I have inadvertently been watching a lot if revenge flicks over the last couple of months, and not those of the overcoming underdog variety where the geek gets the girl, although there have been a couple of those too. I'm talking about the down and dirty rapey variety with innocents being pushed over the edge. The ones where the victim becomes the aggressor, and makes her abuser pay tenfold for his crimes. Yes folks, I'm talking about some of the hardest exploitation films to watch, and not because they ate badly made. Within the last month I jar watched both I Spit On Your Grave(original and new release) and Last House On The Left. Two important genre films I had avoided for so long due to subject matter, but finally brought myself to watch lately due to a girlfriend's love of horror and to get it over with. Neither were as horrid as I had heard, and I'm kind of glad I got them out of they way just for conversation value in the future. That conversation is for another time and place because this post is about a movie I wandered upon without putting it into the same closet with the previous revenge flicks. I had been watching Grindhouse trailers on Youtube, as I do quite a bit, and came upon the exploitation/ruffie/revenge masterpiece They Call Her One Eye(1974) aka Thriller: A Cruel Picture, but I like the first title better. It just screams 70's trash. I can't really lump One Eye with the previous mentioned movie because even though it was similar in subject matter, stylistically and direction wise it blows the other two out of the water. It was actually a well made exploitation piece.
They Call Her One Eye is the story of Friga, a young, country girl who has a bit of an issue with her communication skills. You see, Friga is mute due to a traumatic encounter with a scary old bum 15 years previous. Her parents have spent their entire life and funds doing everything they could to help Friga get past the pain, but nothing seems to work, including regular therapy sessions in the city (I'm assuming it's Stockholm). When Friga misses the bus to therapy one day, she is picked up by a sharp-looking playboy who goes by the name of Tony. Upon arrival into the "City", our young lech has convinced the extremely silent Friga out to an expensive dinner and drinks, which lowers the trauma vitims shields to the point where she agrees to go back to his ultra-modern bachelor pad for a nightcap. What she doesn't know is that Tony's intentions aren't very good, as the mickeyed glass of wine he feeds her will attest. When Friga wakes up a couple days later, she is a bit angry to find out that Tony has not only been feeding her heroin, but also has big plans to force her into prostitution. Unfortunately for her first John, Friga isn't going down without a fight, and mangles the old pervert's face like a feral cat. Of course, this makes Pimp-In-Charge Tony a bit mad, so he takes out his frustration on her left eye, rendering her broken with an eye patch and no depth perception. On top of that, she has also been forced heroin so many times during the "breaking" process that she has become a junkie. How will she ever get out of this one?
Thankfully, all One Eye needs is saved cash tips and one day a week, over time, to train in Badassery. With a little judo, defensive driving and firearm instruction Tony and all her abusers are about to find out that you can only push someone so far before they come back at you with a sawed-off shotgun!
I got a lot more out of One Eye than I thought I was expecting. As I said before, it was actually a well made movie with a decent storyline and direction. The acting could have been better, but considering that most of the cast were sex filmed trained, it held up. I was especially impressed with the use of ambient and synthetic noise in the background used in place of actual dialog throughout most of the movie. Whoever scored this movie did a great job of portraying terror on film. I could actually feel myself getting anxious during the high tension scenes, and that doesn't happen very often.
One thing you have to remember is that this film is Swedish and from the 70's. If you don't know what that means I'll tell you in two words.....full penetration scenes. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill American exploitation overrun with breast and boob shots, we're talking full on fucking, even if a stunt dick and vagina were used. It was still the real thing, which is what Swedish Cinema in the 70's was known for. So if you get freaked out by real sex on film, They Call Her One Eye is not for you.
The film also could have saved itself 10 to 15 minutes on the duration if less slo-mo was used. I understand that the slow motion helped with dramatic impact and action sequences, but it got to be a little too much at times. It was like that long, drawn out joke in every episode of Family Guy. The joke that goes on for two more minutes than it needs to just to annoy the audience. This is how I felt through at least one action sequence.
All and all, I got something I wasn't expecting while watching One Eye, a good movie. If you crave something more from your exploitation than boobs, gore, and Pam Grier, I would recommend it in a second. If sex on film scares you, don't bother. If you love bad-ass women with eye patches, go for the gold!!