Some truly sad news has come out of Spain this morning as the horror genre mourns the passing of one of its most prolific filmmakers: Jess “Jesus” Franco.
As reported by El Pais, the word broke today when Kike Mesa, director of the 2007 documentary Jess Franco: Way of Life, announced Franco’s passing early this morning at the age of 82.
Franco’s output was simply staggering, having helmed nearly 200 films ranging from shorts to features (and many uncredited works as well). He is perhaps most known for the 1971 erotic vampire opus Vampyros Lesbos (1971), which focused on a vampire’s efforts to seduce a young office worker into the world of undead and erotic delights. More of Franco’s most impressive works are The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), Exorcism (1975), Bloody Moon (1981) and Faceless (1988).
Mr. Franco was never perhaps as well-regarded as he should’ve been among his peers. His films were often derided for being cheap and workmanlike, and truthfully, some of them were. But even those films possessed a kind of indelible charm that made them strangely enjoyable. Thanks to the advent of DVD and other digital delivery services, however, film fans have been able to rediscover Mr. Franco’s output and have begun recognizing the Spanish filmmaker’s place in horror/exploitation history. As it should be at last.
We here at Dread Central would like to take this time to offer Jess Franco’s many friends, family members and constituents our sincerest of condolences. We do not know where you are, Mr. Franco, but we hope they have cameras there.
Rest in peace, good sir. The genre would not be as it is without you.
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