Women in Horror Month (WiHM) is an international, grassroots initiative, which encourages supporters to learn about and showcase the underrepresented work of women in the horror industries. Whether they are on the screen, behind the scenes, or contributing in their other various artistic ways, it is clear that women love, appreciate, and contribute to the horror genre. Psycho Drive-in is joining in by sharing articles – some classic, some new – celebrating the greatest women in the genre! [Editor’s Note: A version of this article was originally published on May 7, 2016] When I watch a movie, there are two of me in the same seat. There’s that regular movie-going guy who likes blood and boobs and things that explode, the kind of movies we call POPCORN MOVIES. But there’s another fellow who accompanies him. This guy likes some of the same things as his friend, but he is a seeker and connoisseur of SERIOUS CINEMA. This guy doesn’t just want to see a movie, he wants it to change his life. Dramatic Voice: When cruelty knows no bounds. . . when evil knows no limits . . . revenge strikes with its most frightening power. They called her One-Eye . . . then ran for their lives. POPCORN: Dude, this chick is possibly the most bad-ass of all bad-ass chicks ever. CINEMA: I thought you said that about Michelle Rodriguez in MACHETE. Dramatic Voice: They defiled her beauty . . . they robbed her of speech . . . they brutalized her body . . . and, when they had finished, she used what was left to repay every blow with her own terrible kind of revenge. POPCORN: I did, but . . . well, look at her. One-Eye just looks so sweet. For real, dude. So when she goes all Charlie Bronson, it’s, like, even more bad-ass. Dramatic Voice: Your most fearful nightmares . . . the most cruel sights you’ve ever seen . . . cannot match the shock of this motion picture experience. CINEMA: I suspect that One-Eye had a strong influence on Ms. Rodriguez’s character, though I’ve never seen any references to it. However, Quentin Tarantino has called this “the roughest revenge movie ever made.” We know that the Daryl Hannah character, Elle Driver, in his KILL BILL movies was based on Frigga here. POPCORN: Frigga, heh. CINEMA: Yeah, she was Madeleine in the Swedish-language version, when it was still called THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE, but they changed her name to Frigga when it was released in America as THEY CALLED HER ONE-EYE. In Norse mythology, of course, Frigga was the goddess of love, marriage, and destiny, a great seer who knew the future but was unable to change it. She was also the wife of Odin, who famously – POPCORN: Yanked out his own eyeball for a drink. Yeah, yeah. Can I just call her One-Eye? CINEMA: Well, I don’t know, which version are you watching? Because there was the original cut, which ran about 107 minutes, or the chopped-up one released here without the hardcore sex scenes . . . oh wait, what am I saying? Of course you’re watching the hardcore version. POPCORN: Actually, no. CINEMA: What? This is the same guy who watched a movie called PORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, right? POPCORN: Yeah. CINEMA: Or MUFFY THE VAMPIRE LAYER . . . POPCORN: The same. CINEMA: The same guy who saw ROMANCING THE BONE seven times, or counts STAR TREK: THE NEXT PENETRATION among his favorite films? POPCORN: Yeah, yeah. CINEMA: The same guy who once called me up to say, “Hey, dude, you gotta see this awesome flick, it’s called YANK MY DOODLE, IT’S A DANDY”? POPCORN: I know, dude. But there’s something about this girl. Maybe it’s the actress – CINEMA: Swedish soft-core porn star Christina Lindberg. POPCORN: – or that she never says a word – CINEMA: Because she’s molested as a little girl in the opening scene, which traumatizes her so badly that it renders her mute. POPCORN: – but I don’t like seeing her get hurt. I know it’s, like, the whole point of the movie. Chick gets picked up by some sketchy dude. Gets her hooked on heroin, turns her into a hooker. She gets all abused, so she gets revenge. CINEMA: That’s the premise, yeah. For about twelve hundred rape-revenge movies. POPCORN: I know, man. But look at her. She’s hot and she’s bad-ass, but . . . she kinda looks like a puppy. I just wanna hug her and pet her. CINEMA: I’ll bet. Lindberg’s appearance makes the events of this film more disturbing, since she really does look like a teenager. Well, a voluptuous teenager. She’s not, of course. She was twenty-three when they filmed this movie, having already been incredibly popular in men’s magazines – POPCORN: Meaning porn. CINEMA: Well, not entirely. She didn’t have any problems with nudity, of course, appearing in 1970 as one the first PENTHOUSE cover girls. Then she embarked on a movie career, with 1971’s MAID IN SWEDEN, followed by soft-core titles like ANITA THE SWEDISH NYMPH, EXPOSED, CAMPUS SWINGERS, and SWEDISH WILDCATS. The sex scenes in this film, however, were not actually Lindberg. They were inserted – POPCORN: Heh-heh. CINEMA: – by the director, Bo Arne Vibenius, in an attempt to make what he considered “the most commercial film ever.” If you see the uncensored version of the film, the, um . . . POPCORN: Dong-in-the-hole. CINEMA: Yeah, um, neither of those parts actually belongs to Lindberg. When they cut away from Frigga’s torment, the close-up of genitalia was actually a couple named Romeo and Juliet who performed live sex in these clubs in Stockholm. POPCORN: There’s a vacation spot. CINEMA: Vibenius didn’t start out in exploitation cinema. In the early days of his career, he was assistant to Ingmar Bergman in such films as PERSONA and HOUR OF THE WOLF. Prior to making THRILLER, he’d done a fairly bizarre children’s movie called HUR MARIE. Two kids travel through a fantasy world on a go-cart, getting chased by police and shooting other kids’ clothes off in Old West style gunfights . . . POPCORN: What the hell? CINEMA: Yeah, I don’t know. Trying to recoup all the money he’d lost on that, he supposedly said, “I’m going to make a super-commercial, piece-of-shit movie.” Working at an advertising agency, he took out a loan against three months of overtime to get this made. It was written over three nights, filmed from October to December of 1972. POPCORN: Then it got banned. CINEMA: In his homeland, yeah. He was going broke. With the welfare of his family resting on the film’s success, he took it to Cannes in May of ’73. He bought up a bunch of eye-patches and put stickers on them, announcing that his movie was available for distribution. Finally, drive-in kings American International picked it up. They cut almost half an hour from the movie and renamed it THEY CALL HER ONE-EYE. POPCORN: Didn’t those dudes put out a bunch of Roger Corman flicks? CINEMA: Oh yeah. They were all about the bottom line, typically throwing a micro budget and some ridiculous title at a newbie director and telling him to do what he could. They were the first to do focus groups, asking people what they wanted to see, not to mention the first to aim directly at the teenage market. Not surprisingly, their specialty was double-features chock full of sex and violence. POPCORN: Kinda surprised they didn’t want more dong-in-the-hole. CINEMA: Well, there’s a big difference between Ma and Pa Average American looking out at the drive-in behind their house to see heaving breasts being chased by a latex monster . . . or to see a penis twelve feet long, pumping away at the night sky. POPCORN: Yeah, I guess. CINEMA: But they did market it as the first film to be banned in Sweden, even though it wasn’t entirely true. That would be Victor Sjöström‘s THE GARDNER in 1912. It got knocked for the final scene, where the title character essentially raped the girl he lusted after, leaving this innocent young thing laying dead in the greenhouse among all the flowers. But, in the case of THRILLER, the distributors knew that anything that gets banned only gets more appealing. POPCORN: Wanna sell a few thousand more copies of your album? Get it slapped with a warning label. Thank you, Tipper Gore. CINEMA: Same concept, yeah. The producers took out huge life insurance policy on star Christina Lindberg, as real ammo was being used in the action scenes, and because she was asked to inject saline solution during the drug scenes. She also did all of her own driving in the movie, despite not having a driver’s license. POPCORN: Dude, I seen the dong-in-the-hole version – CINEMA: Meaning the limited edition released by Synapse Films about twelve years ago? POPCORN: Yeah, that. There was the scene where pimp daddy gives her the rundown. All that you-work-for-me-and-I-give-you-the-drugs stuff. Gives her one day a week off – CINEMA: Which makes no sense. POPCORN: Then he sends the first customer in. She scratches the shit outta him – CINEMA: You know, I’ve seen the movie. POPCORN: Well, then pimp daddy decides to teach her a lesson. So he walks in with the scalpel, all point-of-view comin’ at you. Then he starts diggin’ her eye out . . . So I was checkin’ out the bonus features with this version. Dude, did you know that was a real eyeball? Like, the director had a for-real corpse – CINEMA: Oh yeah. The cadaver was that of a recently deceased girl who had committed suicide, with the eye-puncture being filmed right there in the hospital. Lindberg even confirmed that it happened. POPCORN Dude, that’s messed up. CINEMA: It wasn’t the only time that something like that’s been done – POPCORN: It was like pushing a knife into a grape. CINEMA: There was Salvador Dali’s great surrealist short UN CHIEN ANDALOU, all the way back in 1928. A woman’s eyeball was held open while being sliced with a straight-razor, an obvious metaphor about opening our eyes to the power of cinematic truth – POPCORN: Oh yeah, of course. CINEMA: It was actually a calf’s eye that was used in the film, but it’s edited in such a way that you really think it belongs to the woman. Tom Savini reportedly used a real corpse in 1978’s DAWN OF THE DEAD, though his talents are such that it would be hard to tell. POPCORN: Those were real skeletons in POLTERGEIST. When Mom falls in the pool. CINEMA: Uh-huh . . . and, during the infamously troubled shoot of APOCALYPSE NOW, there was a terrible smell coming from the Philippines set. When producers investigated, they discovered a long row of rotting cadavers in a tent not far from where everyone was eating. The prop guys had gotten them from a local supplier in hopes of adding authenticity to their scenes. It turned out that the suppliers were actually grave robbers . . . POPCORN: They shot that horror flick UNREST in a real morgue, with real bodies. CINEMA: And, while filming 1999’s THREE KINGS, director David O. Russell put a real slug in a real corpse to show what happens when a bullet penetrates the body. It apparently grossed Mark Wahlberg out. POPCORN: Yeah, well, Marky Mark grosses me out. You ever notice how he’s always trying to look like Matt Damon? CINEMA: Whatever. The thing I appreciated about THRILLER was that the revenge we all know is coming wasn’t immediate. The pimp gouges out her eye and then charges her future dates more for a night with “One-Eye” – POPCORN: Come on in and get winked off by the best. CINEMA: – but still she must endure. She is subjected to her first customer – POPCORN: Weirdo Anderson. CINEMA: – the sadist with an SLR, who wants to pose her naked in her eye-patch. But still she must endure. Then she has the hardcore guy – POPCORN: Dong-in-the-hole. CINEMA: Yeah. POPCORN: The chunky corn-holer. CINEMA: But still she must endure. The next customer is a woman, who seems like she might be sympathetic at first, even gentle, but – POPCORN: She shoves her back on the bed just like the dudes do. CINEMA: But still she must endure. It’s not until she uses her day off to go see her parents – POPCORN: And they’ve offed themselves. CINEMA: – because they just couldn’t go on without their little girl – which I find extremely unlikely, by the way! I mean, it just doesn’t ring true for me – but I accept it as a plot point in order to get where we’ve got to go, because this is the tipping point for her vengeance – POPCORN: Karate! Stunt-driving! CINEMA: Not to mention, target practice. POPCORN: Gosh, thanks for my day off, Pimp Daddy. Now I can start training to kill you. CINEMA: Here they could easily have cut to a training montage, some kind of pounding rock song, and in five minutes we have a fully trained hooker-assassin. But they spend some time showing the entire process, the humiliation and the abuse of her body, while she continues to get better and better. Revenge takes time. POPCORN: Here’s what I like, dude. It’s, like, shoot up, dong-in-the-hole, naked photos, Slap Happy Lesbian, karate, stunt-driving, shooting . . . then, shoot up, dong-in-the-hole, naked photos, Slap Happy Lesbian, karate – CINEMA: There’s almost a lyrical quality. POPCORN: Yeah. Then she’s pretty much kickin’ everybody’s ass, hittin’ ten bullseyes in a row, and driving like my Mom used to drive in rush-hour. Then the one dude – CINEMA: Yoda of the Guns. POPCORN: Heh, yeah – he’s all, like, “I’d say your training is over”. Then she busts out the black eye-patch – CINEMA: Black being the color of vengeance. POPCORN: – saws off the shotgun, and it’s on, bitches. CINEMA: When she starts taking out clients, her pimp tries to set her up – because I think she’s still shooting heroin at this point! He has her usual dealer tell her to meet him at the docks, where she is ambushed in an abandoned warehouse – POPCORN: Dude, people always end up in abandoned warehouses in movies. CINEMA: In this case, the scene where she took on the hit-men was originally filmed outside, along with the subsequent tussle with the cops. But when the footage was sent to the lab, they didn’t understand that it was meant to be in super slow-motion – POPCORN: So it got tossed. CINEMA: Yeah. It was reshot in the ubiquitous abandoned warehouse. Then she hijacks the police car – POPCORN: So we get to see those driving lessons weren’t wasted. CINEMA: Apparently, the people of Scandinavia have absolutely no regard for police cars with sirens wailing – POPCORN: One guy even tries to race her. Cars are randomly crashing and blowin’ up – CINEMA: Not always in that order. This scene was followed by some kind of shoot-out in what looks like a fishing village. I’m not really sure why it happens, or who it’s with – I would assume it was the pimp – POPCORN: It’s just one of those movie lessons, dude. If you see an irate one-eyed hooker with a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun, run like hell. CINEMA: Heh, yeah. There’s definitely a HIGH NOON vibe going on here – POPCORN: Especially when she challenges Pimp Daddy to a duel. CINEMA: You know, it’s a strange feeling film. It comes off as rather art-house when it’s not being sleazy, like Jess Franco meets Ingmar Bergman. There’s sex and violence. But there’s not much dialogue, and there’s an inherent sadness to it all. POPCORN: Like that scene at the end, when One-Eye just sits down to watch a man die. CINEMA: There’s little satisfaction on her face. POPCORN: Chick even looks away. CINEMA: For just a moment, yeah, when that death comes. It’s as if seeing the Grim Reaper up so close would require her to join him too. Through it all, Christina Lindberg expresses so much raw emotion without a single word spoken. The irony is that she was eager to accept a role without dialogue because she felt that she wasn’t a very good actress. POPCORN: She’s a bad-ass. CINEMA: She is. POPCORN: Really quick, dude. Name another bad-ass in an eye-patch. CINEMA: Rooster Cogburn. POPCORN: Snake Plissken. CINEMA: Mad-Eye Moody. POPCORN: Deathstroke. CINEMA: Molotov Cocktease, VENTURE BROS. POPCORN: That one dude on the last season of BUFFY. CINEMA: Not really a bad-ass, but I’ll accept. Sarris from GALAXY QUEST. POPCORN: The Governor, WALKING DEAD. CINEMA: Oh yeah? Well, Emilio Largo, THUNDERBALL. POPCORN: Dude . . . Nick Fury. CINEMA: Ha. Elle Driver. POPCORN: Good, but nothin’ like Odin. CINEMA: Yeah, well, I’ve got the best one of all – POPCORN CINEMA: Michelle Rodriguez in MACHETE!! CINEMA: Oh, come on. Look at these titles . . . VILLAGE OF THE RAMMED. BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER K-Y. LITTLE ORAL ANNIE. THE HILLS HAVE THIGHS? Are you serious?? MALCOLM XXX?? TITTY TITTY BANG BANG? GULP FICTION, and . . . EDWARD PENISHANDS???? POPCORN: What can I say, dude? I love the classics. See larger image Thriller: A Cruel Picture This is the film that Quentin Tarantino (Director, KILL BILL VOL. 1 & 2, PULP FICTION, RESERVOIR DOGS) called The roughest revenge movie ever made! THRILLER A CRUEL PICTURE is finally making its U.S. DVD debut in this Uncensored Limited Edition. With only 25,000 units in the total DVD production run, this cult gem will soon be gone forever! Order now so you don t miss out on THE exploitation DVD release of the year! Growing up mute after a childhood sexual assault, a young girl (played by beautiful cult starlet Christina Lindberg) spends years working on a remote farm. After missing the bus one day, she is picked up by a suave young man who takes her out to dinner, drugs her and forces her into a life of drug addiction and prostitution. Torn away from home, she rebels against her captor only to have one of her eyes gouged out as punishment (in a scene rumored to have been filmed with an actual corpse). After learning of the death of her parents and fed up with the cards life has dealt, she trains herself in the fine arts of fighting, killing and revenge. Transformed into a one-woman killing machine (and armed with a sawed-off shotgun), she uses her new skills to enact bloody revenge on those who have done her wrong. Synapse Films has painstakingly restored THRILLER A CRUEL PICTURE from original vault materials to bring you the totally uncensored version of the ultimate revenge-exploitation movie! Originally released in the U.S. in a heavily truncated form as THEY CALL HER ONE EYE, THRILLER is presented here with all the graphic sex, violence and action intact. Over 20 minutes of additional footage has been restored! New From: $17.95 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Susan Leighton February 7, 2017 I really liked the format of this review. Yes, there is something badass about eye patches. Revenge movies are usually tough to watch like Last House on the Left but strangely enough, I can appreciate them. It must be exhausting to make them because you have to be emotionally amped up 24-7. Thanks for the info on this movie. It seems like one to add to my midnight viewing list. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.