Audio Interview: Frederick R. Friedel on the Making of 1974’s AXE…and the Upcoming Remake!

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STYD sits down with filmmaker Frederick R. Friedel to discuss his arty exploitation movie classic AXE.

Director Frederick R. Friedel was only 24 when he pooled his resources to make his first feature, a gory psychodrama about a gang of thugs hiding out in a farmhouse and brushing up against a seriously mentally ill girl (Leslie Lee) armed with an axe. Released in 1974 as LISA, LISA, the film – which was shot in North Carolina on an invisible budget – was eventually licensed to notorious exploitation producer and distributor Harry Novak, along with Friedel’s second film THE KIDNAP LOVERS. Novak re-titled the picture AXE (and the companion film became KIDNAPPED COED) and it was widely distributed in domestic and overseas markets in 1977 and performed rather well. It even eventually landed on the legendary UK “Video Nasties” list of banned films.

Check out the awesome trailer:

Of course, Friedel didn’t see a dime from the deal and, after Novak went bankrupt and took his library with him, Friedel licked his wounds and moved on.

Years later, Novak licensed much of his library to venerable exploitation label SOMETHING WEIRD VIDEO (along with KIDNAPPED COED) and the movie became a big seller for the company.  It was via SWV that AXE truly became the cult classic it was destined to be.

Now, decades later, David Gregory’s Severin Films connected with Friedel and, after a few fantastic turns of fate, have released both AXE and KIDNAPPED COED on Blu-ray. The double feature streets this coming Tuesday and comes loaded with Severin’s typically awesome supplemental documentary features.

To celebrate this monumental trash movie occasion, we reached out to Friedel for this incredible interview, where the filmmaker talks about making movies on the fringe and even reveals much about the in-progress AXE remake!

Sit back, relax, rest your hatchet and have a listen…