Jesús Franco, commonly known as Jess Franco, the Spanish director of nearly 200 horror, fantasy, exploitation and adult films has died today aged 82 year-old. Franco was also a screenwriter, jazz composer and occasional actor in his own inimitable movies.
He famously worked with actors such as Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski and Jack Taylor, but is best known for his many collaborations with his long-term muse and wife, Lina Romay. She died last May and Jess had been depressed since. Nonetheless, he was still working with the intriguingly-titled Al Pereira vs. the Alligator Ladies.
Jess leaves behind a vast catalogue of variable cinematic output, including cult classics such as The Awful Dr. Orloff, Vampyros Lesbos, Venus in Furs, The Diabolical Dr. Z and some not-so-classic offerings such as Count Dracula, The Blood of Fu Manchu, Mondo Cannibal and Oasis of the Zombies. Just yesterday we posted a review of his quirky A Virgin Among the Living Dead.
“Ultimately there’s something truly otherworldly about his films; they give us precious glimpses of a stranger, more delirious reality. Jess Franco was the anti-Kubrick – wayward, impulsive, impatient – but he shared with the master procrastinator one special quality: a cinematic vision as personal and unique as a retinal photograph.” Read the rest of Stephen Thrower’s obituary in The Guardian.
Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of Jess Franco poster and DVD cover images: