I think there’s a possibility of it, I’m really curious to see the reaction, how this plays out once it comes out for everybody to see. It was so limited in theaters, I’m just really hoping cause I’m just really proud of this work more than I ever have anything I’ve pretty much done so I really want people to see it and hopefully they enjoy it. Hopefully they want to talk about the movie , you know not everyone has to like it, not everyone will and I want to hear that too, you know so I’m just , you know excited to see what happens with it. I’ve sort of been in the genre already with Supernatural, but that’s on the light end, so this is an extreme.
Geeks of Doom: What’s your favorite horror film of all time?
Chad Lindberg: My favorite horror film of all time, gosh, tough question. I’m, you know kind of old school, the original Nightmare on Elm Street, you know that’s what I grew up watching, Poltergeist is great.
Get the Unrated Version of I Spit on Your Grave on DVD and Blu-ray on February 8, 2011.