Way back when I was trying to pimp Thriller-A Cruel Picture out for Chrome Entertainment I had a request for an interview by The Dark Side Magazine writer Jay Slater. Hey, how could you resist such publicity? But this interview has long haunted-and amused-me with how it turned out. Now, The Dark Side’s credibility has been severly strained over the last few years. You can read seemingly endless proof of plagarisim at The Latarnia Forums. For more detail go to this astounding site… The Dark Side Of Plagarism. But what happened here is a whole different thing, and casts a sort of interesting lens over many other interviews I’ve read.
In issue 95 of The Dark Side (orderable here) Jay Slater interviews Bo Arne Vibenius and quotes me as well regarding the film and the release. While I have to admit that Bo asked me to help Englishify (see how good my English be?) his emailed answers, the interview is legit. It happened. The interviewer emailed questions, Vibenius answered and I cleaned it up at Bo Arne’s request. But the article presents an interesting tale. I won’t reprint the article here as it is copyrighted materia (and my name doesn’t rhyme with Mice), but you CAN read it at THIS COPY PUT ON THE WEB BY THE AUTHOR.
Some funky stuff happens during this email interview… such as “‘What to do?’ the Swede pleads as he raises his hands into the sky.” There are other instances that make this one minor, but I’ll leave you to read them yourself.
Now, I’m no pro journalist getting paid to write for The Dark Side, so maybe this is just how interviews are done.
Anyhow, in my One Eye Archive I want to put the original answers…they provide some insight into the film from the director right after the film was acquired. I hope you enjoy them. As an aside, if you do read the Dark Side article, there are some pretty good observations by the author to be had for sure-only the interview needs correcting.
Oh, and in the print version not only did my name get spelled incorrectly but my email was given as MOPHO as well. Yikes!
Interview original version. (Questions copyright original author)
1. What were your inspirations in filming Thriller/They Call Her One Eye?
I dedicated my life to film, working through film school and even on two productions with Ingmar Bergman (Assistant Director on Persona and Unit Manager on Hour of the Wolf). After that I decided to write my own film. A very heartfelt Family movie with a Beethoven soundtrack called Hur Marie träffade Fredrik. The reviews were very good, but the movie flopped economically. ‘
(The Picture represented Sweden in the San Sebastian film festival, in Spain)
I had a family to support, and had to figure out what to do. I love films more than anything. So I set out to make the most commercial film ever written, with NO limits. After 3 days and nights I finished writing Thriller-A Cruel Picture. My fingers were bleeding (no computers in those days), but it was set. I was the head of the film department for a big ad agency that produced SAAB commercials. I secured a loan and used 3 months of overtime pay to produce Thriller. So my inspiration was to help my family using my skills.
1.B Did any rape/revenge movies prompt you to lens this movie?
Not really no I like one film by Peckinpah, – the Wild Bunch-.
2. Are you surprised that the movie was banned in its native Sweden and vanished into obscurity? And now, how do you react that the film has resurfaced?
I am very excited that Thriller-A Cruel Picture will be back in the world market. I was not surprised about the censorship at the time (my next picture, Breaking Point, was also banned by Swedish Censorship-A record now with TWO movies!).
This is an Europenan World record of two banned pictures, outside the iron curtain USSR at that time, I think the picture may now find an audience that it missed before because of censorship. The version that came out in America was NOT my movie, it was missing a lot of footage.
3. What are your thoughts on the movie? Do you like it or are ashamed? If so, why?
I like the movie a lot, it is quite good I think.
It´s a great movie produced for less than 40 000.00usd at the time. I am a specialist of low budget filming, every cent shows on the screen.
I am now working on a 42 450 000.00 USD project, imagine what that will look like. Strong stuff, but as I always say, Pain is for now, Fame is forever.
4. They Call Her One Eye is incredibly graphic for its time with hardcore sex and violence. Were you asked to include such material or was this your own decision?
Nobody asked me to add anything to Thriller-I wanted to make a movie with NO limits, and I did! I always have final cut on films with my name, but distributors can still destroy the picture. I will be tougher next time signing distribution contracts.
5. How was lead actress Christina Lindberg persuaded to star in the movie? It is said that she now feels ashamed that she starred in the movie do you understand her reaction or are you surprised?
Christina was VERY professional and the best actress I ever worked with. She does a great job in the film. As for her reactions to the film, it’s been a very long time since I spoke to her.
6. Did Lindberg perform her own hardcore scenes for the movie?
No she did not. I used a performer from sex shows for those shots.
7. Did Lindberg star in hardcore movies before and after They Call Her One Eye?
Christina did many sexy movies, but she was not a hardcore actress.
8. The inclusion of hardcore sex appears out of place at times as it was an afterthought. Did you originally shoot the film with hardcore or were these scenes edited into the final print afterwards.
The scenes were intentional, we actually edited them out for some territories. So the real uncut edition contains them.
9. Do you have any anecdotes on the film and set you can share with the readers.
There are so many stories about production, from using military cameras for filming missle launches to shoot the 500 frames per second action scenes, to losing a full fight sequence at the lab (some of which will appear on the Thriller-A Cruel Picture DVD), and of course, Christina was driving – an original swedish police car on sirens with blue flash lights on etc without a license which > caused some trouble. Our biggest fun was at Cannes we created a huge publicity stunt by staging a full blown fight with guns outside the showing. You can’t do that anymore!!
10. Are there any particular scenes in the movie that you would have preferred to edit or replace? If so, why?
No, I’m glad the picture will finally be released uncut around the world. IT´S MY FINAL CUT, love it or hate it I do not give a shit.
11. Heinz Hopf is most excellent as “Tony”. What was his reaction to the movie and what was he like to work with? I have heard that he killed himself recently- is this true?
Heinz Hopf was great (he was particularly funny doing the screaming for our sound composer Ralph Lundsten-he would scream at the top of his lungs and then calmly reach for his coffee cup!). He was typecast as a bad guy though. He did indeed die recently, quite sad.
12. Have you ever felt that perhaps you went to far in lensing They Call Her One Eye?
No, the film has no limits, exactly as intended!
13. At the world premiere in Sweden, what was the reaction of the audience? How did the press react to you?
Strangely, feminist groups liked the picture! I guess it has a strong message for women. AIP didn’t distribute the picture correctly throughout the world, so finally I can see the real reaction to the film. I played it some years back at a festival slightly edited and the crowd was cheering.
14. Why the pseudo of Alex Fridolinski?
Bo A. Vibenius is the man who works on commercials (winning a Gold and Silver Lion at Cannes) and director of Hur Marie träffade Fredrik. I have many windows in my soul, and the darkest one is called Alex Fridolinski.
15. Was the film a financial success?
It will now be even bigger!
16. Have you had any feedback from feminist groups for its portrayal of violence against women as well as its major revenge theme where the guilty men are dispatched without prejudice?
Women liked the picture I think, because it shows a beautiful and strong woman who finally overcomes her captors without becoming evil.
17. Did you shoot scenes that didn’t make into the finished print? If so, what were they?
A 500 Frames per second fight sequence was filmed and destroyed. Chrome Entertainment has everything that is left of that scene, and we replaced it with the warehouse battle.
18. Had you ever thought of making a sequel to They Call Her One Eye?
I have 8 scripts in mind, and of course a Thriller 2. Briefly, Madeleine , the revenge girl, is hired by a guerilla in a South American Banana Republic to start a revolution and clean out CIA and drug baron scum. Lots of action of course, to be shot in Columbia. Screenplay ready, low budget production still missing finance, ready to shoot spring 2002!
19. What are your favourite films and why?
They change a lot, but right now Citizen Kane, The Wild Bunch, The Third Man, The Face and La Strada are my favorites.
20. Have you anything to say to the fans of the movie?
I hope you enjoy the re-release of Thriller and look for more from me soon!
Support the launch of this 1972 delayed release rocket so that the public can see also BREAKING POINT and a THRILLER 2 next christmas.