Monday, February 14, 2011
Late word comes to us from Alabama, that exploitation film producer David F. Friedman has up and died on us.
Let the record show that an interview with him constituted one of my earliest freelance co-writing credits at the Boston Globe, the god damned article wrote itself, no one ever accused David F. Friedman of taciturnity.
In his heyday he produced timeless schlock as "Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS" and "A Kiss of Honey, A Swallow of Brine" along with many many sexploitation films of the 1960's
Along the way he formed a very fruitful creative partnership with director Herschell Gordon Lewis and having burned down the dramatic potential of nudist camp movies the two of them created the modern splatter film with their seminal horror film "Blood Feast", literally the first horror movie to make human viscera the star.
"I produced movies that made Plan Nine from Outer Space look like Citizen Kane"! He happily barked into the phone with us.
Ever seen his erotic science fiction movie "Space Thing"?
Believe me he was not kidding!
Still the man had a good ear for next big thing, "Two Thousand Maniacs" is likely his best film a nasty little prophecy of rural white backlash and a strong contender as the world's first torture porn movie.
Dave was good peeps, he was a persuasive talker with rhetorical skills honed as a carnival barker back in the 1940's, his fascinating memoirs "A Youth in Babylon" is a must read for an aspiring young film maker who couldn't care less about taking Sundance by storm.
Foolishly, I loaned my copy of the book to our then editor at the Boston Globe, likely the damn thing is still circulating the office even to this day.
One of the great crimes of film literature is that Friedman's projected second volume "The Kings of Babylon" (which mostly dealyt with his long tenure as the President of the Adult Film Association of America) still goes unpublished.
Friedman told me down at a horror film convention in Jersey that the publisher got cold feet owing to the volume's length, Dave of course, righteously refused to edit what he regarded as history.
If Channel Zero, our poor wasted marginalized (yet defiant) film franchise has a certain exploitation edge, it's because of Dave Friedman who taught us "Sell the Sizzle Not the Steak!"