Saturday, April 27, 2013


Director: Bo Arne Vibenius
DVD: Synapse Films

Every "fringe" film blog has to have a review of THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE. Here's ours.

THRILLER is a Rape, Drug, Porn, Revenge, Gore film. It is the absolute epitome of exploitation cinema. Produced in Sweden in 1973, THRILLER was banned and scorned in it's home country and, for the most part, worldwide. It's a shocking experience. Regardless of the type of film viewer you are, at least one aspect of this film will rub you the wrong way.

This is another one of those films that the curious will track down and watch. Unlike most films that may be "shockers" THRILLER actually feels like an actual film. Director Bo Arne Vibenius was a assistant director on some Ingmar Bergman films (including PERSONA and HOUR OF THE WOLF). From the opening sequence of THRILLER or it is readily apparent that Vibenius actually knew how to make a film (unlike most exploitation filmmakers). THRILLER is entertaining and interesting from beginning to end. THRILLER is a grand mixture of shock and style. If you can stomach it, you'll love it.


Why am I drawn to trash? So wrong.
The film opens with our main character  Frigga, as a young girl and a greazy old bastard in a park. The dirty sex maniac lures the little girl over rapes her (which thankfully, we do not see). The shock of this incident, leave Frigga mute for life (I. . . guess)

I thought the blood pouring from the old man's mouth indicated he bit her tongue out.


I bet a bunch of people stopped watching at this point.


The greasy old scumbag gets arrested and Frigga is left mute. The film disolves and Frigga (now 70's exploitation sexpot Christina Lindberg) is suddenly twenty years older. She works on her parent's farm

Frigga decides to get dressed up and go into the city. She hurries down the driveway just in time to see the bus taking off. Tony, a passerby notices the frustrated Frigga and stops to offer her a ride. Against her better judgement, Frigga get into Tony's fly Ford.

Bastard Tony
Tony takes her out to dinner in the city. This outing includes a lot of Tony talking, and a mute Frigga acting if shes deaf and mute. They make the trek to Tony's swank, pimpin' pad. Interestingly enough, that's actually an accurate description of his dwelling. Tony is a pimp. He spikes Frigga's wine and over the course of several days of unconsciousness, he shoots her up with tons of heroin and gets her addicted in her sleep. He becomes her pimp and her dealer. Twisted man. Twisted.

Once she awakens, Tony demands Frigga sign a letter that disowns her parents. She goes berserk and tries to escape. After several kicks to the balls and battles with clients, Tony goes completely nuts and stabs Frigga's friggin' eye out with an exacto knife. Now "They Call Her One Eye."


Rumor has it that they used an actual human corpse for the eye removal scene. I am a firm believer that this is true. When Tony punctures Frigga's eye a clear liquid shoots out. If it was phony, wouldn't they have used blood?

There is also an extended version of this shot on the Limited Edition DVD. It looks real to me. In 1973 it it were fake, it would look fake.


Frigga begins her descent into prostitution and addiction. She services Tony's customers for Heroin. During the following sequence, the viewer is blasted by up close full-screen porno penetration. Not exactly a necessary addition to the film. But this film is the ultimate sucker punch. Brutal and shocking in EVERY way

Obviously these scenes were cut from most versions of the film.


Frigga meets Sally. Sally is another one of Tony's hookers. Sally has taken on extra "jobs" from Tony's clients to save up for rehab. Frigga has a better idea: Revenge.

This idea is bolstered by the fact that her parents killed themselves once they got "her" letter disowning them. In addition, as a few days pass, she sees Sally's bed soaked with blood. She has nothing else but vengeance. Frigga spends her extra coin on Karate, Driving, and Shooting Lessons. Somehow, these sequences are all terrifically amusing.

Throw the reverse punch.
Frigga sets out on a bloody odyssey of slo-mo shotgun revenge that must be seen to be believed. From blowing up cars by running them off the road, to shotgun blasts to the belly, THRILLER delivers the graphic violence.

The slow motion violence is a mix of trash, schlock and beauty.

In the end, Frigga essentially terrorizes Tony and . . . . he learns that being a sweet Swedish pimp ain't easy.

"IF I COULD TEACH THE WORLD" - Bone Thugz-N-Harmony

The main lesson of this picture: never be late.

If Frigga wasn't a lazy bastard, she wouldn't have missed her bus her parents would still be alive, She wouldn't have had to fornicate with a larger, hairier version of the Six Million Dollar Man, She wouldn't have been hooked on heroin and she wouldn't have had to go on a mega-Frigga(ing)-killing spree.

Next time you think about hitting that snooze button, think again. Your parent's lives, your sanity, and abstinence from hard drugs depends on it.


Synapse Films (AKA The Criterion Collection of genre film) released two versions of this film. The "Limited Edition" is a complete version of the film. It includes all of the porno and the disc also has several extra features, such as photo galleries, outtakes, and a short essay by Robert Mariucci (STREET TRASH) . It's limited to 25,000 copies. However these discs seem to be readily available.

The "Vengeance Edition" contains all the violence, but as I understand it, does not included any of the hardcore sex, or special features.

For a film that circulated the grindhouse circuit with close to 30 minutes being cut, Synapse did a fantastic job with the audio and visual elements of the movie. It looks and sounds great. Just clean enough to be dirty, as intended.


- Get your copy of this sleazy disc from Target.

- M. McSlam

No comments:

Post a Comment