Jess Franco dies, father of Spanish B-Films
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The director had been hospitalized in Malaga since last Wednesday after suffering a stroke.
Irreducible to the last breath. Jesús Franco Manera, better known as Jess Franco (Madrid, 1930) has died today at age 82 in Malaga, where he was admitted last Wednesday March 27, 2013 after suffering a stroke. The director, actor, writer, composer, producer and editor, considered the father of Spanish B-Films, had just released his latest film with "Al Pereira vsThe Alligator Ladies" (2012) in theaters Artistic Metropol Madrid; the film was premiered at the last Festival of Sitges.
The role of Jess Franco in the Spanish cinema is fundamental: he directed nearly two hundred films under about 40 pseudonyms (Clifford Brown, Jess Frank, Wolfgang Frank, Lulu Laverne, Franco Manera, John O'Hara, Dan Simon, etc.) Between the 1950s to the present he filmed in Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and the United States which gives a good account of his legacy. Eroticism, undercover, westerns, B-Films, comic book aesthetic, low-budget fantasy film and flirting with porn are some of the hallmarks of this revered cult filmmaker worldwide.
Franco studied film at the Royal Conservatory and the Institute for Research and Cinematic Experiences in Madrid, before going to France at the Sorbonne University. After working in various productions and making several film shorts, he would the film and four films before his first big hit "Night Visions" (1962), with the legendary Howard Vernon embodying the first Dr. Orloff, one of the characters most iconic of the filmmaker. Another of his most recognized is "Necromicron" (Necronomicon / Succubus) (1967), a German film production when finished which participated in the Berlin Film Festival and opened wide the doors on the international market. Since then, he would be known for collaborations with Christopher Lee (who played great villains like Fu Manchu in "The Castle of Fu Manchu" (1969) and Dracula in "Count Dracula" (1970) - under the direction of Franco) and his prolific productions in the horror genre B-Films. Among his classics, include "Miss Death" (1960), "Vampyros Lesbos" (1971), "The Curse of Frankenstein", "Dracula Against Frankenstein" (1972), "Dracula Against Frankenstein" (1974), "Schoolgirls Rape", "Sexual Aberrations of a Married Woman" (1981), "The Shameful Orgies of Emmanuelle" (1982), "Barbys Killer" (1996), "Women's Damned Crypt" (2008) and "Paula-Paula" (2010).
In 2008, the exquisite French Cinematheque devoted an extensive cycle comprising the bulk of his work and honoring the work of a director unaccustomed to institutional tributes. The following year, the Spanish Film Academy's Goya would honor him for his film career. Today, in addition to keep "Al Pereira vs. The Alligator Ladies" (his last film), he collaborated with the publication Cinemanía.
Franco was married to his principal muse, Lina Romay, who he met while working with her in 1970. Both lived in Malaga, where they were married on April 23, 2008. Romay died last year a cancer victim.
Franco was involved in two of the early Euro-westerns as a screenwriter "The Coyote" (1954) and "Judgment of the Coyote" (1955) as well as participating in other capacities in other Euro westerns as "The Jaguar" (1963) and "The Crazy Nuns" (1974) as well as two Zorro films "The Shadow of Zorro" and "Zorro the Avenger" (both 1962) as a screenwriter and as a director of "The Mark of Zorro" (1975).
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