“The Movie That Knows No Limits of Evil!”
Christina Lindberg as Frigga in They Call Her One-Eye, aka Thriller — En Grym Film, aka Thriller — A Cruel Picture, aka Hooker’s Revenge (Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974).
Sorry for the complete lack of posts since New Year’s Eve but the site experienced a really, really dramatic spike in viewers and I couldn’t handle it, so I hid. (Master strategist and most put together chick on the block? This guy right here. Hope you can handle it.) I’ve talked myself in to relaxing about it and, now that the surge has leveled off, I feel more like I can get back in to the swing of things.
So Happy New Year, dudes!
In Thriller, a mute young woman is sexually assaulted and forcibly addicted to heroin, for which she is then somewhat-consensually but very miserably pimped out in order to maintain the unwitting habit.
Now they call her One-Eye.
Sally, Frigga’s only friend, brings Frigga the news that her pimp has written a letter to her parents purporting to be from her, detailing her new life and ending with the warning that she never wants to see them again. Devastated, they commit suicide.
Despite the battering the world has given her, or more likely because of it, Frigga finds secret reserves of strength in herself. Her disgust with the circumstances of her life begins to be directed not at herself, but at those responsible for her misery.
Having secretly saved some money and been taking self-defense classes, Frigga next scrounges up some weapons and musters her will to not just survive, but kick some ass.
(She also stops off to ditch the pink eyepatch and pick up a black one, black being the universal color of badass vengeance. Pink, not so much.) All her accoutrements in place, the newborn Angel of Death determines to take her revenge against her abusive captors.
The best and most widely used English-language tagline for the movie was, “The Film That Knows No Limits of Evil!” Director Bo Arne Vibenius’s previous outing had been an overlooked children’s film into which he’d poured a great deal of craft and creativity.
Though it received fair critical acclaim, audiences’ universal panning of that film, Hur Marie träffade Fredrik/How Marie Met Fredrik (1969), lead Vibenius to vow that his next movie would be the lowest, nastiest, exploit-iest, most audience-tuned picture possible: something grotesque and titillating that would appeal to the masses while simultaneously disgusting and punishing them.
In fact, he supposedly said specifically, “I’m going to make a super commercial, piece-of-shit movie.”
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
That’s a severed head below, in case you thought it wasn’t.
Vibenius directed Thriller under the name Alex Fridolinski. The film was billed outside of Sweden as “The first film to be banned in Sweden!” which is several kinds of inaccurate but served to make countries who thought of Sweden as a sexually liberated place flock to the picture. In point of fact, the first banned film in Sweden was Trädgårdsmästaren/The Gardener (Victor Sjöström, 1912), and the second was Det Händer I Natt/It happens tonight (Arne Ragnborn, 1957).
Thriller has had an obvious influence on film culture, and many cinephiles in the business today cite the way in which the direction soars above its middling materal (rape-revenge structure being very familiar in the 70’s exploitation film genre) as an explanation for its rise to gem in the field status.
A little word-of-mouth from this guy never brought anybody down, either. So gird your loins, grab your tissues and barf bag, and give it a spin — and bid a fond farewell to Dickens December.
(many, many thanks to the wonderful cinezilla for a majority of the screencaps and the backstory on Vibenius’s bitterness after How Marie Met Fredrik — if you love movies, do check out his artful and brilliant blog.)