Thriller: A Cruel Documentary (2022) Movie Script

This is the saga of a film lover.
Once upon a time,
there was a little boy who loved films
most of all in his life,
but the love was not returned.
He saw his first movie in 1947,
when he was just 4 years old.
It was about elephants in India
and a tiger.
Extremely exciting.
Growing up, he spent
every Sunday at the movies.
One, two, three movies a Sunday.
In high school, he wrote exam work
about motion picture history
and political film influence,
like Triumph of the Will,
Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda masterpiece
for the despicable Hitler regime.
Never make the mistake to underestimate
the power of a good film.
After joining the army working
as a sergeant
with a tank squadron,
he still had his mind set on film.
The Film Lover applied to
the Swedish film school,
was tested for two weeks,
and then, "Hurrah!"
The Film Lover was accepted
as the youngest ever to join
the film school.
Only 21 years old.
Now, things started moving fast.
Film school and then assistant
to mega star
film director Ingmar Bergman
as unit manager
on Persona and Hour of the Wolf.
He worked as production manager
for other feature films,
but then the Film Lover sat down and
wrote his first feature film himself.
A heartfelt, poetic children's film
with a Beethoven soundtrack.
How Marie Met Fredrik
got positive reviews,
represented Sweden at the San Sebastian
Film Festival in Spain,
but flopped totally financially,
and our Film Lover was broke.
He had to repair his finances.
Now having responsibility for a family,
he had to figure out what to do.
Our Film Lover genius decided to write
the most commercial film ever written
with no limits.
The film was written in three days
and nights on an old typewriter.
Those were the days before computers.
Our young Film Lover's fingers
were actually bleeding
after those three days,
from not only mental
but also physical strain.
Film lover was now working as head
of the film department
at a big advertising agency,
producing commercials
for Saab Automobile.
He secured a loan and used three months
of paid overtime to produce Thriller:
A Cruel Picture.
On the 6th of October, 1972,
composer Ralph Lundsten...
Who composed the score for Thriller...
Had his birthday party.
The day after, the shooting started.
When I read this script, I
spontaneously thought
that this was something very
from what I did earlier.
Because I had thrown away
my clothes
and that I got my roles, more or less,
for my body, of course,
and I was no driven actor.
After a couple of movies,
this was still what I wanted.
I was also a cover girl doing shoots
for Penthouse
and Lui and so on.
But I felt that it was movies I thought
I wanted to keep on doing.
This was kind of a revenge I could do
on the other movies
I had done.
Because this one was so very
And I did not really reflect over the
fact that it was violent,
black and dark.
I just thought that this role suits
me great.
Because it reminded me a bit of myself
and my own life experiences.
I felt at home in the role and what
Vibenius also had noted
is that I am pretty lousy at lines.
Therefore, he made this girl mute in
the movie.
That was good for me, because
then you took away that obstacle,
so I could set focus on the
physical acting.
That I by now was very good at.
I do not think he wrote this
role for me.
Why he chose me, I think,
depends on
that I by this time was very
After all, I was the most
famous cover girl in Sweden.
I had also done Rtmanad,
a movie with one of that time's
most famous directors,
Janne Haldoff.
He created my role in a very ingenious
way, I think.
He let me practice karate.
I learned about weapon handling
and driving,
because I did not have a
driving license at this time.
In some way, I floated into the role
in a very natural way
and good way.
I became Madeleine or Frigga, that was
her name at a later time.
Christina Lindberg had been trained
for her fights by stunt coordinator
Lars Lundgren for two months
before shooting.
The thing that I was going to be
one-eyed for most of the movie
made me walk with this patch.
Not out around people, but at home,
I always had the patch
on to get used to the
distance control
that gets when you got a
patch on your eye.
Hi, my name is Bo Sunnefeldt, and I'm
a fairly new 75 year-old.
In late autumn 1972... that is almost
a half a centrury ago...
I participated in the recording of
the movie Thriller.
That I ended up there was because
I was a part of Sweden's
first stuntman group,
called Action Man Stunt Team.
Lead by a guy
named Jan Kreigsman.
Jan was very innovative
and saw a space for stuntmen
in TV and movie production in Sweden.
When it comes to the movie
the idea was that Frigga was going to
shoot me with a shotgun.
So the audience would really
get chills.
In different stunt scenes, we used a
high speed camera.
Which means you can film everything
in ultra rapid.
The fight sequences were shot
in 3,000 frames per second.
The normal action is 24 frames
per second.
This super slow motion was shot
and created with cameras unique
for that time.
The same ones used by Swedish
intelligence forces filming experiments
with missiles.
I just knew my part In this,
I had no clue on the story
in general.
I come there in the morning and
meet the guys of the film making.
They say, "We want you to stay up there
and get shot by Frigga,
and you fall down here."
It was a concrete floor.
I figured it was about
six meters high.
They probably saw that I was a bit
pale on my nose.
So they said, "Don't worry, we built it
up with empty cartons,
and he held up his hand like this.
It was over two meters high.
"So come back in an hour or so and
it will be done."
When I came there I saw that
it was not like that,
but it was like this.
And you did not want to show you were
but she probably saw I was a bit
Then they said,
"Sorry, we were out of cartons."
I was quite alone as a stuntman
in Sweden.
It was me first, then it became
Jan Kreigsman and me,
and after that,
Dan Linde came as well.
It was only the three of us, so there
were not many to choose from for Bo.
I was not so satisfied afterwards,
because I thought it looked so unreal
when you walked around in
super slow motion.
Then it came out a long snake with
blood from the mouth.
So it took forever before you
hit the ground.
I thought it was almost excessive,
but that's a matter of taste.
The film team was very small,
with young Film Lover as director
and producer, plus eleven people,
including the sound effects guy.
This was the second film in film history
to be shot
in the Swedish super 16mm format
with a modified A a ton camera.
The whole film, with
extremely short shooting time,
editing at night time,
and music produced during weekends,
was produced in 78 days
from the first day of shooting
'til the final sound mix,
and for less than 40,000 US dollars.
The blow up from 16mm
to 35mm was done
in January 1973.
Heinz Hopf was great in the film.
He was often typecast
as the bad guy, though.
There you go, little cutie.
So, here is how it looks.
You became addicted to heroin,
and not just any amphetamine,
it's the hardest
drug that exists.
You have become both physically
and mentally dependent.
If you don't get your dose, you die
within 48 hours.
But we are not getting into
trouble, right?
If you just do as I say, I will
get you your two injections a day.
The third movie I did
during my career,
I played against Heinz Hopf, and
Heinz Hopf was actually -
a very upbeat dramatist at that
A very reputable actor. But then he had a
villanious look, which fit very well,
especially in Thriller.
So that part was written
for him.
Heinz and I came along
very well and I think he
was an amazing person.
He was a good support when I made
because I did not feel I had that support
in Vibenius.
Christina Lindberg was very professional
and the best actress Film Lover
ever worked with.
She did a great job in the film,
portraying a beautiful
and strong woman
who finally overcomes her captors
without becoming evil.
Christina was driving
an original Swedish police car,
with sirens and blue flashing lights
on, all without a license,
which caused some trouble.
The thing that was a bit typical for
this movie
was that he did not cancel
the scenes
we filmed at, but all of a sudden
on the streets or any other place
simply be at our
recording location.
I especially remember one time...
We were filming outside Drottningholm,
a castle just outside of Stockholm,
and it was a scene where I was going
to slide with the police car
in a parking lot towards a small,
narrow avenue.
The photographer had laid down on
the ground,
just where I was going to stop the
car. I guess I was a good driver
at that time, anyhow.
I did not run him over.
Me, in a full uniform with
a black coat,
the gunshot, the patch on
my eye,
my whole outfit in the movie. I drive
forward, stop,
slams open the doors and take my
gunshot pointing in this narrow avenue.
I was not going to shoot, just
When I take down my gun, I see
people running for their lives.
People really ran for their lives,
and of course,
they see this Thriller character coming.
That must have been frightening.
So I understand why people were running
for their lives, really.
Then that scene was ready.
After a few days, they called from the
Police Authority in Stockholm.
They say they want me to come by
the police station,
because you have been reported for
illegal threats.
I walked up there, actually had to do
it by myself.
You could expect that Vibenius
maybe could come with me and
support me a bit at that time.
I was not so old and it was a bit of
a hard situation.
I tried to explain to them what it
was about and told them.
They actually accepted it and the
indictment was dropped.
Back at that time, I was driving
car racing
and they asked me if I could help them
drive there,
because they were not good drivers in
that matter.
And I said yes to that.
I was driving a red Opel
that would crash and I was going to
drive into a mountain.
I could not brake,
because you did not want the brake
lights to be seen,
so I drove pretty fast
going into that mountain.
All my senses wanted me to go
and it was really hard to refrain.
Then it hit hard when I drove into
that rocky knoll,
or what to name it.
It hit so hard and this thing came from
my subconscious,
"Mother," I said.
It felt like standing behind a
horse kicking
you right in your chest.
There were actually several ribs going
off, it was a hard bang.
I had a pretty strong seat belt and
there were marks.
I had bruises outside my chest and
several ribs went off.
To be absolutely clear, I say I was one
of the most skilled
in this job you call co-driver,
second driver, map reader, in
international racing competitions.
It was my job for years and
started at Saab,
and also did some freelancing
at other car brands.
Eventually, to end under the greatest
successes within the Ford Motor Company.
The two biggest victories were in 1970,
which was a 2,640 mile long rally through
Europe and throughout South America,
where we won with Hannu Mikkola,
a Finlander who later became world
champion in rally.
We also won the Safari Rally as the
first Europeans in 1972,
also on a Ford Escort.
I have also won with "Karlsson pa taket"
with Saab
in Montecarlo rally and came first
or second in all international rally,
over the whole world, I can say.
How did you get in contact with Thriller
and Vibenius?
It was them contacting me
at Ford and the reason was that I was
a celebrity
In the motor world,
a motor sport profile.
And what else he saw in me, I think
only he can answer that.
But that I had a certain driving habit
after all these thousands of miles
in high speed, and participated
in other events where I have been an
instructor, even for the police.
It was probably that he saw.
Plus, we had access to a car
that would fit in this movie,
a Ford Escort Mexico.
It's a bit curious, because we won
in '70, this London-Mexico-rally,
so Ford had a model made called
Escort Mexico,
which happened to have blue primer
and then yellow stripes all around.
An animal grip today.
Very sought for these days.
I remember it was mostly up in
the so called Rydbo woods,
von Essens marker.
I remember the place well, a gravel road.
And then I remember Christina Lindberg,
who was, of course, a beauty, with
great pleasure in every way,
and she was a national celebrity
She was a cover girl everywhere, and it
was exciting just to meet her,
to be in a movie.
I guess I was used to film through
interviews and participated
in and drove in movies for
commercial assignments.
But an acting film I had never been
commited in.
I did well, I hope, I did
what they told me to do and drove
with the car a bit, and maybe
with skids
and stuff, for the effects for the
Hi, was it you that wanted to learn to
produce a bit faster than Svensson?
Half is enough.
Christina has, of course, done
many sexy movies,
but she was never a hardcore actress.
Performers from sex shows were used
for those shots in Thriller.
I am so insecure at...
First, I became very excited for
this offer
about the film,
but I am a bit uncertain if
told you about these pornographic
clipping scenes.
I'm not sure he did.
At this time, it was quite common
that you had porn clubs where
people performed.
Professional people that had
on stage, in front of people.
And it was a quite common fact
in Stockholm, actually,
in the beginning of the 70's, and
it was one couple, Romeo and Julia,
that I think was quite
Among other things, they drove around
with a big American car
on the streets of Stockholm, where it
clearly stood "Romeo och Julia."
Anyway, Vibenius included
this couple in the clipping scenes
in Thriller.
So it's Romeo and Julia...
I guess they had other names...
Who perform
these porn scenes simply.
I was not involved in it at all.
Those scenes were intentional
from the start,
though they were actually edited out
for some territories.
The real uncut edition contains them.
The point of the explicit sex scenes
was that the viewers should find them
absolutely disgusting.
They were included to show
how degraded Madeleine gets
and the hatred she feels
for the man she finally Kills.
When I saw the film after some years,
I thought it was damn scary,
repulsive scenes, and it was so
I simply thought it was disgusting.
I heard Vibenius told so, too,
that this film was made repulsive
and disgusting for one to understand
the actions of Madeleine or Frigga
later. Why she wanted such a dreadful
revenge on her perpetrator.
I can actually...
Nowadays, I think these scenes are
very justified in the film
for one to understand her acting
I think it supplies the film...
It's simply great for the film, you
understand it better.
This eye thing has been discussed
a lot,
if it's on a real human being or not,
and I try to keep to the version
that I heard when we were filming.
Some people were there when the
scalpel was stuck into the eye.
What I heard back then was that
Vibenius thought
a doctor at one of Stockholm's bigger
Karolinska, and that they just got in a
young girl who had committed suicide.
Vibenius and this doctor agreed
that they would
record this scene during the night
at the hospital,
which was also done.
This young girl got make-up around
her eye
and they put a scalpel in the eye.
That is the version I heard back then,
which I later also got confirmed
by a reliable person
who was at the recording place when it
was done.
Film Lover used the pseudonym
Alex Fridolinski for this film.
Bo A. Vibenius was the man who won Gold
and Silver Lions in Cannes
for his Saab commercials,
and was the director
of How Marie Met Fredrik.
He has many windows in his soul
and the darkest one
is called Alex Fridolinski.
The film was produced
with extreme erotic inserts
with the intention to get banned,
but instead, it got stopped because
of the extreme acts of violence.
The film got completely banned
by the Swedish board of censors
on April 4, 1973.
According to the censorship card,
the film is, and I quote,
"coarsening and harmfully arousing."
Thriller was first screened at the
Cannes International Film Festival
in May 1973.
Our now not so young Film Lover
got a Volvo on loan from
the Volvo Gothenburg factory,
drove to the French riviera
and rented a flat in Cannes.
The success in Cannes was in great part
due to the marketing,
which, for it's time, was different
and highly effective.
With the help of the headline
"Swedish Thriller totally banned"
in Swedish and international newspapers,
we created the advertising profile
for the launch in Cannes.
All the eye patches available
in Scandinavia were bought,
11,700 of them,
with a Thriller sticker on each patch.
They were handed out
in Cannes at screenings
and in bars at night,
and after four days, there was
a huge demand for these eye patches.
They were even sold on the black market.
Two stuntmen from Stockholm
were brought down to France.
They had practiced
the street fight choreography
with a four meters fall
and a Smith & Wesson revolver
with blanks.
We were running on tables and
jumping from tables,
and onto a bar counter and trashed
It was balsa wood
and breakaway bottles, everything.
It did not last more than maybe
four minutes,
then the whole bar was beaten.
It was quite fun to drive,
so I guess it wasn't that bad,
because we were out in the sand.
They had built this bar in the
We had gathered a number
of journalists and TV teams
for an event on the Croisette,
near the beach.
All of a sudden,
two men started arguing about a broad.
A really good fight started
with nice punches and falls.
Suddenly, one man pulled out a revolver and
shot the other in the chest.
We had loaded the squibs
with a little too much blood,
but it was very effective.
The guy who was shot fell over the wall,
down on the beach,
crashing on a table.
Everyone rushed down to the beach,
where eye patches
and special Cannes brochures
were handed out.
Thanks to the special promotion, the film
was the talk of the film festival,
almost causing riots outside the cinema
where it was screened.
Film Lover had brought
a color TV and a video player,
the first VCR available in Sweden,
to Cannes.
The film was shown day
and night to international distributors.
This was the first time a film
was screened to distributors
on video in Cannes.
One morning, at 7:30,
when 99.9 percent of all people
at the Cannes Film Festival
are sleeping at that time...
Usually with a bad hangover - -
Sam Arkoff
at American International Pictures
walked in,
saw the film,
gave the best bid and bought the world
rights for theatrical distribution.
When the film opened in the USA,
it was screened in 12 movie theaters
in New York alone.
No other Swedish film
has ever achieved that.
Unfortunately, AIP didn't distribute
the original version of the movie.
They made a new version
22 minutes shorter
then the original.
This version was number 16 on
Variety's US list of top grossing films
on June 19, 1974,
grossing even more that week
than Five Easy Pieces
and The Last Picture Show.
Film Lover found
a new, exciting project,
together with composer Ralph Lundsten.
A Nordic film ballet opera saga,
called Johannes
and the Lady of the Forest.
The American producer Roger Corman
got on board and secured American film
distribution and half the budget.
Film Lover just needed to get the project
approved by the Swedish Film Board,
but a very famous actor,
who also happened to be on the board,
approved a film of his own
and left our Film Lover with
a crew but no film to shoot.
What to do, if not another banned film,
Breaking Point.
Written in two days,
shooting started on the third.
Film Lover holds the European record,
outside of the former
Communist block, of getting two
of his films banned.
Then Vibenius contacted me after
a few years,
thinking about doing Thriller
Part 2, and he brought his
clothes and something
and wanted to take pictures
of me.
I agreed to that, because I thought,
why not?
It could be fun to continue filming.
But after that, I actually did not hear
from him.
I don't know what happened.
Today our very old Film Lover
is sitting on eight,
in his mind, great scripts.
One which is a follow up of Thriller.
The condensed story is
Madeleine, aka Frigga from Thriller:
A Cruel Picture,
is hired by the guerrillas
in a South American banana republic
to clean up the country
from a fascist dictator,
CIA scum and drug barons.
It's a low budget film, to be shot
on location in Colombia,
with a budget of 3.2 million US dollars.
Film Lover also has a big
budget project,
Russki Vacation, with a budget
of 42 million dollars.
It's to be shot in Eastern Europe,
probably Bulgaria.
We need a tank company
with 5,000 soldiers for a week.
Synopsis and screenplay
are available on request.
Another thing that also proves that
I really wanted the part
in Thriller was that I barely
got paid.
I got 5,000 Swedish crowns
for my performance, plus a small,
small, percentage in addition,
as I would get when the film would
make a profit.
When he went down to
the Cannes festival...
And I really should have been there...
And been in the fight on the beach
that they had, -
so by many different private reasons,
I was not.
When I said no to that,
Vibenius directly canceled
this little, small percentage that I was
going to get
from the profit of the film, but then it
might not have been so profitable.
I guess it did not matter.
Oddly enough, 43 years
after the Cannes premiere of Thriller,
our Film Lover still hasn't gotten
his money back on the film.
The Lagerlof law firm got
a super contract with AIP
with a superb percentage deal,
but not even a cent was paid out.
Film Lover checked the accounting
in the AIP headquarters in LA
and learned a lot.
There had been so many costs.
The whole company had gone
on sales trips to South America,
Cannes, et cetera.
Not even breaking even, despite
the fact that the film
was on Variety's top grossing list,
and that is why he calls himself
Sweden's most screwed film producer.
Thriller is today completely
At that time,
in the '70s, the movie was...
It was before its time in many
ways, really.
The film was not analyzed in any
way like now in later days.
Then in the beginning, in the '70s, the
feminists were very prominent
and aggressive.
It was simply a very aggressive
So that this film, I mean, it did not
suit its time.
It was wrong and before
its time, you can say.
Because nowadays, when I travel
with it, you meet a lot
of young girls that tell you they
are feminists
and pay tribute to this film.
Sometimes, I can think it is weird
that this film
Is praised just for the violence in it.
I can see that the strongest message
of the film
is that this girl is the avenger.
She is no victim,
she is a strong survivor.
I think that is the main message
of the film, actually.
In 2006, Rickard contacted me, because
there was going to be a retrospective
in Hollywood and we were going there
with some movies.
Then something happened
that did not really work out when it
came to funding for this visit,
and then Richard was so advanced,
so he contacted the secretary
to Quentin Tarantino,
told about our plans, but one chapter was
missing to get us there.
This actually ended in that Quentin
paid for my stay, and Klubb Super 8
and some people's stay in
Hollywood for a week.
At this time, I did not meet Quentin
We went back and I did not
think more about that.
In 2013, Inglourious Basterds was
premiering at a cinema in Stockholm.
Quentin Tarantino was also in
Stockholm at that moment.
And all of a sudden, my phone rings
and people from a film company said,
"Quentin Tarantino wants
you to come in to Stockholm,
because he really wants to
meet you."
The thing that is a bit comical is that
by this moment, I did not know
so much of Quentin Tarantino,
and above all not his films.
I had seen Pulp Fiction,
thought it was a violent but very
good movie.
That was the only film I had seen
by Quentin Tarantino.
And his persona I did not know much
Anyway, I packed my bag full.
I thought he wanted some autographs
and pictures,
DVDs and such.
I packed my bag full and went in to
and stepped into the Grand Hotel.
Sat down on a couch
in the lobby, waiting.
After a while, Quentin Tarantino comes
in and he says,
"Yes, that's exactly like I thought,
and he hugged me and then we sat
down and talked.
I don't really know what we were talking
But I think it was probably
mostly him that was talking.
I thought, well, maybe I am here
because he wants my autograph.
So I put out some pictures and
wrote an autograph.
Trying to figure out...
I had made a mushroom video,
a mushroom video,
and on that one, I wrote something
inventive on and said,
"This I never wrote to anyone else.
I don't think he was so
But all of a sudden, he looked at
me and said like this,
"Yes, but Christina, you might want
my autograph as well?"
Yes, of course, so I took out a DVD
of Thriller and there he wrote,
"Thanks for the inspiration,
and also an American newspaper
with an interview,
where he wrote,
"I'm your biggest fan."
By then, we wanted to take some
pictures together, but he said,
"Yes, but Christina, if you come to
the cinema
in a few hours, we could take some
pictures outside the cinema instead.
Yes, then I went forward and he took
and put his arm around me,
and he turned in every angle, and
I think we stood
there for almost ten minutes.
He made sure everyone was filming,
taking pictures,
like it was important for him in
some way.
Afterwards, I actually thought that he
wanted to give me this in some way,
to tell everyone that okay,
you might not think her films are
worth anything,
but I value them highly, and here I
stand with Christina Lindberg,
and I stand for it.
That was felt afterwards now when
I have seen a lot -
of Quentin Tarantinos films, -
so, I understand to value them in the
right way.
Film lovers happy Thriller
now get released -
in an uncut restored version
all around the world.
It is his final cut.
Love it or hate it,
he don't give a damn.