Best known today as the mentor of Mario Bava, Freda is one of the strangest figures of the Euro-cult era. He made his money with a series of costume dramas in the 1950s and won a huge amount betting on the horses, as a result his subsequent films were more as a hobby than for any financial reasons. However, rather than making personal films, he seemed to spend most of his career on rather generic productions and although best remembered for his horror films, he only made three of these and two Gialli.
Unfortunately, only one of his early costume dramas seems to be available on DVD and perhaps his best known horror film L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock remains one of the most long awaited titles on English friendly DVD, but a number of his other films are available.
My reviews of:
Genoveffa di Brabante (1964) - an obscure little Medieval drama made in Spain.
Giants of Thessaly (1960) - a rather generic Peplum
Liz and Helen (1969) - a very clever thriller with Klaus Kinski
Spartaco (1953) - an early costume drama
Lo Spettro (1963) - a masterful period ghost story
Tragic Ceremony (1972) - a rather bizarre modern gothic horror
I Vampiri (1956) - the first real Italian horror movie
White Warrior (1959) - a curious Peplum style adventure set in Russia
To find out more about the director, I have also written up a short biography - Riccardo Freda
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My favourites (from what I've seen) are:
I vampiri (1956)
Caltiki - il mostro immortale (1959)
L'orribile segreto del Dr. Hichcock (1962)
Lo spettro (1963)
A doppia faccia (1969)
I've got the Freda/Bava horrror I VAMPIRI and liked it more than I thought I would
MURDER OBSESSION, not so
didn't like HORRIBLE SECRET OF DR. HITCHCOCK
I've had Murder Obsession for ages, not watched it yet!
The Horrible Dr Hichcock is my favourite of his films (indeed, one of my very favourites of the whole Italian Gothic era), but The Iguana With The Tongue Of Fire isn't too far behind - a higher class of giallo with some fine performances.
I used to have a pan'n'scan of Caltiki taped from Bravo years ago. I thought it was great. I'd love to see it again, but in a better version.
Last edited by Gojirosan; 11-26-2011 at 02:09 AM.
Really looking forward to exploring the works of Bava's mentor in HD!! I've never seen any of Freda's films before, nor do I know anything about Raro and their output but from what their website looks like they seem to specialise in Italian eurocult stuff, sounds good to me. Is their DVD output generally of decent quality? i.e. not a Vipco. Should we be expecting good things from their first BD releases? What makes Murder Obsession not so great a giallo?
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I dont really think Freda was Mario Bava's "mentor",but I could be wrong.
There are reports that Mario Bava finished I Vampiri (after Freda walked away) and also directed part of Caltiki though.
Thus supposedly getting his first chance at directing.
"The low budgets and strict shooting schedules of Italian genre film often overwhelmed directors and crews, and Bava had proven himself able at picking up the pieces. He had done so on I Vampiri, when Freda, frustrated, had walked off the set, forcing Bava to finish the film in two days. Bava had also contributed to several films as second-unit or fill-in director. In 1960, he finally made his first lone, credited foray into directing at the age of 46, La Maschera del Demonio." (Ferdy on Films)
Raro's releases are mostly top notch.
Murder obsession is a typical later Freda film,his early films are totally different from his later work in terms of style imho.
I personally prefer his early works.
From 1970 on he only directed a few movies (some he walked away from).
He was about 60 in 1970 btw,must have been about 70 years old when he directed Murder Obsession.
Riccardo Freda - IMDb
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