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Date with a Kidnapper
Date with a Kidnapper (1976)
  • Director:
    Frederick R. Friedel
  • Category:
  • Writer:
    Frederick R. Friedel
  • Cast:
    Jack Canon,Leslie Rivers,Gladys Lavitan
  • Time:
    1h 16min
  • Budget:
  • Year:
A woman living in a boarding house is kidnapped by a small-time criminal. Soon others in the gang try to take her away from him so they can get the ransom.
Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Canon Jack Canon - Eddie Matlock
Leslie Rivers Leslie Rivers - Sandra Morely (as Leslie Ann Rivers)
Gladys Lavitan Gladys Lavitan - Mrs. Matlock
Larry Lambeth Larry Lambeth - Hotel Clerk
Jim Blankinship Jim Blankinship - Bellhop
Charles Elledge Charles Elledge - Old Farmer
Susan McRae Susan McRae - Daughter
Bob Martin Bob Martin - Man with Shotgun
Clonnie Baxter Strawn Clonnie Baxter Strawn - Old Man in Chair
Skip Lundby Skip Lundby - Blindman
Elizabeth Allan Burger Elizabeth Allan Burger - Birdwatcher - Lady Lush
Nancy Pselos Nancy Pselos - Blonde Barfly
Rusty Smith Rusty Smith - Redheaded Barfly
Buck Kraft Sr. Buck Kraft Sr. - Bartender
Mrs. Buck Kraft Sr. Mrs. Buck Kraft Sr. - Old Barfly

Date with a Kidnapper (1976)

Frederick R. Friedel wrote the role of Eddie Matlock specifically for Jack Canon to play.

Leslie Rivers was the last actress interviewed for the part of Sandra.

The cast wore their own clothes.

Leslie Rivers flew in from New York to act in this film.

The phone booth seen throughout the movie was hauled around in a pickup truck.

Frederick R. Friedel dedicated this film to his father Adolph, who was dying at the time when this movie was made.

Don't go into KIDNAPPED COED expecting sleazy no-budget bad film ineptitude. Frederick R. Friedel's terse, bizarre, dream-like 76-minute kidnapping-gone-wrong programmer is something of a mini-exploitation-masterpiece. It plays more like an art film, with carefully-framed tracking shots and compositions, focused on building atmosphere and silence rather than action and dialogue, and all sorts of little touches that could only come from the hands of an accomplished auteur with imagination to spare, not a talentless hack. On the minus side, the ending kinda leaves you hanging and wanting for more, and Leslie Ann Rivers' co-ed character is less fleshed out or convincing than John Canon's mummy's boy kidnapper. Canon is like the poor man's Nic Nolte--lotsa facial tics and jittery acting, but it works. If KIDNAPPING COED treads creakingly familiar path, Friedel's innovative direction turns it into something else entirely and makes it worth treasuring as a hidden gem. Cinematographer Austin McKinney also shot Friedel's AXE, the trash classic THE LOVE BUTCHER and Jack Hill's PIT STOP.
This films original title must be "the kidnapper" for the title credit reads "John Canon as", then cut to "kidnapped co-ed". LOL! Anyway, the film runs like a little independent film than a sex/exploitation film. Canon kidnaps a young redhead gal for ransom. But they encounter strange people who want them dead for some strange reason (reasons unanswered). Little violence, rape (but no nudity) might be cut for TV. There is hardly any talk and a lot of padded scene, so the script must be 30 pages long. Watch for early performance by Larry Drake. I don't know why exploitation film company Boxoffice international (well known for X to hard "R" films) pick this film up for there is no nudity or much in this film. Some good scene and the two leads are no bad in what little script offered to them.
(Potential Spoilers)

This is a very strange movie from the same director as the equally strange Axe. In some ways, it resembles other grim, depressing early 70's drive-in fare (like The Candy Snatchers) with its casual abuse of young women, "heroes" who are only sympathetic or likeable relative to the even more sleazy characters surrounding them, and general aura of misanthropy and malaise. This movie, however, takes a strange romantic turn halfway through that may be completely implausible but at least washes away the bad taste left in your mouth by some of the earlier scenes (especially a mean-spirited rape scene). And, unlike Axe or The Candy Snatchers this movie has an honest-to-god, if rather surreal, happy ending. Recommended, if your into this sort of thing.
Despite some fairly decent acting and cinematography, this movie has plot holes you can drive a truck through. These guys at this hotel must just wait around for someone to check in with a woman for them to rape, as there is no other discernible motive for them coming to the room. Even after she tells them that she's the daughter of a rich man, they aren't interested in earning a reward by rescuing her, or kidnapping her themselves as far as the audience is told.

Then there's the amiable old farmer that puts the kidnapper and the girl up for the night. At first he seems to be the first truly decent person seen in this film, then, for no apparent reason, he's a psycho. First, he spies on the lovers at night and is holding a knife. You're waiting for: A. One of them to notice the old psycho pervert with a knife. B. The old psycho pervert to use the knife. C. The old psycho pervert to decide against doing anything and slink away. You don't get any of this, the scene just changes to morning, inexplicably. Then the old guy comes at the kidnapper with a pitchfork. Why? I sure can't tell. He continues to attack the kidnapper who draws a gun and gives the old guy every chance to stop attacking. When the kidnapper is finally forced to kill the old farmer, the girl goes all hysterical about him being a murderer and runs away! What was he supposed to do? Let the psycho farmer impale him on the pitchfork?

Also there's some question about what happens in the final scene. I can't really elaborate without giving away the so-called 'surprise ending', but the DVD calls the scene "Dance of Death", which leads you to wonder if any death actually took place, because, if it does, you don't see it.

I watched this hoping for a good, old-fashioned exploitation sleaze film, and it wasn't that, but it wasn't good either. Make of that what you will.
John Canon and Leslie Rivers...what a pair! These two unsung decent actors had surprisingly convincing chemistry between them. They both made this movie that much more tolerable as did the excellent cinematography and the well conveyed moody atmosphere. The story is well-tread and predictable and the incidents too few for the movie's timeframe. As a result, we have a movie that drags on with its poigniant moments of developing love between kidnapper and abductee fizzling to an ignorable drone. What's remarkable is how society in this picture is portrayed as uncaring and ugly: an old man sits on a bench looking on as blood curdling shrieks emit from the window of the hotel where Leslie River's character is being raped. Other incidents of violence occure while passers-by either go about their own business or wish not to be disturbed. At one point, while running from her abductor, Rivers pleads with a wandering man for help but he can't do anything as he is blind. The surroundings being filled with useless or evil people creates a feeling of helplessness. Finally, the picture ends as it does (I wont spoil) and mercifully so as it tends to go on a bit too long and instead of "THE END" we see "FOR ADOLPH". What the hell does that mean? Hitler? Probably not, but still, one of those mysteries that makes a movie that much more special.
Oh, Jeepers, watching this one might actually lower your I.Q. a bit. Ten years ago I rented this on VHS under the title "House of Terror", I expected a low-budget 70's horror film, I also expected a specific house along with a specific terror, what I would find would leave me speechless... until now.

On the surface, it may appear that House of Terror's one and only counterpart, California AXE Massacre is the inferior product. That theory is soon challenged and eventually torn to shreds, the utter ineptness of this sleazy tale could be compared to that of a more humorous, less tragic mistake, the legendary Blood Freak, or even Blood Shack... well, then again, maybe it's not all that bad. Meet Eddie & Sandra, what an awkward pair, this guy thinks he can just up and kidnap some rich guys daughter for ransom and make some easy money, think again fella, this is Exploitation Country, he's gonna earn that money. You would think that Sandra's father would make some sort of trouble for Eddie but he doesn't seem too stressed about the whole thing, that would make too much sense anyway. Among other things, Everyone that our twosome encounter on their slow-paced journey around Charlotte, N.C either wants to hurt, rape, or kill them, kind of like in the Doom Generation, but without the third party to make things interesting. House of Terror flaunts a mean spirited theme from the beginning, Eddie now takes his young hostage to a nearby hotel where some bad guys posing as the hotel clerk & bellboy bust in, of course Sandra thinks shes been rescued, wrong, they're only there to rape her, so they do, while Eddie if forced to watch, we get the idea from his reaction that he's not all bad. Any alleged storyline is ditched at the hotel. At this point it seems this movie just stops caring what anyone thinks of it, 5 minutes of silence at a time being just one example, I guess everyone just ran out of ideas, but I really think this film is mostly about Friedel confusing the hell out of us. Certain facial expressions and phrases uttered just seem a little off to me. Finally, when things start to make sense, out pops Dr. Giggles ! Great, thats all we need. Why him why not the Blood Stalkers ? Hell, why not that 30 year old kid from Burial Ground ? I'll bet little Michael could've really spiced up this shin dig, Instead we get this early 90's garbage. Good thing this movie is for Adolph because no one else would know quite what to do with it. All sarcasm aside, I actually kinda dug House of Terror, it's what underground film-making is all about, making your movie the way YOU want, regardless of how pointless or unredeeming it might turn out, and so what if each viewing lower's your I.Q a bit. House of Terror also has that "Rare, unintentional dream-like quality" that money could never and will never buy. They should be playing little obscurities like this on TCM Underground, I mean, Russ Meyer is OK but if you wanna go underground, then do it right. Besides all that, Sandra is Kinda hot, plus, there are some pleasant N.C country locations too, looks like a pleasant place to film a little exploitation gem such as this. That santa claus guy was entertaining with his breakdown and whatnot. Any humor or B-charm that this film might possess is most likely unintentional and I wouldn't have it any other way. OK, so what were looking at here is unintentional humor, possibly unintentional confusion, plenty of silence & awkward moments, one whopper of a low-budget, and almost no closure, I get it, but come on !! Adolph deserves better.
Kidnapped Coed (1976)

* 1/2 (out of 4)

Criminal Eddie Matlock (Jack Canon) kidnaps Sandra (Leslie Rivers) so that he can hold her for ransom and get a major pay-down from her rich father. A couple goons have other ideas but Eddie and Sandra hit the road where their adventure leads them to a strange farm house.

KIDNAPPED COED is the second feature from director Frederick R. Friedel. As with his first film AXE, this one here was made in North Carolina on an obviously low-budget but unlike that film, this one here really doesn't have too much going for it. I say this because like that film this one here doesn't have too much of a story but while AXE was rather weird in its own way, this one here just plays out like a no-budget version of BADLANDS.

I will say that the best thing going for the film are the performances by Canon and Rivers. I thought both of them were quite good in their parts and it's really too bad that there wasn't more of a story for them to act in. For the majority of the running time the two are sitting, standing or laying around and talking about subjects that don't really move the plot and instead are just downright boring. At 75 minutes the film seems double that and by the time the ending comes you're already out of it.

I will say that other than the performances there is a really campy moment that happens towards the end with a farmer. I'm not going to spoil it but the dialogue and acting had my laughing extremely hard.
You would never guess that "The Kidnapped Coed" clocks in at a mere 76 minutes. At times, it seemed like an eternity.

I would like to state that I am definitely not someone who needs violent action or gratuitous nudity every few minutes in a movie. However, I do enjoy some dialogue every once in a while. The dramatic pauses in "Kidnapped Coed" are long enough that you could take a solid nap during one. It gets awfully boring sitting around for a full two minutes looking at the main characters and waiting for one of them to actually say something. With tighter editing, this film could have been cut down to about half an hour and none of the plot would have been lost.

"Kidnapped Coed" is about the following: Man kidnaps young woman. He holds her for ransom. Woman falls in love with kidnapper. They spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing.

The only positive thing I can really say about this little flick is that it has surprisingly good cinematography. A couple of the shots were very nicely set up. Too bad the rest of the film lacked that quality. 2/10
Kidnapped Coed (1976) Synopsis: Sarah is leaving her boarding house when she a petty hood kidnaps her and holds her for ransom. But the inept crook has to defend his meal ticket from other criminals wanting her for the ransom and some of the most random attacks imaginable. Thoughts: Man "Coed" really needs to be seen to be believed. The silly script rely almost solely on random circumstance to the point of hilarity. You feel sorry for the kidnapper in the end because the guy never catches a break. Thugs, murderous farmers and the odd robbery leaves this guy constantly in the wrong place at the wrong time. The woman is about as lucky as the thug only dumber blowing off a million ways to get to safety. And what's with the phone booths all out in the middle of nowhere? Like I said. Something else. (Stars: Jack Canon, Leslie Rivers, Gladys Lavitan, Larry Lambeth, Jim Blankinship) Dir...Frederick R. Friedel) (DVD) Film Rating: 2/5) (Fun Rating: 4/5)
The first thing you're drawn to is the camera work. It looks and feels like a movie that is well beyond its low budget. Very nice. Then there's the lead actor, Canon. He does a very good job and I was stunned to see he didn't do much more. Too bad.

The opening 15 minutes or so are great but it's after the incident at the hotel with the two criminals it starts to go downhill. It's not because of the story either. It's the REALLY drawn-out scenes of little dialogue which involve Canon or others "waiting" to act. At first I kind of dug it because it seemed to give the film more of a realistic feel. But there came a point where this was happening more and more to the point of feeling like nothing more than filler. The editing could have been much tighter and would have greatly benefited the film.

But the biggest beef I have I guess is the inconsistency with the two leads' characters. Their actions, at times, seemed to turn on a dime with no justification. I could see how it was possible for each of them to end up the way they did but the journey we're shown doesn't do that effectively.

As has been posted before the two criminals in the hotel early on are not explained. I was willing to overlook this until the old man that lets Canon & Rivers into his home suddenly went apeshirt and tried to kill them. At that point the fault has to be placed on Friedel for not giving us even a hint as to the reasons these people were doing what they were doing. I don't mind filling in the blanks sometimes with my imagination but on a project like this I shouldn't have to invent back stories for half the cast.

It's worth a curious look for the camera work and for Canon's performance and also to imagine what this film could have been.

And for my 2 cents about the ending...it could have either been:

1) They were both killed by the gunmen (not likely, although the chapter name is Dance of Death) because the couple didn't seem to care about anything but each other since they're in love or 2) They gave up the car keys to the gunmen not caring about the money since they are now in love. Their love and the future they have together is much more important to them than the money (most likely to be the reason). Not wanting to lose that, I'm sure they gladly gave up the car and the money.

As mentioned in another post it's the second half of a double feature from Something Weird Vido with some great trailers as extras. The first film of the double feature is HITCH HIKE TO HELL and that's a complete gas to watch from start to finish. FUN!
You would never think that a movie with a name such as "Kidnapped Coed" would be so..well..boring. But, it is. There are long stretches where absolutely nothing happens! I actually shouted at the screen several times, "DO SOMETHING!" and I'm not usually that agitated. This had so much sleaze potential and it bypassed all of its opportunities. There is a violent rape scene in the first 15 minutes, but it's ineptly staged and filmed in a slapdash manner.

Several other drawbacks: the girl is plain, to be kind and there is no nudity (It may have been cut-out, but I doubt it). There's also many odd plot devices which make no sense whatsoever.

I will say that the photography is excellent and the actor that plays the kidnapper is a fairly decent thespian. The subplot regarding his trying to relate to his mother in a nursing home oddly resonated with me since I've had some experiences with my own mom. I hate myself for tearing up during "Kipnapped Coed"!
Mr Freeman
Mr Freeman
Cynical small-time criminal Eddie Matlock (an intense and credible performance by Jack Canon) abducts teenage girl Sandra Morely (a solid and sympathetic portrayal by pretty redhead Leslie Rivers). However, things don't go as smoothly as planned after a series of unusual and unexpected complications ensue.

Writer/director Frederick Friedel, who previously gave us the singular "Axe," once again does his customary bang-up job of crafting a uniquely bleak and brooding atmosphere, relates the absorbing story at a deliberate pace, maintains a harsh grim tone throughout, makes nice use of seedy rundown locations, and starkly exposes the seamy underbelly that exists right beneath the surface of heartland America. Moreover, Friedel's fascinating depiction of a cruel and brutal world populated by deliciously deranged and dangerous secondary characters gives this picture an additional jarring edge: The random encounters with such folks as a sleazy rapist motel clerk and his equally slimy bellhop cohort, a demented pitchfork-wielding farmer with a catatonic daughter, and an unfriendly and unhelpful blind man rate as striking moments of inspired lunacy. Larry Drake pops up in a small role as a nursing home attendant. Austin McKinney's sharp cinematography and the groovy percussive score by John Willhelm and George Newman Shaw are both up to speed. Exploitation cinema fans looking for something different should dig this one.
I saw this film under the alternative title of "Kidnapped Coed" and apparently the film has been re-titled quite a few times, but no matter what the title they slap on the film, you're in for the same slowly-paced film about a daughter of a rather wealthy family being kidnapped for ransom, finding love, other criminals after the pair for no reasons given, and general weirdness. It's pretty well0filmed, but the story goes nowhere. And it goes nowhere at a snail's pace I might add. More likely to induce sleep as opposed to actually entertainment. This yawner may be great for insomniacs, but not for anyone else. Thoroughly unconvincing and ridiculously stupid at the same time.

My Grade: D-

Something Weird DVD Extras: 3 shorts: "the Hitch-Hiker", "Dangerous Strangers" & "the Cautious Twins"; A 27 minute tour of Box office International with Harry Novak circa 1992; Gallery of exploitation art with accompanying soundtrack (5 minutes, 19 seconds); 2 Theatrical trailer (one under it's alternative title of "Kidnapped Coed" and the other retitled "Kidnapped Lover"); and trailer for "Hitch Hike to Hell" (which is also featured on the DVD)
I just rented a "Something Weird" Double Feature DVD.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0140174/ Hitch Hike to Hell (1977) and Date with a Kidnapper. (SPOILERS)

BAD BAD BAD. Horrible harsh lighting, static boring acting, lame still static camera-work. Phony acting except for the mother, the cop who was played by Russell Johnson ( The professor on Gilligans Island) and one of the victims mother. A Norman Bates type is mad that his sister ran away from home- so he murders runaway teens on the highway. I tried to find it so bad it was funny- just BAD.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077401/ Date with a Kidnapper (1976) Another Kidnap movie- but this one was WAY better. Clean color- VERY good camera work (nearly every shot was on a dolly). Eddie Matlock, a guy who looks like a cross between Ted Bundy and Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) kidnaps a dorky college girl. He hides her in a sleazy motel- then 2 other unrelated gangsters come in and rape her.

someone on IMDb said: "A woman living in a boarding house is kidnapped by a small-time criminal. Soon others in the gang try to take her away from him so they can get the ransom."

I don't think I agree with that- I don't think they were part of the same gang. At one point Eddie Matlock says " I don't know you!"

Some VERY cool shots. But it got bizarre when the two fall in love and wind up at a farmhouse owned by an insane ex cop who looks like Santa Claus. He comes after Eddie with a knife and he shoots Santa. Then we see Santa with a pitchfork in him (?). Then they just let 3 hoodlums take the ransom money (!)

Did the 3 hoodlums kill them?

Was the money traceable? Is that why they let the robbers have it? I didn't buy them falling in love- unmotivated.

I agree that I like the direction- the little touches like the old man ignoring the screeches.

PS- did they just abandon the mute girl at the farm?
*May Contain Spoilers*

Quiet school-girl Leslie Ann Rivers is lusted after by every man in the first part of the movie, then abducted for ransom by mean John Canon (aka Jack Canon or Jack Cannon, who also starred in Friedel's AXE.) Canon's roles were generally those of dirtballs and sadists, but this time he's not the worst character in the picture, and the KIDNAPPED COED's troubles are only beginning. As he did with AXE, Friedel treats us to many creepy, decrepit Carolina settings and bizarre, often degenerate supporting characters. One old farmer here looks and acts like an aging, maniacal Grizzly Adams; Larry Drake appears as a hulking nursing home attendant. The ending is depressing beyond belief. Now available on DVD with HITCH HIKE TO HELL, another Harry Novak hit. Between this, CONVICTS' WOMEN, THE CANDY SNATCHERS and a few others, fans of nasty kidnap pot-boilers were in Hog Heaven back in the 1970s.
An ugly girl is kidnapped and held for ransom by some mean man. When they head to a hotel, a group of bad guys hear this and try to take the girl to get the ransom money for themselves. It doesn't work and the mean kidnapper gets beaten and the girl gets raped in the process. The kidnapper flees with the girl and spends some time trying to talk to his mother who is in a nursing home. Get a load of a very young Larry Drake as the home attendant. Anyways, the girl ends up falling in love with the kidnapper and the rest of the movie just drags. The only good out of this movie is seeing Larry Drake's package through his tight jeans. Wow!! Low and behold people, the 'L.A. Law' star is indeed packing'!!!