In addition to the usual violence and gore, the horror film Last House on the Left - opening today - contains an incredibly graphic rape scene. Yet, the film is rated R, not NC-17.
Last House on the Left is a remake of a 1972 film directed by Wes Craven about a Charles Manson-like gang who rape and torture two women to death, prompting the victims' parents to stalk and kill them in a similarly gruesome way. The film is inspired by a 13th century folk ballad about a girl who is raped in the woods and whose attackers unknowingly take refuge in her parents house.
In his review, Roger Ebert, who has seen four movies based on the story, said, "So now my job as a film critic involved grading rape scenes ... I don't think I can." All he would say was that he found the rape scene in the 2009 film appalling. New York Post critic Kyle Smith wrote on his blog that, "Those who see the world through a feminist eye will be especially outraged because it involves a visceral, genuinely terrifying rape" that is so excruciating to watch, a couple in front of him walked out of the theater.
L.A. Times film writer Patrick Goldstein was so disgusted by the film he titled a blog post - which, in turn, inspired this post - about the film, "My Mistake: An Apology To The Makers of RapeLay," saying that he spoke too soon when he called the Japanese rape simulation video game "sleazier than any Hollywood horror film." But Goldstein says that while many critics say they were disgusted by the scene, few critics have raised the biggest question of all: