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R.I.P. Jess Franco

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  • R.I.P. Jess Franco

    I think we all knew this was coming. Once Lina passed I didn't think he had long left, and after the recent medical news...but still, just terribly sad. The man was an absolute maverick of the cinema; even if you hated every one of his movies you had to admire the man's work ethic and how resolutely he stuck to making movies just for himself.

    It feels like the fucking end of an era for cult cinema.

    We'll miss you Jess!

    05/12/1930 - 04/02/2013

    From Tim Lucas:

    Jesíºs Franco Manera passed away sometime after 11:00am this morning, from complications of a stroke, at a clinic in Malaga, Spain. He was 82 years old.

    Word came at roughly 5:30am (US Eastern time) this morning, on Facebook's El Franconomicon fan page, when Frank Munoz -- stationed at the hospital where "Tio Jess" had been under observation since suffering a serious stroke last Wednesday -- posted this brief message:

    "Estoy en el hospital. Acaba de fallecer. Se lo han llevado ahora mismo. Lo siento."

    Translation: "I'm at the hospital. He has just passed away. They are taking him right now. I am sorry."

    And so ends -- or begins -- the most epic story in the history of fantastic cinema. The IMDb credits Franco with directing 199 features and the list is surely incomplete, lacking some titles altogether, not to mention variant editions and unreleased titles. Very often, he was also their writer and very often their cameraman, editor, dubber and a member of the cast. No one demonstrably loved making movies more than he.

    Of course, Jess has always been the Patron Saint of VIDEO WATCHDOG, the subject of our very first feature article; the way his films invited me in, the way each of his films seemed to open up worlds within worlds, sort of made our obsessive style of coverage possible. I watched two of his films tonight, wanting to be "with" him. I had a feeling this might happen.

    Jess was only one month shy of his 83rd birthday, and his final feature -- AL PEREIRA VS. THE ALLIGATOR LADIES, in which his longtime friend and associate Antonio Mayans reprised a role he had played several times -- recently had its first public screening. Of course, Jess's wife and muse Lina Romay (Rosa Maria Almirall Martinez), who became the very essence of his cinema from the time they met in 1973, passed away just over one year ago, on February 15, 2012.

    Go with our blessings, Maestro. And take with you our grateful thanks for all the complex riches you have left behind, which will keep us occupied for so many years to come.

    Needless to say, more to follow once I've had a chance to absorb this news.

  • #2
    Oh man, now I am sad.

    Thanks for everything, Franco!


    • #3
      R.I.P. Jess Franco

      Seems after everything he deserves some peace and rest. I am a mix of sad and happy. So many of the important people in his life are gone. My hope is that he's with them again. Thanks for the movies, thanks for opening my mind. Love ya, man.


      • #4

        Hopefully this year will mark more releases for tribute.


        • #5
          I'm sure he's among friends now.
          But how sad for us. There'll be no more Jess Franco films.
          I knew this was coming as soon as I read about his stroke a few days ago.

          I saw my first Franco film in 1971; it was Castle of Fu Manchu on a double-feature with The Yin and Yang of Mr. Gu (James Mason and Burgess Merideth). I thought it was the worst film I had ever seen. Forty years later, I see it again on DVD in a home-festival among 70 of his other films. I get it now. Jess Franco was fearless. He wasn't afraid to try anything, he wasn't afraid to express himself, and he didn't care what the world thought of him. He was going to make movies to please himself and everyone was invited to watch and enjoy if they wanted to. I have enormous respect for his independence and commitment to film. I respect him as a cinematic storyteller. I respect him for getting his films made, sometimes with no more than a handful of centavos. He's the only director who gave Christopher Lee the chance to play Dracula the way the actor had always wanted. I think I'll raise a glass (of grape juice) and toast Jess Franco, and celebrate his career by watching Count Dracula.

          Rest in peace, Jess Franco. Thanks for the movies.
          a straight arrow
          Last edited by Richard--W; 04-02-2013, 07:53 AM.
          "I've been to college, but I can still speak English when business demands it."
          - Raymond Chandler, 1939.


          • #6
            Yeah, I'm not in the least bit surprised to read of this news, but at the same time, I certainly didn't want to hear it. His health has been bad for a while now, his time had come. But man, what a run he had! He's definitely left one Hell of a legacy. At least he was alive long enough to know that there were those of us who appreciated what he did.

            Rest in peace, and thanks.
            Rock! Shock! Pop!


            • #7
              RIP to one of the premiere Eurocult directors.
              "Ah! By god's balls what licentiousness!"

              Marquis de Sade, The 120 Days of Sodom.


              • #8
                Sad news. I don't know what else to say.


                • #9
                  Rest in Peace Jess!


                  • #10
                    RIP. I can't say I've liked everything I've seen of his, but there are a handful of films that have made a huge impression; containing scenes that have never left my memory. I always admired his work or die ethic. I also always loved his deep apprecation for and use of music. In addition to everything else, there's very few others who made the score such a massive part of the experience.
                    I don't go to church. Kneeling bags my nylons.


                    • #11
                      Yet another legend gone!! 2013 so far has had some sad news. RIP


                      • #12
                        "When I die, I hope to go to Accra"


                        • #13
                          This is really upsetting. I don't always contribute to RIP threads, as it's hard to be sincere about someone you only know through their work, but Franco's work has been a big part of my life for two decades or more, ever since I first discovered his films. He's one of the few filmmakers who I'd say has really impacted on my worldview - which might sound faintly ludicrous to non-Franco fanatics. I may not have enjoyed many of his more recent shot-on-video films, but I always respected his status as a true maverick and independent - both in filmmaking terms and in terms of his perspective on the world.

                          Really sad news :(
                          'You know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes looked like. Still the same. Pissholes in the snow'

                 (my photography website)
                          'All explaining in movies can be thrown out, I think': Elmore Leonard


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paul L View Post
                            I may not have enjoyed many of his more recent shot-on-video films, but I always respected his status as a true maverick and independent...
                            Well put.


                            • #15
                              R.I.P. Jess Franco

                              I haven't seen that many of his films but FACELESS is literally one of my favorite films and I love the Orloff stuff, THE BLOODY JUDGE, DRACULA and quite a few more.

                              He was also a crucial figure in the world of European cult cinema.