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, with only the “video nasty” Axe under his belt, 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. If you’re anything like us, after seeing Kidnapped Co-Ed you’ll feel personally wronged when you realize that there aren’t scores of other Friedel/Canon pictures to discover — but since we dwell in a reality where Friedel isn’t listed as a favorite director in 60% of all teenagers’ dating profiles and Canon doesn’t wear sunglasses in the first row at the Oscars, we’ll just have to suck it up and savor what we’ve been given. Friedel’s Stockholm Syndrome fairy tale 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.

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