In Thriller: A Cruel Picture, revenge is a bitter-sweet dish served with bullets, explosions, and karate by a woman in an eye patch! Christina Lindberg headlines this infamous exploitation thriller that isn’t easy to digest and not for the faint of heart - nor for newcomers to the genre. Vinegar Syndrome brings this 70s genre class to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an impressive HDR10 transfer, multiple audio tracks, and a 1080p Blu-ray of the edited American version They Call Her One Eye. Unlike the limited box set release that is now sold out, there is not a 4K version of this ultimate cut, but you still get an amazing selection of bonus features. Recommended
[Excerpt from our Thriller: A Cruel Picture - 4K Ultra HD Box Set Review]
"Madeline (Christina Lindberg) hasn’t exactly had an easy life. After being assaulted by her own grandfather, she’s spent the last fifteen years mute. While on her way to a treatment center, she’s casually picked up by the flashy and kindly Tony (Heinz Hopf). Only Tony isn’t the good samaritan he plays. After plying Madeline with booze, Tony gets her hooked on heroin. Fully addicted, he renames Madeline “Frigga” and forces her into his stable of prostitutes for his high-paying clientele. Forced into the sex trade, Frigga saves her money to take martial arts lessons, learn to shoot a gun, and drive a car. She bides her time, waiting for the right moment to unleash her silent rage in full bloody vengeance.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture, and by extension its heavily edited American counterpart They Call Her One Eye, is a difficult film to experience. It’s visceral, unflinching, and an often shocking entry in the rape/revenge sub-genre of exploitation films. Much like its counterparts, I Spit On Your Grave or Ms. 45, the entertainment value doesn’t come from the horror Christina Lindberg endures but from her methodology for exacting her own brand of revenge. And while the revenge elements are solid, the film itself is a bit uneven - to say the least.
For the original Swedish version, Thriller: A Cruel Picture suffers from a languid pace capped off with unnecessary hardcore footage slapped in for shock value. While a revenge movie doesn’t always need to move swiftly, this movie really does take its time to get to where it's going and that direction doesn’t always make sense. Then there’s the hardcore footage of body doubles spliced into relatively softcore scenes of Frigga’s client sessions. It’s jarring and completely unnecessary. The training footage is interesting enough and once Frigga begins her quest for revenge the pace picks up just in time to save the film."
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Thriller: A Cruel Picture gets a bloody vengeful upgrade on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in a three-disc 4K UHD + 2 Blu-ray release. The three discs are housed in a standard black three-disc case with exclusive slipcover and reversible insert artwork. The discs sit in individual trays and are not stacked. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with basic navigation structure.
Only the now out-of-print 4-Disc box set contained a 4K UHD disc of They Call Her One Eye.
Box Set and 3-Disc Slipcover Version
Spine Numbers for the Box Set and 3-Disc Slipcover Version
Back information for the Box Set and 3-Disc Slipcover Version
Alternate Insert Artwork for the Box Set and 3-Disc Slipcover Version
Reportedly sourced from a restoration of the original 16mm negative, this is another tremendous effort from Vinegar Syndrome on 4K. Given its 16mm origins, film grain is readily apparent but naturally cinematic and indicative of the source. With that, details are terrific throughout. Wide shots look pretty good, but middle and close-ups offer the most appreciation for facial features and textures. I haven’t seen this film since VHS and this is clearly a huge leap in overall quality. The image is also remarkably clean with only some slight mild speckling here and there.
HDR10 really does a number with the film’s range of colors. Blues, Yellows, and Reds all shine beautifully. Flesh tones - and there’s plenty of time to examine those - are healthy and normal. There are a couple of moments where characters can look a tad too red/pink, but those are relatively few. Whites are natural and crisp without blooming - Frigga’s Karate gi is a notable example there. Black levels are overall strong with enough separation to avoid crush when Frigga goes on her revenge spree. There is a slow-mo fight between Frigga and a pair of cops where her black outfit almost completely blends into the background. The numerous slow-mo shots also have some additional flicker but that’s pretty normal considering the film stock. As a whole, an impressive restoration effort that doesn’t betray the film’s rough nature and gritty origins.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture comes to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray in its original Swedish DTS-HD MA 2.0 and an English dubbed DTS-HD MA 2.0 track. Effectively all of the tracks are great. Whether you want to listen to the original version with English subs or substitute for the dubbed version, the tracks work. The film has relatively little dialog. Long stretches are essentially silent with only sound effects and the synth-heavy score to keep the soundscape working. No notable age-related issues are to be found, the track is free of any notable hiss, pops, or cracks for a clean and clear.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture
They Call Her One Eye Blu-ray Disc:
Christina Lindberg exacts her own brand of brutal vengeance in Thriller: A Cruel Picture. This shocking entry in the rape/revenge exploitation sub-genre is certainly a difficult watch and not for the faint of heart, but if you can make it to the final act, it’s a rewarding finale. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray transfer is a treat preserving this gritty film in all its 16mm glory with original Swedish and English dubbed audio options. Toss in a 1080p Blu-ray copy of the American edit They Call Her One Eye and hours of excellent bonus features and you have a pretty great set if you missed out on picking up Vinegar Syndrome’s original 4-disc Box Set release. Recommended - specifically for fans of the genre.