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Riccardo Freda (born in Alexandria, Egypt, February 24, 1909 - died in Paris, France, December 20, 1999) was an Egyptian-born Italian film director. Best known for his horror and thriller movies, Freda had no great love for the horror films he was assigned, but rather favored the epic sword and sandal pictures. Freda's "Sins of Rome" (1953) was one of the first Italian peplums, predating Steve Reeves's "Hercules" by four years, and his classic "Giants of Thessaly" (1961) was theatrically released one year before Ray Harryhausen's famous "Jason and the Argonauts". He directed Kirk Morris and Gordon Scott in two classic Maciste films in the sixties, in addition to several spy films, spaghetti westerns, historical dramas and World War II actioners.

He never finished either of the two horror films he was assigned in the Fifties ("I VAMPIRI" and "CALTIKI"), but rather allowed his cinematographer Mario Bava to complete them. Bava's great effects work on "CALTIKI" in particular launched him on a directing career of his own in 1960. Thus many fans regard Freda as Mario Bava's mentor in the film industry.

Freda's greatest horror films were his two 1960's titles, "THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK" and "THE GHOST", both of which starred Barbara Steele, but he really enjoyed doing the adventure films a lot more. He directed Anton Diffring and the legendary Klaus Kinski in giallos later in the decade, and then slowed down in the early Seventies, inexplicably emerging from his retirement at 72 to direct one last slasher film ("Murder Obsession"). He died in 1999 of natural causes (at age 90).

Selected filmography

  • Les Misérables (1948)
  • Spartaco (Spartacus)(1953) aka "Sins of Rome"
  • Theodora, Slave Empress (1954) starring Gianna Maria Canale
  • I Vampiri (The Vampires) (1957) aka "The Devil's Commandment"
  • Caltiki - il mostro immortale (1959) aka "Caltiki, The Immortal Monster"
  • The White Warrior (1959) starring Steve Reeves
  • The Giants Of Thessaly (1961) featuring Jason and the Argonauts
  • The Mongols (1961) starring Jack Palance & Anita Ekberg
  • Samson and the Seven Miracles of the World (1961) starring Gordon Scott as Maciste
  • The Witch's Curse (1961) aka "Maciste in Hell", starring Kirk Morris as Maciste
  • Seven Swords for the King (1962) starring Brett Halsey
  • L' Orribile Segreto del Dr. Hichcock (The Horrible Dr. Hichcock) (1962) starring Barbara Steele & Robert Flemyng
  • Lo Spettro (The Ghost) (1963) starring Barbara Steele
  • The Magnificent Adventurer (1965)
  • Two Francis Coplan Eurospy films Coplan FX 18 casse tout/FX 18 Superspy (1965) & Coplan ouvre le feu a Mexico/Mexican Slayride (1967)
  • Death Doesn't Count the Dollars (1967) Spaghetti Western starring Mark Damon
  • A Doppia Faccia (Double Face) (1969) Edgar Wallace mystery starring Klaus Kinski
  • L' Iguana dalla lingua di fuoco (Iguana With The Tongue of Fire) (1971) Giallo starring Anton Diffring
  • Tragic Ceremony at Alexander Villa (1972) horror film about a Satanic Cult
  • L' Ossessione che uccide (Murder Obsession)(1981) aka "The Murder Syndrome", aka "Fear", aka "The Wailing"

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