Friday Favorites: Jess Franco!

Two days ago would have been Jess Franco’s 91st birthday. He would had to have lived another 109 + years to be as old as how many films he directed! There were some years he averaged more than one film a month! Love him or hate him, there is no denying the man loved to make films. In fact, there is below quote from him that I think not only explains him and his work, but also a work ethic that I think many of us share in.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything important or magnificent. I’m a worker and the thing I prefer in my life is cinema. When I’m working in cinema, I’m happy. And that’s all, you know?”

Yes, there are some of his work that makes you scratch your head and wonder how he ever got financing for his next film. But as we all know, a bad film isn’t entertaining and there are plenty of Franco’s titles that are damn entertaining. The first time I saw Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (1972), under the VHS title The Screaming Dead, I thought I had lost my mind. But such craziness just enhanced the experience for me and I actually think it is one of my favorites of his work. Same with titles like The Female Vampire (1973) and Bloody Moon (1981), just so much damn fun.

Now for those out there that think all of Franco’s films are just inept made trash, you haven’t really looked. When I first got into Franco’s movies, I thought all of his films were cheap and cheesy, but then watched The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962) and was amazed how well it was made. Same with The Diabolical Dr. Z (1966). When he had the money, Franco could deliver a well crafted picture. But even when he didn’t have the movie, he could still deliver … something at least.

So to honor this talented man and his work, let’s spend this Friday Favorites on the interesting and intriguing works of Jess Franco! Lets hear it!

10 thoughts on “Friday Favorites: Jess Franco!

  1. I’m no Franco expert by any stretch, but after looking through my library, I’m surprised by how many of his titles I do own! Lol! Still a drop in the bucket when compared to his output but, I digress, my pick is Bloody Moon!

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  2. I have only seen 2 of his movies that I can think of Venus in Furs & The Horrible Dr. Hichcock. I enjoyed both movies very much; even though they were drastically different. they did both, however; reflect the time they were made in quite well. Hitchcock had the sober, mysterious feel of earlier pictures and Venus had a hazy 70’s feel.

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  3. Few years back I spend a lot of time watching his films since I had not seen many of them at that point. Unfortunately many were tough to get through. The ones that stood out to me were Bloody Moon, Exorcism, Greta (Ilsa) and my favorite of the bunch Female Vampire.

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    • Female Vampire blew me away the first time I watched. Just couldn’t believe what I was watching. Really started to admire the guy after that and then it just went even more when I started watching his older films.

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  4. I really love Faceless. I got to ask Caroline Munro at a con years ago how it was working for Franco and she had nothing but praise for him. Was happy to hear that.

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    • Faceless is a fun one, that is for sure. And Munro is one class act. I interviewed her years ago, asking her about Franco, Naschy, and Joe Spinell. Nothing but good things about them all.

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  5. I will admit that I am not a huge fan of Franco, but I own three films that I admire from this Spanish director. In order of preference: Faceless (1988), Love Letters from a Portuguese Nun (1976), and Count Dracula (1969)

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    • Franco does take a bit to get use to and completely understand when someone is not a fan. I would recommend though checking out some of the early ones, just to see his range.

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  6. My favorites are Vampyros Lesbos, Eugene De Sade, and The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein. One thing I love about Franco is how you can explore his filmography seemingly forever and never hit the end. I’m also fond of how elements (live shows at clubs) and themes (human slavery) crop up in almost all of them.

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