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Dr. Freudstein is an undead serial killer and the main antagonist from Lucio Fulci's 1981 film The House by the Cemetery.
He was portrayed by Giovanni De Nava.
Dr. Jacob Tess Freudstein was a skilled surgeon who lived with his wife Mary Freudstein and their daughter Mae Freudstein in the secluded Oak Mansion, near New Whitby, New England in early 1800s. An accomplished scientist, Dr. Feudstein was determined to unlock the secret to immortality through his research on the degeneration/regeneration of human cells and mitosis.
Dr. Freudstein's early work on the subject, along with his questionable methods involving human experimentation, was dismissed by his fellow co-workers. In spite of this, Freudstein was able to secure some financial funding for his work on binary fission. Eventually Dr. Freudstein's work on embryonic stem cells and inner cell mass lead to his discovery of immortality. To become immortal, he would have to harvest and replace fresh organs and blood. Consumed by his obsession with obtaining immortality to the point of madness, in the early 1830s Dr. Freudstein brutally murdered his entire family, using them as the raw source material for his continued experiments. Although the Freudstein family's death was undocumented, the locals believed their deaths to be a part of the second Cholera Pandemic.
After his supposed death. Dr. Freudstein continues on his work in the basement of his former home. Perfecting his secret formula recipe. He continues to relentlessly torture and slaughters families, upstairs in his former house, one by one.
For long periods, the house is empty. Forcing Dr. Freudstein to step outside, into the cemetery, pilfering graves and sometimes harvest townspeople to survive. His body has turned into a state of living necrosis and his eyes and mouth have atrophied to mere slits.
For over 150 years, the effects of his secret formula recipe has transformed Dr. Freudstein into a supernatural being with abilities like immortality, regeneration, supernatural strength and slender walking.
Dr. Freudstein attract his victims with the voice of a sobbing, crying child. Sometimes he reveals his glowing eyes in the comfort of darkness to strike fear into his victims.
For every action, there is a reaction. Even beyond death. The spirit of Mae Freudstein reaches out to the innocent like children, warning them about the villa.
Unable to stop her husband, Mary Freudstein appears sometimes to the dead victims of her husband. Trying to guide them to safety.
In 1981, Professor Peterson's supposed mistress was found slaughtered in the villa. Right after, Prof. Peterson was found dead, hanging from a railing in the New Whitby city library. Where Prof. Peterson did his obsessive research on the villa's history and missing persons cases, going centuries back.
Prof. Peterson's wife and their two children where also missing from the villa and where never found.
A few months later, Doctor Norman Boyle, Prof. Peterson's Protege. Moves with his wife Lucy and their son Bob to the villa. Hoping to find what Prof. Peterson was working on and figure out what happened to his mentor and good friend.
How could Prof. Peterson just leave such a prestigious medical project behind so suddenly?
The obsessive and frightening changes in Prof. Peterson's paranoid behavior and rambling the last week, was confirmed by the library workers. The ongoing investigation and theories concluded that Prof. Peterson suffered from an aggressive mental deterioration condition.
Dr. Norman Boyle tries to make sense of Prof. Peterson's research in the library. He finds rare old highly controversal articles and bizarre handwritten notes on highly advanced surgery and different biofluids theories dating back to the early 1800. Most of the notes and articles are written by Doctor Jacob Tess Freudstein.
Dr. Norman Boyle finds an audio tape cassette hidden among the articles and notes marked with "Peterson private" and a audio tape recorder. The playback of the audio tape reveals the increasingly disturbed voice of Prof. Peterson of the presence of Dr. Freudstein in the villa. It haunts his dreams and Dr. Freudstein's sobbing voice tortures his mind and consumes his thoughts.
Dr. Norman Boyle belives that Prof. Peterson has gone insane, until he feels the same presence of Dr. Freudstein in the villa too.
- The movie's original shooting title was Freudstein.
- Doctor Jacob Tess Freudstein last name can be seen as a tribute to another famous scientist, Doctor Victor Frankenstein from Mary Shelley's classic Gothic novel from 1818 "Frankenstein: or the modern Prometheus".
- In Rob Zombie's 2003 movie House of 1000 Corpses, there is a character named Dr. Satan which is inspired by Dr. Freudstein.