We have some sad news out of Spain this morning as prolific filmmaker Jesus "Jess" Franco has passed away at the age of 82.
The legendary filmmaker, whose staggering output of work included over 200 films in various capacities as a director, writer, cinematographer and actor, may be best known to fans as the man who brought us the 1971 erotic vampire opus VAMPYROS LESBOS, 1962's THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF and 1983's OASIS OF THE ZOMBIES. Franco's themes often revolved around lesbian vampires, women in prison, surgical horror, sadomasochism, zombies and sexploitation (including several films based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade). Franco also worked in other exploitation film genres, such as cannibal films, spy films, giallo, crime films, science fiction, jungle adventure, exorcist films, war movies, historical dramas and nunsploitation. A perusal of his IMDB shows that he was undoubtedly one of the hardest working filmmakers of his generation.
Franco's contributions to our beloved genre have seen a resurgence in the past decade with many of his cult classics finally getting the recognition they deserve on DVD and Blu-Ray, earning him new fans and delighting those of us who grew up with his work lining our VHS shelves.
Rest in Peace, Jess. Our genre thanks you.