HEAVY MIDNITES: Axe & Kidnapped Coed Double Feature (w/ Dir. Frederick Friedel in person!)

Prints Courtesy Of Harry Novak/Box Office International and Severin Films.

One of the most famed mysteries from the exploitation underworld exposed! Before disappearing from the film world for nearly 30 years, writer/director Frederick R. Friedel crafted two low budget hits that rocked the drive-in circuit. And in one of those HOLYFUCKINGSHIT / ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME opportunities, the outsider auteur is flying in to screen his movies in 35mm plus discuss the insane stories behind his enigmatic career. Trust us, this will be a night to dismember.

AXE

Razors! Rape! REVENGE! Perfectly balanced in the Cinefamily sweet spot between arthouse and grindhouse, Axe is a perverse blast of chintzy, art-horror realism that no one eulogizes, but everyone should. In other words, it’s one of the best kept secrets in vintage exploitation. Lisa and her paralyzed grandfather live in a desolate Gothic home. A few rapist-killers stop by for a visit. Guns are waved. Demands are made. Everyone acts like a stoned extraterrestrial. Then, Lisa grabs her AXE! Towing a fine line between affecting techniques and disorientating mood, Axe is an amalgam of gritty, exploitive joy. It’s like the Overlook Hotel from The Shining was relocated to the town from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, then given a makeover by Jean Rollin. With lots of synths. Crafted with confidence by director Frederick Friedel and produced by sleaze kingpin Harry Novak, Axe is one of the most notable and unique obscurities in the wild ‘n wooly Video Nasty canon.

Dir. Frederick R. Friedel, 1977, 35mm, 72 min.

KIDNAPPED CO-ED

Decades ago an unforgettable film came not from Hollywood, but from the Carolinas — one in which star-crossed lovers are sullied by sexual sadism, in which hayseed sincerity is tarnished by pitch black humor, and Rockwellian idylls are rife with grisly crime. No, not Blue Velvet; ten years before Lynch patented his blend of naive noir, Frederick Friedel birthed Kidnapped Co-Ed. Jack Canon (a perfect Clint Eastwood/Harry Dean Stanton hybrid) hijacks heiress Leslie Ann Rivers for her daddy’s money, but a disturbing detour leads the unlikely couple deep into the heart of darkest America, where unspeakable thrills await. Friedel’s Stockholm Syndrome fairytale is incandescent with unthinkable images, uproariously (and intentionally) funny dialogue, heartbreaking romance and irresolvable mystery; that it doesn’t enjoy Twin Peaks-level fame is a crime worse than kidnapping.

Dir. Frederick Friedel, 1976, 35mm, 76 min.