Happy New Year!
2017 was a busy, successful and very enjoyable one for all of us here at The House Of Freudstein and we’re glad that many of our postings seem to have gone down so well with you. In the past 12 months we managed seventy of those, thirty fewer than in our inaugural year but visitor numbers have trebled! Many thanks to all our friends, followers and visitors, hope you’ll stick around to see what he have in store.
There were plenty of strong releases for us to cover in 2017, including but not limited to impressive Argento and Fulci box sets from Arrow, a series of Sergio Martino’s gialli on Blu-ray from Shameless and just about everything that Severin put out… all predictably pipped for the coveted “HOF Disc Of The Year” laurel by CultFilms’ BD release of TLE’s monumental 4K Suspiria restoration. In conjunction with The Dunwich Drive-In, we presented double bill appreciations of The Incredible Shrinking Man Vs The Incredible Melting Man and (it seemed like a good idea at the time) High Rise / Kong On Skull Island. Only two Weekenders in 2017 (must do better), devoted to Antonio Margheriti and Italian Crime Slime cinema. As promised we covered more Poliziotteschi this year, but it’s to our lasting shame that the Blog remains a Spagwest free-zone. This will change soon… and not a moment too soon.
With all these discs to watch, we Freudsteins don’t generally get out much but did claw our way through The Doc’s trans-dimensional tomb-stone portal to check out Dennis Villeneuve’s much-anticipated / dreaded Blade Runner 2049, which surprised us by doing justice to its illustrious predecessor and certainly outshone the variable TV series Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, the erratic scheduling of which suggests that it wasn’t doing too brilliantly, ratings-wise. Bob also managed four days at Nottingham’s splendid Mayhem film festival in October.
Six of the eight interviews we ran this year were plucked from the extensive HOF vaults, namely those with Margheriti, Barbara Steele, Fabrizio De Angelis, Joe D’Amato, the Severin gang and Umberto Lenzi. Signor Lenzi’s characteristically grumpy presence sadly graced these pages shortly before his death and our subsequent review of An Ideal Place To Kill was a poignant tribute to both that director and its recently fallen star, Ray Lovelock. New interviews with directors Billy O’Brien (I Am Not A Serial Killer) and Steve Barker (The Rezort) appeared on the Blog after being deemed surplus to requirement at A Well Known Horror Magazine. We’re hoping to run more fresh interviews in 2018 and during January will post our exclusive audience with the most prolific writer of Italian genre cinema, Dardano Sacchetti.
So, what were our most visited postings in 2017? The Top 3 remained unchanged from the previous year. I had feared it was a little hubristic (though I did it anyway) to bill my 1992 conversation with David Warbeck as “a classic interview” but for the second year running our readers vindicated my words by patronising this piece more than any other. Amazingly, the first thing we ever posted is again in the runner-up spot, vindicating Irene Miracle‘s confidence in both my conception of the Blog and the pulling power of the interview that I’d conducted with her. House Of Freudstein wouldn’t exist without Irene’s encouragement and inspiration… thanks, Pal! The bronze medal again goes to my review of Naomi Holwill’s Me Me Lay documentary, the incidence of people typing stuff like “Me Me Lay naked in the jungle” into their search engines showing no sign of abating (masturbating, maybe, but no sign of abating…)
From a late start, our appraisal of CultFilms’ Suspiria Blu-ray erupted into fourth place. Our Howling II review managed only position 48 in 2016, but it was posted very close to the end of that year. In 2017 it rocketed to fifth place, though all the available evidence strongly suggests that this was on account of further libidinous young dudes searching for that gif of Sybil Danning whipping her tits out (which we had run purely in the interests of film scholarship, of course!) We were pleasantly surprised to find a book review at #6 though of course it was a book about a perennially notorious film (Cannibal Holocaust) by an author who tends to garner more than his own fair share of controversy (Calum Waddell). My riveting account of lunch with Lucio Fulci dropped four places to #7 and a summit meeting with another legendary pasta paura grumpy pants, Umberto Lenzi, entered the Top 10 one place lower despite only being posted in August 2017. Our ninth placed posting, a review of Sergio Martino’s Sex With A Smile, undoubtedly benefited from being tastefully entitled “Edwige Fenech Gives Mutant Nazi Sex Midget The Boner Of The Year” (more tea, Vicar?) Another Martino effort, The Strange Vice Of Mrs Wardh, completes the Top 10 in its Shameless BD incarnation, relegating their Torso DVD from the top flight along with our round-up of Spaghetti Exorcist clones and three Severin-related postings… a review of their Barbara Steele gothic triple bill BD, our round-up of several of their Jess Franco releases (which boasted a rather fetching gif of Soledad Miranda disrobing) and an appraisal of 2016’s “Disc Of The Year”, their epic Zombi Holocaust / Dr Butcher set.
Who will challenge Warbeck, Miracle and Me Me Lay in 2018? Over to you…