Riccardo Freda was an Italian film director. He was born to a Neapolitan family. He left studies in Milan in 1933 and entered the Experimental Center for Cinematography and he soon began work as a screenwriter for directors like Goffredo Alessandrini and Raffaello Matarazzo. 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 being inspired by the literary classics of Hugo and Pushkin. Unlike other directors of the period like Mario Bava and Antonio Margheriti, Freda had worked with high budgets and obtained egregious results. Freda's Sins of Rome was one of the first Italian peplums, predating Steve Reeves's "Hercules" by four years, and his classic Giants of Thessaly 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 directing several spy films, spaghetti westerns, historical dramas and World War II actioners.