10. The General’s Daughter
Though the rape of Captain Elisabeth Campbell is central to the plot, which is undeniably strong, this one is stuck at number ten for pacing issues. John Travolta spends the entire film investigating the apparent rape and murder of the captain, who is the daughter of a general eager to break into politics, only to realize the rape and murder weren’t quite as sequential as thought.
As an aside, the only reason I saw this movie is it was cheap, plus Leslie Stefanson, who plays the story’s victim, grew up in my little home town. She’s now married to James Spader and my older sister used to take care of her grandmother. Too bad Billy Bob Thornton isn’t in anything on this list, because then I’d have a reason to mention he has a house right down the street from my parents.
9. Death Wish 2
Charles Bronson really outdid himself with the Death Wish films. However good the second film was, cementing Kersey as a vigilante, the producers seemed set on making rape a staple element. It wasn’t enough the five assailants rape and kill his daughter, they had to do the exact same to his housekeeper, making the villains quite sexually charged. Furthermore, Robin Thicke looks like he could be a fan, because one of the rapes was depicted as almost consensual – meaning Bronson’s daughter appeared to like it. Ask a group of college kids to do an analysis on it and prepare to watch the sparks fly.
8. Black Snake Moan
This film is hard to define, as sexual abuse clearly causes severe issues for the lead female role, Rae. Her sexually driven nature causes her to throw herself at numerous men while her boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), is out at war. She’s so forceful about it male consent seems unestablished. Still, when she refuses a certain advance, she gets beaten to the brink of death. This leads Samuel L. Jackson to imprison her and show her how to not be a ho. I’m just…confused by that alone.
7. Boys Don’t Cry
Congrats on reaching the one movie on this list to be based on a real story. Teena Brandon (who goes by Brandon Teena), a woman posing as a guy, gets involved in a bar fight and tossed in a women’s prison. She later makes friends with convicts and dates their female friend, Lana, played by Chloë Sevigny. A relation forms between the two under false pretenses, which then changes into Brandon stating she was born a hermaphrodite getting an operation to become male. The convicts find an article displaying Teena Brandon as an inmate at a women’s prison, which leads them to show Lana her boyfriend indeed has female genitals. There’s a subsequent double rape followed by a murder threat, which the police ignore, though the threat was soon acted on. Lana remains in love with Brandon and tries to protect her all the while.
Perhaps as disturbing, Brandon, posing as male, uses a sex toy to have intercourse with Lana. While having sex was consensual, the lie makes the scene a strange form of rape regardless. Feel free to disagree.
The film, though undeniably good, raised much controversy. Lana Tisdel sued the filmmakers for using her real name, making the false assertion she stayed with Brandon after discovering Brandon wasn’t male, plus portraying her in an excessively unflattering light. The parents of Brandon also panned Hilary Swank for referring to Brandon as a he, since they believed portraying herself as a man wasn’t out of sense of self, but because of sexual abuse as a child. The explanation by them is she believed no man would touch her if she showed herself as a man. Regardless of the fight over terminology, the case became a benchstone for lobbying against hate crimes.
6. Straw Dogs
Rape isn’t what launches this plot, but it was essential for it to properly escalate. After all, it’s all about a couple being bullied and menaced by a crew of construction workers. When the rape finally occurs, it sparks a violent battle during a home invasion. My advice is to check out the original.
5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Though it doesn’t seem like it off the bat, rape is central to the plot of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The film adaptations are famously known for depicting Lisbeth as a strong female character who turns on her rapist. The rapist is her legal guardian, who is in control of her funds and sexually extorts her routinely. It builds up to a rape scene, but she then returns to torture her and brand him as a rapist via a tattoo on his forehead.
Aside from all that, Mikael Blomkvist, the man conducting a dated missing-person’s investigation Lisbeth is assisting with, discovers rape and abuse is at the core of the case. I’ll abstain from including any major spoilers.
4. I Spit on Your Grave
While this movie has pretty negative reviews, its longevity speaks volumes beyond what critics could ever say. The plot is simple. We see the story of a raped woman seeks murderous revenge. However, it’s tough to decide what the filmmaker’s stance was, if the point was for it to be a girl-power flick or mysoginistic. It spends so much time on her rape it’s sadistic toward the viewer. Her revenge sequences then depict all the men being so stupid as to be seduced by a woman with every reason to kill them. Ultimately, it revels in all that is disgusting.
3.) Last House on the Left
The focus here will be the remake, which was undoubtedly the most artistic take on the tale of two irresponsible girls who end up at the wrong place at the wrong time, only to get raped, stabbed and shot. One survives and makes it to her parents’ place, which is coincidentally where the assailants have sought refuge for the night. Murder ensues.
Perhaps the strongest trait of this remake is the amount of care it takes in avoiding having any nudity related to the victims, emphasizing the violent nature of the act. In fact, none of the nudity in the film is sexualized. I also need to sing the praises of the quality cinematography.
2. The Crow
While the rape in this movie isn’t an extensive scene, it’s undoubtedly what sparked the whole plot. The gang of thugs went after poor Eric Draven’s fiancé, broke in, gang raped her, and it turned into a double murder the moment he walked in. If it weren’t for that, there wouldn’t have been a near-immortal spook of a man traveling Motor City, killing off an entire criminal empire.
1. A Clockwork Orange
Oh Anthony Burgess, only you could write a novel about ultraviolence and the ol’ in-n-out (burgers!) that would attract not only the Rolling Stones, but Stanley Kubrick. Our buddy Alex likes to mix sex and violence, which of course means rape is a pastime of his. However, his arrest leads to him being subjected to the Ludovico Technique, a form of aversion therapy, to condition him to be disgusted by the morbid rather than intrigued. It (maybe) would’ve worked wonderfully if it hadn’t also destroyed his love of Beethoven. The criminal becomes the victim; the victim becomes the assailant, and Alex teaches them all changing a tiger’s stripes can be a rather messy game.