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They Call Her One Eye aka Thriller: A Cruel Picture (Bo Arne Vibenius 1974)

Originally called Thriller: A Cruel Picture this low budget shocker was banned outright in it's native Sweden, and hacked to pieces for the American drive in circuit under the title They Call Her One Eye. It was not only the graphic scenes of slow motion violence that had upset the Swedish censors, but Vibenius' inclusion of hardcore pornographic inserts during one of the film's rape scenes which would condemn his original vision to semi-obscurity for the next thirty years. They Call Her One Eye proved to be a cult hit in the US, but much of the slow motion violence had been trimmed, and the real sex (in which a body double had stood in for it's star Christina Lindberg) was a distant memory making the film almost twenty minutes shorter. That is until the original film (Thriller: A Cruel Picture) was released uncut as a limited edition DVD by Synapse films back in 2004. The following year Synapse released an alternative 'Vengeance Edition' cut of the film (pictured above right) under the title Thriller: They Call Her One Eye. This new version retained all of the slow motion violence and rape scenes, but left out the hardcore porn inserts. For reasons of good taste I opted for this newer release and watched the subtitled version of the film...

Essentially a basic rape revenge tale, Thriller is the story of Madeleine (or Frigga if you watch the dubbed version) a young woman who was abused as a child and left mute as the result of mental trauma. Growing up on a rural farm she misses her bus one day and takes a ride from a stranger who subsequently kidnaps and drugs her forcing her into a life of prostitution. When a terrified Madelaine attacks her first client, her pimp (Tony played by Heinz Hopf) gouges out one of her eyes with a scalpel as punishment. Dependent on heroine, and with no escape Madeleine gradually uses her ''one day off a week'' to learn martial arts, weapons training, and driving skills in order to exact merciless revenge on Tony and her clients...



Clearly a primary influence behind Abel Ferrara's Ms.45 (one of my favourite films), I found Thriller grim yet compelling viewing from start to finish. Nude starlet Christina Lindberg has no lines in the movie, but (like Zoe Lund in Ferrara's flick) easily convinces through her body language and facial expressions. Her transition from shy vulnerable victim, to ruthless (and clearly insane) killer is contrived and ridiculous, but gripping stuff nevertheless. Vibenius shot the film in a semi-documentary style with an experimental score (comprising of long high notes, and garbled screams), giving it a hauntingly bleak atmosphere all it's own. Best of all however, are the ultra slow motion scenes of violence (I believe Vibenius used a special motion capture camera) in which Madeleine wreaks havock. I particularly liked the sequence in which she beats two police officers to a bloody pulp in lengthy surreal detail. Also excellent are the scenes in which she learns Karate, which far from being cheesy montage sequences, are very well edited and authentically portrayed. To sum up I loved everything about this movie, and am only sorry I didn't see it years ago. It's not going to appeal to everyone, what with it's gritty low budget production values and depressing subject matter. But I fell in love with it instantly and stand by my lofty rating, even if most of you would probably only give it a generous
or less. It was that eye patch that sold me, but enough rambling.



Keoma
(Enzo G. Castellari 1976)
+
Made at the end of the Spaghetti western cycle, Keoma is considered by many to be the last of the greats, and a fitting swan song of the genre. Marking one of Franco Nero's many collaborations with his friend and prolific action director Enzo G. Castellari; it has a reputation as being downbeat, violent and depressing, but also visually striking and thought provoking, with allegorical undertones.

Keoma
is the name of Nero's title character, an idealistic, yet deadly 'half breed' Indian returning home to his plague ridden town after (what I presumed to be) the American civil war. Waiting for him are his three racist half brothers and scheming land owner Caldwell (Spaghetti regular Donald O'Brien) who are holding the town in a strangle hold, blocking medical supplies and food to treat the sick. Keoma's only allies are his aging philosophical father (William Berger), and boyhood hero George (Woody Strode), now a broken alcoholic.

Of the seven or so Castellari films I've seen, this is my favourite by far. Right from the striking wind swept opening sequence in which Keoma rides through a dusty abandoned town as an old woman cries his name; it's clear this is no ordinary Spaghetti. Playing like a dark twisted variation on the Prodigal Son parable, Keoma is a deep and brooding western, which explores themes of freedom, race, nostalgia, sacrifice and violence. The dialogue is often memorable and the performances from both Nero and Berger are fantastic and very moving. Keoma excels Visually too, with lush mountain vistas by day, and the decrepit old town lit up by torch carrying bandits and blue tinged lightening by night. Perhaps most notable of all however is the bizarre haunting soundtrack from Guido and Maurizio De Angleis, with it's out of tune yet melodic guitar strings, and operatic warbling vocals. It really does give the film it's own identity even if the basic story is a little on the predictable side.

Also watched...



Night Train Murders aka Late Night Trains (Aldo Lado 1975)

Lado's Giallo Short Night of Glass Dolls didn't exactly knock my socks off, but had enough visual flair and interesting ideas to make me want to check this out too. Described as Italy's answer to Wes Craven's The Last House on the Left, it's an exact retread with the only difference being the majority of the film takes place on board a train (duh). In fact that's not really fair; this is well made stuff (the lighting and editing is especially excellent), with some truly harrowing scenes to rival Craven's film (which I've never liked). Particularly effective is the way in which Lado quickly cuts to footage of the girls parents enjoying dinner with friends during the murders. The performances are all rather good too, especially Macha Meril as a twisted nymphomaniac, and Ginafranco De Grassi as a crazed knife wielding rapist (pictured). On the downside the film is a little on the slow side, and the victims characters aren't fleshed out enough for you to really care about them. Oh yeah and you'd never guess the soundtrack is from Ennio Morricone because it's completely forgettable. Still better than Craven's effort in my opinion though.



G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)- F



You know all of the stuff you look for in a film? This movie didn't have it. Horrible acting, no plot, no actual feelings or emotions toward the characters, unrealistic, stupid dialogue, and a puzzled look afterwards. So where did this movie take place? Underwater, space, underground, desert, ice world with a random polar bear. Yeah, if you couldn't guess, I didn't like this film at all.


Valkyrie (2008)- C/C+



I wasn't too crazy about this movie. It seemed like it ended really abrupt, and I still can't believe this was almost tw hours. I would've never guessed, it went by so fast. I don't know if this is just me, but I was confused in a few spots but other than that it was OK. I wanted some more back stories on Hitler and what he was doing instead of assuming the audience already knew the whole history. Oh well, nothing too amazing in this film. Meh.



The Big Fix - Plays sort of like a flaccid 1970s version of The Big Lebowski. Richard Dreyfuss plays a P.I. investigating an old activist's attempt to foil some guy's election campaign... or something. I don't know. With the way it artlessly hops from plot-point to plot-point and the failed attempt at social commentary it all kind of went by me. I guess there are also parallels to be drawn with The Long Goodbye.



Bright light. Bright light. Uh oh.
I'm happy when anybody watches The Big Fix, but calling it flaccid is a cheap shot. You namedrop two popular revisionist mysteries, and I would use that adjective for at least one of them, but whatever. Here is my meager review of The Big Fix.
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Thanks for linking me to your review, Mark. My feelings probably aren't as harsh as they sound (I would probably give it a
) but all the things you liked about it didn't charm me. And namedropping was probably an easy route to take. Which of those two movies would you describe that way? Just curious.



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
The Last House On The Left




A gang kidnap, torture, rape and kill two young girls in the middle of the woods. One stabbed numerous times, the other shot and left for dead in the lake. A storm soars in and the gang finds themselves seeking shelter to the nearest house. The couple who live there welcome them with open arms and lets them stay at the guest house. The girl left for dead in the lake manages to survive and crawls back to her home....the same home the kidnappers are staying at. The parents decide to take revenge on the gang.

This is a remake of Wes Craven's original with the same name. I've never seen the original, but have heard that it is pretty disturbing. Having seen my fair share of disturbing films (thank you Cannibal Holocaust) I didn't know what to expect from a film that was a remake of such disturbing subject matter. This up to date version seems to unbalanced and tame (and yes I saw the unrated version).

I say unbalanced because it seems to want to be two different films, in terms of genre and style. The last act and the only parts worth watching, seem to fall under the 'torture porn' genre. Think Hostel, Saw and countless other horror films that rely on gross out gore to entertain the audience. I've got nothing wrong with this, I love my gore in horror flicks. This film has some great deaths, even if they are a bit over the top. Hammers, garbage disposals, microwaves, all these are great death scenes. Yet the rest of the film (save for the rape bits) seem to belong to another film all together.

The acting is by the numbers, yet I found Dillahunt and Goldwyn are the stand out performances. Dillahunt, from Deadwood, plays Krug, the lead gang member. He walks the line of being nice, at least to me. He plays it nice, yet his actions are despicable. I say he played it nice because Aaron Paul, who plays another member of the gang is pretty "evil" and over the top. Goldwyn plays the father and has intense moments that is all played through his eyes. The two of them have a fight scene that was not in the original and it seems too fake, just to fill some time.

The story is predictable, even if you haven't seen the original and is by the numbers. In a film like this, I was expecting more shock moments. The final act had two, yet this film cries for more. As a remake, I;d say I've seen worse (Prom Night), but there are certainly better (Dawn of the Dead) remakes out there.

Last House On The Left is a well made film, don't get me wrong. If you're into this type of horror stuff then it might satisfy you. I found it to be pretty basic. I still want to check out the original, one that I'm sure will do more damage than this could ever imagine to. I recommend this to fans of the genre (not the horror genre, the torture genre). Everyone else can skip it.

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Suspect's Reviews



A New Leaf

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The Last House On The Left




A gang kidnap, torture, rape and kill two young girls in the middle of the woods. One stabbed numerous times, the other shot and left for dead in the lake. A storm soars in and the gang finds themselves seeking shelter to the nearest house. The couple who live there welcome them with open arms and lets them stay at the guest house. The girl left for dead in the lake manages to survive and crawls back to her home....the same home the kidnappers are staying at. The parents decide to take revenge on the gang.

This is a remake of Wes Craven's original with the same name. I've never seen the original, but have heard that it is pretty disturbing. Having seen my fair share of disturbing films (thank you Cannibal Holocaust) I didn't know what to expect from a film that was a remake of such disturbing subject matter. This up to date version seems to unbalanced and tame (and yes I saw the unrated version).

I say unbalanced because it seems to want to be two different films, in terms of genre and style. The last act and the only parts worth watching, seem to fall under the 'torture porn' genre. Think Hostel, Saw and countless other horror films that rely on gross out gore to entertain the audience. I've got nothing wrong with this, I love my gore in horror flicks. This film has some great deaths, even if they are a bit over the top. Hammers, garbage disposals, microwaves, all these are great death scenes. Yet the rest of the film (save for the rape bits) seem to belong to another film all together.

The acting is by the numbers, yet I found Dillahunt and Goldwyn are the stand out performances. Dillahunt, from Deadwood, plays Krug, the lead gang member. He walks the line of being nice, at least to me. He plays it nice, yet his actions are despicable. I say he played it nice because Aaron Paul, who plays another member of the gang is pretty "evil" and over the top. Goldwyn plays the father and has intense moments that is all played through his eyes. The two of them have a fight scene that was not in the original and it seems too fake, just to fill some time.

The story is predictable, even if you haven't seen the original and is by the numbers. In a film like this, I was expecting more shock moments. The final act had two, yet this film cries for more. As a remake, I;d say I've seen worse (Prom Night), but there are certainly better (Dawn of the Dead) remakes out there.

Last House On The Left is a well made film, don't get me wrong. If you're into this type of horror stuff then it might satisfy you. I found it to be pretty basic. I still want to check out the original, one that I'm sure will do more damage than this could ever imagine to. I recommend this to fans of the genre (not the horror genre, the torture genre). Everyone else can skip it.


I gave it slightly higher as it was a far more solid film than the original, sure it lacked that low budget gritty grain that suited the original perfectly but enjoyed it lot more, tighter pacing, better performances and the workmanship behind it seemed for more competent. But again, that helped give the original that dirty, realistic vibe. I only half watched it in fairness but thought in itself it was enjoyable and effective enough for what it is.
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Bought it for $5 worth every cent
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I've mentioned this before, but you do realize that the original Last House on the Left is a remake of Ingmar Bergman's The Virgin Spring?

Yeah and i'm think it lists that on either the case or somewhere in the credits but that does seem pretty hard to believe.



there's a frog in my snake oil
Max Sydow comes in a can now? That's disgraceful!



JVCD

With a grizzled and washed-out tint reminiscent of Jean Claude's own chops, we get a revisionist history, projected through an ego's aperture, which casts some fun dancing shadows along the way. Because JCVD has got caught up in a heist you know. It's true.

'Blah blah blah' goes the TV in the overrun post office. JVCD doesn't care. He's self aware. He knows about the grimness behind the glamour, the incessant fan-based clamour, the importance of having good hair. He believes in a code, in loving all that will love him, in long takes that show that he's more than just an ageing chin.

How to take this? The tongue is firmly in cheek, but does feel out some rotten fillings. The heart is pretentious, the body is willing. There's good support from weasel confederates, some cartoon blocks of viewer-collusion, and English-language bits that don't sell that well.

A central spiel is done in character, so it's safe. Other players hog the limelight, in ways that made me happy as a pig in a trough at times. Tangentially. French quotes played pleasing little games with time. And i felt a little more Belgian by the end of it. Just more brusque than bruised. But enjoyably unconfused. (I hope you are too, after this drunken review )

'I'm Jean Claude Van Damme. It should be less realistic.'


((+))
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Awesome Gols... I don't really know what you just said, but I plan to see this pretty soon.
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I ain't gettin' in no fryer!
Iron Man

Role Models
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"I was walking down the street with my friend and he said, "I hear music", as if there is any other way you can take it in. You're not special, that's how I receive it too. I tried to taste it but it did not work." - Mitch Hedberg





Reservoir Dogs (1992)

I pulled this movie out of the $5.00 bin at Walmart quite a long time ago, but never got around to watching it. I've been in a not so great mood (thanks to stress at work) so I certainly appreciated all of the violence (and there certainly was a lot of it). It was an entertaining film and there were some memorable scenes (Mr. Blond talking into the cop's ear, especially) and memorable characters, but overall I found the film a bit lacking in plot and just not as interesting as Pulp Fiction.

-



Welcome to the human race...


Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009) -




Hiroshima Mon Amour (Alain Resnais, 1959) -




Unforgiven (Clint Eastwood, 1992) -
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I really just want you all angry and confused the whole time.



Kenny, don't paint your sister.
Haven't posted for awhile, so I've got quite a few to catch up on.

Die Hard with a Vengence




Bringing Tierman as the director I think really helped this series after the second. Samuel L.'s character was a nice addition, and the plot, which I thought sounded a little weak, worked out very well. Bruce Willis is perfect as usual as McClane. Definately one to see if you enjoyed the first.


Bad Day at Black Rock




Despite a good cast and an interesting mystery, this movie had me quite, well, bored. The pace was way too slow it seemed. The hour and twenty minutes dragged on. It seemed as though nothing happened in this film, but that the characters were trying to hide/discover what had happened already.


A Soldier's Story




A not-so-typical who-dunit. I'm surprised this film isn't better known. Great acting and really good plot on racism.

The Skeleton Key




Filled with suspense, but I can see why this film is not very popular. The performances and direction weren't bad. Kate Hudson's character at times, however, got on my nerves and the script was pretty bland. Can't remember a single line from it. If you're in the mood for suspense and have about an hour and a half to kill, not a total waste of time.

to be continued
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Classicqueen13