Written by: Carroll Jenkins on June 11th, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Sweden, October 30th, 1974
Director: Bo Arne Vibenius
Writer: Bo Arne Vibenius
Cast: Christina Lindberg, Heinz Hopf, Solveig Andersson
DVD released: August 30th, 2005
Approximate running time: 104 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Swedish, Dolby Digital Mono English
DVD Release: Synapse Films
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
This is a review of the Vengeance Edition of Thriller: A Cruel Picture; for a more general review of the feature please reference the Limited Edition review.
There is quite a bit of interest in this feature these days generated by it’s influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill (1, 2, and the never released Whole Bloody Affair). I was squeamish about watching Thriller: A Cruel Picture for decades due to it’s notoriety for hardcore inserts, terrible audio/video quality, and extreme violence. That may have been true back in the day but is no more.
All three of these issues have been addressed by this presentation from Synapse released a year following the LE. Presumably they hadn’t sold out as yet and realized there was a stigma attached to the uncut film. This is not the ‘They Call Her One Eye’ US theatrical release, but was pieced together from vault elements. That US release was cut by 25 minutes, but the ‘Vengeance’ edition here is shorn of only 3 minutes and 36 seconds. The eye gouge scene fades a bit early (1.9 seconds but no time difference), and all hardcore insert scenes are removed along with some ‘collateral damage’ snips of reaction bits which were integrated with the explicit sex. These include some actual Christina Lindberg nudity along with additional footage of mainline heroin paraphernalia.
This edit retains all the slow motion shootouts which required a special camera capable of 500 frames per second. They emphasize the violence and the image of suspended blood is quite unusual. Trimmed only of extreme excess whilst maintaining requisite continuity, Thriller: They Call Her One Eye is no longer a cruel picture that punishes the viewer but is a rather engaging (though deliberately paced) revenge epic that should be considered a landmark of exploitation cinema and enjoyed as such.
Note: At this point in time, nearly a decade away from the 9/2004 release of the LE, there are signs that the limited edition run of 25,000 copies is now drying up. Some online retailers still have stock and some are out, but the end result is that the LE price is climbing while the VE is readily available and in some cases discounted.
Credit for details of the version variants to Movie Censorship.