It’s no secret that the worlds ultimate fan boy, Quentin Tarantino,
ripped off paid homage to all those films he watched while working in a video shop in his home town of Knoxville, and Swedish rape/revenge movie Thriller: A Cruel Picture certainly forms one of the many creative foundations for his blockbuster homage-fest Kill Bill.
Thriller: A Cruel Picture follows your textbook revenge format; after being raped as a child by a stereotypical knitted jumper wearing pedophile in a park, Madeleine becoming mute. One day while walking near her home in the countryside she is kidnapped and forced into a heroin addiction by her captor.Madeleine is then routinely prostituted out to various seedy clients (include a woman who you’d be forgiven for thinking was anorexic) to pay for her addiction. After a failed escape attempt results in her having her eye stabbed with a scalpel as punishment, she dons a fetching eye patch and conveniently learns self-defense techniques along with some shooting and driving skills so that she can take revenge on her captors, which she doe’s in style.
As far as revenge sagas go, many aspects of Thriller: A Cruel Picture seem cliche by today’s standards since it seems every other week Liam Neeson is avenging the loss of yet of another member of his family but Thriller: A Cruel Picture was released at a time when rape/revenge movies were popular in exploitation circles and in a way they paved the way for the Liam Neeson’s of this world to repetitively spam modern movie screens. If Liam Neeson had gone through what Madeleine goes through i’m pretty sure he’d never unlock his front door
One of the most endearing qualities of Thriller: A Cruel Picture is that all of the sex scenes in the film feature real hardcore sex, which essentially just makes this a porn movie with an actual plot but do you expect anything less from Swedish cinema? I’m no stranger to rape scenes in movies but the line between graphic depiction and pornography is crossed when the director decided to use what some media scholars have dubbed as ”The Money Shot”.
Given that all the sex featured in the movie is real it’s no surprise that Madeleine is played by real life 70’s Swedish porn star Christina Lindberg which adds a level of sexiness to whole affair that in retrospect doesn’t need to be there given the gravity of the situation Madeleine finds herself in.
I wouldn’t for one second try to pin any sort of artistic credibility on this movie as the story is just a vehicle for extremely graphic sex scenes and pre-matrix slow-mo violence but fans of unashamedly dark and sexy exploitation cinema will certainly enjoy Thriller: A Cruel Picture in all it’s rustic glory.