Sweet Young Thing

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Writer/Director Frederick R. Friedel only made two movies…but they’re both exploitation classics. The first, Axe (originally titled Lisa Lisa and also shown under the titles Virgin Sacrifice and California Axe Massacre) follows the exploits of two sadistic criminals (played by Jack Canon and Ray Greene) and their reluctant cohort (Friedel himself) who decide to lam out at a farmhouse occupied by a paralyzed, catatonic grandpa and his dutiful, quiet, withdrawn granddaughter Lisa (Leslie Lee). The hoods make themselves at home…but soon learn that Lisa has alot more going on upstairs than meets the eye, and is no one to be trifled with. Axe is more than you’d expect too, with moments of lyrical beauty and strangeness that leavens the brutality of this twisted little thriller…

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Friedel’s second picture, Kidnapped Coed aka Kidnap Lover, is similar in plot to Axe (beautiful damsel in distress) and has outbursts of bloody violence…but at its core is a bit lighter and less disturbing. Jack Canon from Axe returns to play another thug, who kidnaps a teenage heiress (Leslie Rivers) for ransom. At first it’s a frightening situation…but gradually the kidnapper and the heiress form an unlikely bond and the film almost becomes a romantic comedy. I love the way Friedel plays with the cliches of exploitation cinema, almost in a nouvelle vague kind of way. He’s a true auteur and it’s a shame that he didn’t continue making films…

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