Thriller: A Cruel Picture (1973): Special Edition [Blu-ray/DVD]

Known as “Hooker’s Revenge,” and as “They Call Her One Eye,” Bo Arne Vibernius’s “Thriller” is the quintessential grindhouse revenge pic that begat so many after it. When you want to visit what helped influence Tarantino, “Thriller” (Vinegar Syndrome will debuting their own release of the film on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with a different transfer and extras this summer) is where the template was established. While it suffers from narrative flaws here and there, “Thriller” is pure visceral exploitation revenge cinema that still feels about as grimy and gritty as “I Spit On Your Grave” in spite of its restoration.

Growing up mute after a childhood sexual assault, Frigga (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 prostitution. After learning of the death of her parents, the now one eyed Frigga secretly trains herself in martial arts, defensive driving, and expert gun use. With a sawed-off shotgun, Frigga uses her new skills to enact bloody revenge on all of those who’ve done her wrong.

Bo Arne Vibernius’s “Thriller” is still a bit of shocking and jarring exploitation action cinema that watches well in spite of its inherent flaws. That is thanks to the performance of exploitation goddess Christina Lindberg. Arguably the most famous role of her career, Lindberg is insanely sexy, but also mesmerizing in her performance The writers never really let Frigga off the hook at any point, punishing her over and over, but she delivers vengeance in her most sadistic methods possible. If “Thriller” sounds a bit like “I Spit on Your Grave,” it’s very much in the same wheelhouse, except it’s a bit more sensationalistic in its blood soaked revenge epilogue.

That said, the narrative dips too heavily in to hardcore sex losing sight of its narrative mid-way. While Lindberg is insanely gorgeous, the whole idea of her torment involving sexual violence, drugs, and torture is excessive. There’s even the infamous eye gouging scene (allegedly performed for the film on a cadaver) that emphasizes Frigga’s hell, even if it’s just down right gratuitous. That said, “Thriller” still manages to come out well when all is said and done with some sharp storytelling, an entertaining climax, and raw direction from Vibernius.

Along with new Reversible cover art from Wes Benscoter, the new release from Synapse Films offers up some great Bells and Whistles, which includes The Uncut and uncensored high definition 1080p (1.66:1) presentation, the Original Swedish language version with newly translated removable English subtitles, The Alternate English dub soundtrack with newly translated removable English subtitles, as well as Multiple still galleries.

These galleries includes rare behind-the-scenes images and nude photos of Christina Lindberg on set; there is the original Theatrical trailers and original TV spot, a series of Outtakes, and an Alternate Harbor Fight Sequence clocking in at six minutes, which is a re-edited version of the original climax. There’s THRILLER: A Cruel Lab Mistake which includes rare photos from an unused fight sequence ruined by the film lab during production. Finally there’s THRILLER: The Story in Pictures.