Sunday, April 18, 2010

Thriller A Cruel Picture

R1 USA



There's absolutely no question that a film like Thriller isn't for all tastes (in fact, if you have any doubts about viewing this film, it's probably best just to stay away), but given the fine job Don May and the crew at Synapse Video have done in restoring this relatively obscure Swedish exploitation revenge flick, this release stands as a prime example of everything that is great about the versatile DVD format. From the pristine transfer to the informative bonus materials and killer packaging, May and company have truly hit and gone above and beyond to assure that this is the definitive release of Bo A. Vibenius' cruel masterpiece. The feature is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, and though there is some grain throughout the presentation the image is virtually flawless. With no detectable edge enhancement or digital artifacting, even color balance, and spots on skin tones, it's truly remarkable that this film looks as good as it does on this disc. Audio is offered in both original Swedish and alternate English Dolby Digital Mono, and both tracks offer solid mixes with little distortion or hiss. If viewers are tempted to bypass the original Swedish audio in hopes of avoiding the task of reading subtitles, they should be forewarned that the English subtitle track actually contains a much more informative and accurate translation of the original Swedish dialogue. Even if viewers do choose the English dialogue track, it is highly recommended that they also activate the English subtitle track to have a better understanding of both the plot and the motivations of our murderous heroine. Of course a solid visual presentation is only the beginning, and the folks at Synapse have also seen fit to include an abundance of bonus materials. The fact that they included any extras at all on the release of such an obscure film is already commendable, but in actually taking the time to reconstruct an alternate ending from rare vault materials and detailing an entire sequence that was destroyed in the lab through still images, one truly begins to sense Synapse's dedication to this release. Original television and theatrical trailers offer advertising for both the original film and the alternate version (luridly titled Hooker's Revenge), and an outtake reel offers not only an abundance of ultra-slow-mo mayhem but a jarringly graphic alternate take of the film's infamous eyeball-gouging scene that will have viewers peering nervously through their fingers. Fans of lovely Thriller star Christina Lindberg will no doubt jump at the opportunity to get "In Bed With Christina" in a candid and revealing photo gallery, with additional "Advertising and Promotion," "Deleted Fight Scene," and "Production Photos" making for a wealth of great images from both the set and behind the scenes. In addition to the aforementioned scene reconstruction and outtake reel, viewers can also watch the "Movie in Pictures" feature that recaps the entire film through a series of still images before checking out filmographies for both director Vibenius and star Lindberg. Thriller may not be an easy film to watch, but thanks to the folks at Synapse, it's at least easier to find for those who wish to seek it out -- and a solid addition to the collection of the adventurous exploitation fan.

Features
New 16:9 anamorphic transfer (1.78:1)
Uncut, uncensored version
Original Swedish-language and English dub options
Optional English subtitles
Extensive still galleries of rare behind-the-scenes photos, including many candid nude photos of Christina Lindberg on the set
Original TV spot and theatrical trailers
Outtakes
Alternate Harbor Fight sequence reconstructed from rare vault materials
Thriller: A cruel lab mistake - Rare photos detailing an unused fight sequence ruined by the film lab during production
"Thriller: The Story in Pictures"
Actor/director filmographies
Chapter selections

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