Review Index


This Swedish obscurity has been called “the roughest revenge movie ever made” by no less an authority than Quentin Tarantino.  It’s definitely not for everybody, but if you liked rape ‘n revenge roughies like THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE and IRREVERSIBLE then this film is required viewing. 

The Package 
     Recently released on DVD by Synapse Films, 1974’s THRILLER—A CRUEL PICTURE (THRILLER—EN GRYM FILM) is probably destined to be best known as a prime inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s KILL BILL (it was the “Swedish porno” Daryl Hannah claimed Tarantino made her watch).  It is in any event one of the most potent—and repellant—exploitation films of the seventies, and certainly the finest Swedish film of its kind since Ingmar Bergman’s classic THE VIRGIN SPRING.  That comparison isn’t as outrageous as it might seem, since both films utilize starkness and simplicity to their advantage and THRILLER’S writer/producer/director Bo Vibenius was an assistant on Bergman’s films PERSONA and THE HOUR OF THE WOLF. 
     THRILLER’S gorgeous star Christina Lindberg, for her part, was already an exploitation veteran by the time she made the film, having appeared in Joe Sarno’s classic YOUNG PLAYTHINGS and something called WHAT ARE YOU DOING AFTER THE ORGY?  THRILLER, I’m confident in asserting, is the most extreme of all Lindberg’s films, utilizing slow motion bloodletting, hard core pornography and a close-up eyeball gouging performed (rumor has it) on an actual corpse!  Initial screenings of the film, under the titles THEY CALL HER ONE EYE and HOOKER’S REVENGE, were naturally heavily cut, and it was banned altogether in its native land. 

The Story
     A young girl is sexually assaulted in a park by a lecherous old man, an event that renders her mute for the rest of her life.  As a teenager she goes to work on a remote farm run by her kindly parents.  One day she misses the bus and unwisely accepts a ride from a seemingly straight-laced man who takes her to lunch and then drugs her.  She wakes up several days later in the man’s living room, now hooked on heroin; the scumbag subsequently forces her to prostitute herself in exchange for two bags of heroin a day.  A fake letter is sent to her parents claiming she’s decided to run away and leave them to their own devices, which causes them to jointly commit suicide.  The girl initially tries to rebel against her captors by scratching a “John’s” face and has one of her eyes gouged out as punishment.
     “One-Eye” decides to fight back, taking shooting, driving and fighting lessons in her spare time, transforming herself into a remorseless killing machine.  Acquiring a sawed-off shotgun, she begins her revenge spree by mowing down a customer in his own house and two others in a bar.  Next she goes after her captor, gunning down a couple of his henchmen in a barn, where she also beats the shit out of two cops.  Her final act of revenge, during which several innocent bystanders are killed, involves a stolen police car, a hidden explosive, mass firearms, a horse and a rope. 

The Direction
     This is one film in which the low budget works to its advantage.  It has a hard, rough, unforgiving edge that sets it apart from slick Hollywood fare, enhanced by the near-poetic simplicity of the narrative.  The result is a satisfying, no nonsense exploiter that more than lives up to its subtitle.  There’s much you’ll have to forgive, in particular the oft-obnoxious slow pacing and pornographic close ups, which look suspiciously like post-production inserts the film could easily do without.  The Sam Peckinpah inspired slow motion violence doesn’t always work, particularly in the heroine’s fight with the two cops, which in my view is a bit too slow for its own good.  Another notable action sequence is the climactic police car chase, which is reasonably well done but for the tacky and patently unconvincing way the cars tend to explode when driven off the road.  By the end, however, the film’s low rent power and the potency of Christina Lindberg’s performance overpowered most--though not all--of my objections.

Vital Statistics 

BAV Film 

Director/Producer/Screenplay: Bo A. Vibenius
Cinematography: Andreas Bellis
Editor: Brian Wikstrom
Cast: Christina Lindberg, Heinz Hopf, Solveig Andersson, Despina Tomazani, Per-Axel Arosenius, Gunnel Wadner, Hildur Lindberg, Stig Lokrantz, Lars Lundgren, Marie Louise Mannervik, Marshall McDough, Gunnar Palm, Lennart Robertsson, Evert Soerbing, Hans-Eric Stromberg, Stig Strom