Tuesday, February 15, 2011
R.I.P. David F. Friedman
A giant and important figure in cinematic history has died. David F. Friedman, producer and distributor of several exploitation films since the 1940s, has died of heart disease. He was 87.
Whether you love or hate exploitation films, there's no denying how important Friedman was in the world of low budget, independent cinema. He was a charming and smart huckster of what many would label trash films or sleaze. He was responsible for movies such as SHE-FREAK (1967) BLOOD FEAST (1964) and TWO THOUSAND MANIACS (1965) both films which ushered in the subgenre of splatter films. Other standout titles he produced: TRADER HORNEE (1970) JOHNNY FIRECLOUD (1975) THAR SHE BLOWS! (1968) and THE EROTIC ADVENTURES OF ZORRO (1975) He was a vital force behind sexploitation movies and the "nudie-cutie" pictures that flourished in the late 50s to the mid 60s. He was a pioneer and a wise old businessman who got his start by working in the carnival business. He was a close pal of Russ Meyer and together they fought puritanical censorship against their productions. My friend, filmmaker Lee Gordon Demarbre, met Friedman in L.A. years back after Meyer died and together they toasted a drink in his memory.
A notorious film he was behind was the 1975 epic ILSA: SHE WOLF OF THE SS! which starred busty Dyanne Thorne as a dominatrix Nazi running a brutal war camp.
Friedman even got in front of the camera. A notable appearance was his cameo in the 1984 skin flick BLONDE HEAT: THE CASE OF THE MALTESE DILDO starring Seka.
Below is a video that is a nice way to remember the man.