Thriller – A Cruel Picture

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Thriller A Cruel Picture
Theatrical US release poster
Directed by Bo Arne Vibenius
(as Alex Fridolinski)
Produced byBo Arne Vibenius
Written byBo Arne Vibenius
Starring Christina Lindberg
Heinz Hopf
Music by Ralph Lundsten
CinematographyAndrew Bellis
Edited byBrian Wikström
Distributed byBAV Film (Sweden)
American International Pictures (US dub)
Release date
May 1973 (Cannes) [1]
June 5, 1974 (US)
October 30, 1974 (Sweden)
Running time
107 minutes
82 minutes (US cut)
104 minutes (Vengeance Edition)

Thriller – A Cruel Picture (Swedish : Thriller en grym film, also known as They Call Her One Eye, Hooker's Revenge and Thriller) is a 1973 Swedish rape-and-revenge exploitation film written and directed by Bo Arne Vibenius under the pseudonym Alex Fridolinski. It tells the story of a mute young woman (played by Christina Lindberg) who is forced into heroin addiction and prostitution, and her revenge on the men responsible.



A quiet girl, Madeleine (Christina Lindberg), is sexually assaulted as a child, and the trauma makes her mute. One day when she is older she accepts a ride from a man, Tony (Heinz Hopf), who makes her a heroin addict, and then becomes her pimp. To hide the fact that she was kidnapped, the pimp writes hateful letters to her parents who become so distraught they commit suicide. At one point, she is stabbed in the eye for refusing a client. Madeleine then begins saving money to purchase a car to escape and take lessons in driving, shooting, and martial arts in order to take revenge.



Director Bo Arne Vibenius sought to make "the most commercial film ever made", [2] as he had lost money on an earlier film, and needed to recuperate his loss. Rumors allege that the filmmakers used an actual corpse [3] [4] during the film's eye gouging scene, which has since become controversial because of these rumors. [2] Hardcore pornographic sequences were edited into the film to profit off of the trend of pornography in Denmark and Sweden, which was being liberalized at the time. [2]

In Daniel Ekeroth's book on Swedish exploitation movies, Swedish Sensationsfilms: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers, and Kicker Cinema , it is revealed that the producers took out a huge life insurance policy on star Christina Lindberg, as real ammunition was used in the action sequences, and that she was asked to inject saline solution during the drug scenes. [5]


The original running time was 107 minutes. After being banned by the Swedish film censorship board, it was cut down to 104 minutes and then 86 minutes, but still banned. It was finally released after being cut down to 82 minutes. In the United States it had also been cut to 82 minutes. [6]


TV Guide rated the film three out of four stars, writing, "Not for the fainthearted, or the easily bored, this brutal and depressing film nevertheless is not easily forgotten." [7]

Time Out gave the film a negative review, criticizing the film's overuse of slow motion, hardcore scenes, and soundtrack, stating that it fails to leave the lingering emotional impact of its convictions. [8] A.H. Weiler from The New York Times offered the film similar criticism, callign it "dreary", and cited Lindberg as the film's only notable aspect. [9]


Thriller – A Cruel Picture was marketed as the first film ever to be completely banned in Sweden, although the first one actually was Victor Sjöström's The Gardener from 1912. [10] It has received a cult following and was one of the inspirations behind Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill , specifically for the character of Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah). [5]

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  1. Thriller a cruel picture Visningar at the Swedish Film Institute (in Swedish)
  2. 1 2 3 Rape-Revenge Films: A Critical Study, Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, McFarland, 2011, 0786449616, 9780786449613, p. 40
  3. Archived 2012-02-16 at the Wayback Machine
  5. 1 2 Daniel Ekeroth: SWEDISH SENSATIONSFILMS: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers, and Kicker Cinema, (Bazillion Points, 2011) ISBN   978-0-9796163-6-5.
  6. "Thriller: A Cruel Picture". Retrieved 22 June 2018.
  7. Li Chow Li. "Thriller: A Cruel Picture - Movie Reviews and Movie Ratings". TV Guide. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  8. "They Call Her One-Eye 1974, directed by Alex Fridolinski Bo Arne Vibenius". Time Out London. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  9. A. H. Weiler. "' One Eye' and 'O'Neil' Partners in Crime:The Casts - The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
  10. Trädgårdsmästaren Kommentar at the Swedish Film Institute (in Swedish)