David F. Friedman
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Friedman first became interested in entertainment after spending parts of his childhood in Birmingham and Anniston, Ala. traveling carnival sites. He met exploitation film pioneer Kroger Babb during his stay in the Army. This encounter got him interested in films. Working as a regional marketing man for Paramount he sensed the money in independent distributing and started his own company in the 1950s. His company mainly produced so-called Nudie Cuties, films such as Goldilocks and The Three Bares shot in nudist colonies being the closest thing to pornography legally available back then. This trend was followed by the sexploitation and "Roughie" genres, depicting simulated sex with a more violent edge, often horror- or crime-related. Examples of Friedman's roughies are The Defilers (1965), The Lustful Turk (1968), The Head Mistress (1968) and The Adult Version Of Jekyll and Hide (1971, directed by Byron Mabe). Helming one of those movies Friedman started his working relationship with Chicago based teacher and film maker Herschell Gordon Lewis.
Friedman went on to produce the latter's 1963 film Blood Feast, an American exploitation film often considered the first "gore" or splatter film. He was also the producer of two of the first Nazi exploitation films, Love Camp 7 (1969) and Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS (1974), for which he refused to use his real name and was credited as Herman Traeger.
With the advent of hard core porn as a commercial factor in the mid 70s Friedman began to slow down his output. His work ethic "Sell the sizzle not the steak" would not comply with actual intercourse shown on screen. Still he was president of an organization of Adult Film Makers.
In the early 1990s Seattle's Something Weird Video, owned by Mike Vraney, started to re-issue the work of David Friedman, getting him the attention of a new generation exploitation and b-movie collectors. He can be heard on the audio commentary track of some of the company's releases. In 2000, Friedman was featured alongside cult filmmakers Roger Corman, Doris Wishman, Harry Novak and others in the documentary SCHLOCK! The Secret History of American Movies, a film about the rise and fall of American exploitation cinema.
Friedman died on February 14th 2011 at the age of 87.