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R.I.P. Jesus "Jess" Franco - Legendary cult director dead at 82

Apr. 2, 2013by: Kevin Woods

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.

 

Extra Tidbit: What Jess Franco films do you own on VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray?

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8:23AM on 04/03/2013
No one has left a comment after one day. I am a little surprised. You use the word "legendary" correctly, Kevin. Franco's influence cannot be understated concerning European exploitation cinema (a.k.a. Eurotrash). Easily, he was the biggest name in the genre who stuck to B-movies instead of more "legitimate" cinema. Franco is also a legend of North America's grindhouse period and VHS period. He contributed a lot of extreme horror and erotica over his career, especially from the '60s to the
No one has left a comment after one day. I am a little surprised. You use the word "legendary" correctly, Kevin. Franco's influence cannot be understated concerning European exploitation cinema (a.k.a. Eurotrash). Easily, he was the biggest name in the genre who stuck to B-movies instead of more "legitimate" cinema. Franco is also a legend of North America's grindhouse period and VHS period. He contributed a lot of extreme horror and erotica over his career, especially from the '60s to the '80s. If a person is going to do violence and nudity in a film, one supposes that a person should do them right. For many appetites, Franco was the master chef of such fare.
However, I must confess that I did not watch too many Franco films. Whether Jess was actually a misogynist or not, his characters were often a bit too brutal for my tastes. However, a person could compliment Franco on representing torture in a more realistic fashion than it usually is in American genre movies. I used to own Amazons in the Temple of Gold and Diamonds of Kilimanjaro. I have seen Deadly Sanctuary and A Virgin Among the Living Dead. I have also seen part of a XXX porno that Franco directed; however, I cannot find the title on-line anywhere.
Things will be different knowing that the legendary Jess Franco is no longer around. Hopefully, others look him up on-line or catch one of his movies. He is one of the Essentials of horror and exploitation. One might compare him to a European Corman or Kaufman.
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