17 October, 2016


GUEST REVIEW by Scott Allen

Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Runtime: 1:22:07.500
Disc Size: 23,108,077,697 bytes
Feature Size: 20,974,374,912 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.99 Mbps
Chapters: 9
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 4th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio French 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English, None
• Audio commentary by film historian Tim Lucas
• Alternate safe footage (less sexually explicit) (3:19)
• Original theatrical trailer (4:38) 

Jess Franco's LA FILLE DE DRACULA was released on Blu-ray by Redemption earlier this month. It had been speculated for some time this release, especially after Redemption released a DVD version of it in PAL/Region 2 back in 2014. Redemption, a long champion of Jess' work has spent recent years reissuing old titles on Blu-ray and making announcements for films that never yet surfaced like on DVD or Blu-ray, "Les Chatouilleuses". Redemption's silence on the matter seemingly gave way to very impressive Blu-ray releases of "Erotic Rites of Frankenstein" and "The Demons". These releases  were staggeringly good especially after the misfire of the Blu-ray release of "A Virgin Among The Living Dead" that used a very bad print.
This particular film was one of the few from his early 70s films with a monster emphasis, including "Dracula Contra Frankenstein" (aka THE SCREAMING DEAD as it was known in U.S. on videotape)  and "The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein". Dracula Contra Frankenstein played it most safe in the trappings of horror only and didn't seem to push the limits of the erotic that Jess used so well in his films with Soledad Miranda. "The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein" Spanish variant played almost like a companion film with the Spanish version having a horror only focus. In 2015, Redemption unearthed the long delayed French variant and reportedly Jess's preferred film - complete with what seemed like longer takes than the Spanish version and more sexual content. Until seeing the French version, the Spanish one always felt disjointed and less coherent so it appeared like a revelation to be seeing this in a better form at last.LA FILLE DE DRACULA appears the slightest and fastest made of this bunch with beautiful Britt Nichols as the protagonist but like her role in THE DEMONS she doesn't get enough screen time.     
 The release of LA FILLE DE DRACULA seems to use a similar print that X-Rated Kult used for the German release in terms of visual quality. If you view the Redemption Blu-ray up close you do see more of the flaws of dirt and grain and at some points what looks like white dust. This mainly was noticeable when making screenshots with phone from the disc as I needed to be closer to the screen. Normally the print looks really good from a regular watching distance, perhaps not to the high levels of Erotic Rites of Frankenstein or The Demons; but still enjoyable enough. The film's draw is for Tio Jess' audience and to have more of Britt Nichols in HD. You can see Jess having a good time with a film that uses the Dracula backdrop in a very mild way to sell a film that could be more categorized as a thriller or lite-giallo.

There are a few instances where Jess visual poetry really shines through - particularly a scene where a stripper is killed by vampire bite and her body zoom leads to Nichols playing piano for a conversation scene with Anne Libert, it's these kind of scenes that have kept my interest in Jess cinema for years. The story itself seems a minor one, tossed off while Jess presumably worked on bigger projects and this was done in down time using the same Portugal castle as many films he made during that period. It falls firmly in not being his best nor his worst, but very much worthy of the personal upgrade in my collection. 

 The Blu-ray comes with a few extras include some alternate partially clothed seduction scene with Libert and Nichols and an informative commentary by Franco-authority Tim Lucas. Lucas shares some insight regarding locations and parallels of the characters in this and Jess earlier outing The Sadistic Baron von Klaus. His commentary, although consistently enjoyable, featured one small gaffe, he stated that Jess was engaged to actress Ana Castor, but he actually was engaged to Isana Medel. Both actresses appeared in his second feature film, LABIOS ROJOS (1960).

Overall, a very fine Blu-ray release from Redemption.... Bring on LES EBRANLEES already, dammit! :)     

(C) Scott Allen, 2016

11 October, 2016

Dorado Blu-ray JESS FRANCO'S FORGOTTEN FILMS Vol. 1: Special Features

 Here's a list of the Special Features which will be on the Ultimate Edition of Dorado's upcoming double feature Blu-ray JESS FRANCO'S FORGOTTEN FILMS Vol. 1. Dorado informs me the HD screencaps will be posted on Wednesday, along with HD video clips
1. Dual layered Blu-Ray containing two feature films:

2. BOOKLET     
         by Francesco Cesari and Roberto Curti
This will be illustrated by us, with poster art of some of the films mentioned which are ours. 
         "Revenge of the Alligator Ladies"
          "Al Otro lado del Espacio" 
          "La Noche de los Asesinos"
          "Botas Negras Latigo"
          "Venus in Furs"
          "The Hot nights of Linda"
          "The Green Eyes of the Devil"
          "99 Women
          "Count Dracula"
          "LA Noche de los Asesinos"

     Six or more







05 October, 2016


Thanks to Midnight Video's BILL KNIGHT for posting this on FACEBOOK. I thought readers here would appreciate this vintage VHS box image. I have numerous vintage VHS copies of this, including the English langauge EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN, Dutch VHS versions, but I don't think I have this one. The image of the monster on the cover is really strange because it looks nothing like the silver skinned creature, played by Fernando Bilbao, seen in the film.

French Secam VHS on Budget Video
Uncut original French nude, Robert de Nesle version
1972 - Dir: Jess Franco
15 seconds longer than the Dutch Sunrise release

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22 September, 2016


The protagonist of EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME, Jess Franco's 1979 composite film, Mathis Vogel/Laforgue, is a sexually twisted, religion-obsessed psychopath who murders Parisian women. The film represents Franco's most severe vision of madness and evil. The fact that the obsessed killer is played by Jess Franco himself only intensifies the atmosphere, giving the film a razor sharp personal edge. The thematic questions are numerous.What responsibility does religion have in the consequences of its doctrine when applied by a disturbed individual? What is the relationship between art and crime. What constitutes evil? Is the film an allegory, spiritual autobiography or just a hacked together sexploitation "roughie"? These are familiar themes in Franco's works, but he rarely posed them so clearly and powerfully as here.

I recently watched the Spanish DVD of Jess Franco's EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME, which features the director's own voice on the soundtrack as Vogel, the mad writer-killer who stalks the Notre Dame section of Paris in search of female victims, fallen women/prostitutes/loose women, whom he will murder in order to cleanse them of their sins. The director voices himself in the hardcore variant, SEXOCISM, also. There are numerous versions of these films and the film they are based upon, the 1974 EXORCISM/EXORCISM AND BLACK MASSES/EXORCISME, a grim, artless creation which is further intensified when incorporate into the even more personal, confessional EL SADICO DE NOTRE DAME. None of these are easy to watch but they all are crucial to the understanding of the massive filmography of their creator. This is the first part of a multi part series on the films. Partially updated and expanded from my previously published articles on the film in various publications. The Blu ray release of EXORCISM, future HD release of EL SADICO and some VHS versions will be discussed in further blogs.


This outrageous project exists in so many variants, at so many different running times it would be impossible to view them all (since some are not even available on home video) much less detail the differences. Of the versions now available on tape, the softest is undoubtedly the cut Wizard Video version, DEMONIAC, released in the late 1980s. A running time of 87 minutes is listed on the Wizard video box, which also sports stills of scenes not included in this particular cut. They released a recut version of LA SADIQUE DE NOTRE-DAME a 1979 Spanish-French co-production that mixes footage from Franco's 1974 EXORCIME ET MESSES NOIRES and scenes shot five years later on Parisian locations. This film has a softcore sex and violence, English-language variant, titled EXORCISM, which was the film which started it all. This would eventually be released on Bluray.

The 1975 hardcore version of this film, retitled SEXORCISME, can be had in two slightly different cuts available from U.S. mail order companies. These include an 71-minute English-subtitled version, taken from a French-language video; and a longer 82-minute variation which also has a slightly different scene arrangement. The latter is available in French language only.. Both of these version drop much narrative material and several major characters to include several lengthy and over-the-top XXX sequences, some of which show Franco himself participating in hardcore action! The gory, English-language EXORCISM was unavailable for many years and in some ways it is the most disturbing of all the versions.

The XXX hardcore sex versions were desperate attempts to make an unpleasant film more commercial, at least on the adult movie market, and the hardcore situations only enhance the film's sense of sexual delirium and blasphemy. The fact that all these version have scenes which later found their way into the 1979 remake SADIST OF NOTRE DAME indicates that Franco was attempting to more bucks out of burnt-out material.
The hardcore versions look so cheap and shoddy, though, that one guesses they had difficulty even on the "money-back guaranteed" sex circuit of the mid 70s, which probably explains why he recycled the scenes.

The English language EXORCISM anticipates in tone and style such slasher fare as THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and Franco's character is in some ways even more sinister than Hannibal Lector. However, EXORCISM and the later SADIST OF NOTRE DAME are very somber. The gore scenes are repugnant, and include the torturing of both Carole Riviere and Lina Romay with a knife. As they are being cut up, the killer chants sections of the Roman Catholic mass in Latin.

The most grotesque addition is a scene which shows him murdering The Countess (France Nicholas) on a hotel bed. This is accomplished by shots of him slashing her open and ripping out some of her internal organs. Also, this version also makes clear the Black Masses Vogel witnesses are staged events, the human "sacrifices" are not harmed but are willing participants, the knives they are "stabbed" with have retractable blades, and the blood is fake. with the notable exception of a dove which is decapitated in the opening credit sequence of  EXORCISM/SEXORCISMES. This time the director is the audience and the scenes he witnesses, his own creations, become a substituted reality. As in NECRONOMICON and many other Jess Franco titles the theme of appearances rears its head, as well as his career long examination of performance art and the audiences who watch it.

As these explanatory scenes are missing from all other versions, Vogel's mania and the Satanist's agenda are a lot clearer -- Vogel is a deluded fanatic and the Satanists are just harmless hedonists, even though their dedication to evil is total. Another aspect this version restores is a conversation between the various police inspectors (Olivier Mathot and Roger Germanes) and an Interpol investigator, in which Vogel's murders are linked to rituals from the Inquisition. Connect this with Vogel's description of himself in SADIST OF NOTRE DAME as an agent of the Inquisition.

EXORCISM has the same storyline as all the other versions, minus the 1979 footage of Vogel repeated visiting the Notre-Dame cathedral, and confessing his murders to a priest who was a friend in the seminary that Vogel left. Without these scenes, EXORCISM and the hardcore SEXORCIMES are much more nihilistic. Vogel seems much more monstrous and, ironically, slightly more sympathetic.
Some of Vogel's background and motives are not explained, which colors him as a mysterious, almost abstract, icon of insanity. He is insane, but perhaps not evil in the same sense as the Satanists, who are upper-middle class dilettantes and choose evil as a way of life. Vogel's self-proclaimed holy war upon them and the loose women of Paris is his philosophical statement on the amorality of the modern world, but he sees his sick actions as totally moral, a necessity in the face of perceived evil.

EXORCISM and its many variants are not conventionally well-made films. The minimalist visual style, underlit cinematography, ragged editing (exacerbated by the XXX inserts of some versions), and painfully slow pacing contribute to a viewing experience which is hard on the viewer's eyes and patience.
Perhaps this reaction is precisely what Franco was looking for, as the theme of the film is the nature of "viewing." Vogel sees the sadomasochistic rituals, which he misinterprets, and we are the viewers of Franco's sado-thriller. Where does Franco's responsibility end and ours start? Sadism and pornography were not created by Jess Franco. They have been constant throughout the human and Art history.
EXORCISM's opening credits are printed over an eerie, satanic S&M ritual (missing from SADIST OF NOTRE DAME and DEMONIAC), in which a nude Lina Romay, writhing and bound to a martyr's cross, is whipped, caressed, and then smeared with the fresh blood of a beheaded dove (we actually see this appalling animal violence as the credit "Directed by J.P. Johnson" appears onscreen).

The camera obsessively follows the movement of a leather-clad torturer (Lynn Monteil), as the unholy and gothic atmosphere intensifies with Andre Benichou's funereal, haunting score (the SADIST OF NOTRE DAME version was re-scored by Franco regular Daniel J. White). Seen in its uncut form, this scene echoes the sado-performance rituals which open one of Franco's best earlier works, NECRONOMICON (1967).
It is also instructive to note that Vogel's occupation, a writer. His soda-masochistic tales are actually first-hand accounts of his own murders. They are published by "The Dagger and Garter," a sleazy magazine operated by one of the organizers of the satanic masses. Vogel may be a demented visionary, but the Satanists are shown as seemingly normal citizens who are able to hide their perverted activities from the authorities, something Vogel cannot do.

The publishing offices and the rococo castle in which the orgies are held are facades which exclude the outside world. Franco expresses this theme of deceptive appearances by the way he shoots these locations, panning and zooming into the architectural details whose aesthetic qualities ironically contrast with the blood orgies executed within.

These visual tidbits may also underscore the ancient or Medieval nature of Vogel's obsessions. The casting of beady-eyed Pierre Taylou and Lina Romay, as the arrogant publisher and his airhead secretary, works in perfect contrast to Franco's performance as the seedy Vogel. Taylou, in his tacky mid-70s leisure suit, and Romay, in her then-fashionable maxi-coat, represent common complacency and hypocrisy. In contrast, Vogel appears at least honest about his crusade. "One must know evil in order to fight it" he tells them. This battle between Vogel's mania and the cult's more socially acceptable depravity is the film's main trumpet call. The endings of EXORCISM and SADIST OF NOTRE DAME are quite different. In EXORCISM, Taylou jumps into the pursuing police car after Vogel has murdered a cult member (an interesting touch reminding one of Fritz Lang's M, in which the police and the underworld both pursue a killer). In SADIST OF NOTRE DAME, the chase is abruptly cut off when Vogel is taken into custody at Notre-Dame. In EXORCISM, Vogel is tracked to his suburban house where the lead inspector takes him out with a DIRTY HARRY-style shot that just misses Lina Romay, who is being held hostage. As Vogel falls dead into the front seat of his car, a dog howls mournfully in the distance. This effective touch can only be heard in the French-language version.

The film ends as the camera quickly pans up to the roof of Vogel's house as the police absurdly speed away, leaving the dead Vogel and his traumatized hostage unattended! Even with all these rough edges, EXORCISM and its many variants haunt the memory as an uncompromising version into the center of madness and depravity.

Franco's own performance here is brave and affecting, the total opposite of his usual tongue-in-check cameo appearances in his own movies. The voyeuristic scenes where he spies on Romay and her lesbian lover are especially chilling, due to the subdued way Franco moves his eyes and body as he peers through the window. Although he doesn't utter a word, his emotions are clear. The fact that Franco's acting here is superior to the direction indicates that the role itself was more important to him than the resulting film.
Completest collectors will probably want all these alternate versions and make up their own mind about which is the most effective as both a psycho-sexual thriller and modern morality play. Or maybe it's just another chapter in Jess Franco's 200 title filmed autobiography.

Robert Monell updated and expanded 2016

21 September, 2016

Pre order Jess Franco double bill from Dorado Films



The HD Jess Franco double bill of UN SILENCIO DE TUMBA and THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF are now available for preorder.

31 August, 2016



30 August, 2016


MIL SEXOS TIENE LA NOCHE: Jess Franco's delirious erotic thriller is finally getting the HD release it deserves from MONDO MACABRO. Look for a Fall/Winter date. One of Franco's most intense, visually accomplished films.

22 July, 2016


1982--89 MINUTES Directed by Jess Franco; Written by Clifford Brown Jr.
European Trash Cinema (U.S. import); KING VIDEO VHS (Spanish VHS)


Jess Franco would return to film episodes in the life of the Spanish PI Al Pereira throughout his career. He first appeared as a spy played by Eddie Constantine in the 1966 spoof CARTES SUR TABLE, one of the director's most successful genre riffs. The character would be played by Howard Vernon and Franco himself in LES EBRANLEES (1972) and DOWNTOWN (1977), micro budgeted thrillers which unfolded in fallen tropical destinations. But Antonio Mayans is the definitive interpreter of the character and Franco's very last film would feature Mayans as Pereira in AL PEREIRA VS THE ALLIGATOR LADIES (2013), a kind of mixture of the director's 81/2 style auteur fantasies and a lot of softcore sex episodes.  A post mortem follow up is in the works, with Mayans as the completion director of the unfinished REVENGE OF THE ALLIGATOR LADIES, the film Franco was shooting at the time of his death in 2013.

Antonio Mayans, the definitive Al Pereira....

One of Franco's favorite characters, private investigator Al Pereira (Robert Foster, a.k.a Antonio Mayans), has the addiction and he's got it bad. The kind where he just can't keep it in his pants no matter what. It's gotten him in trouble before, but this time it will be the end of him.

It opens as Al is frantically packing, trying to get away from trouble with sex/women/money, and all the people who are after him. Then Candy  (Lina Romay) walks in. She's bleach blonde, wide eyed, and those long legs under her trench-coat seem like they just can't wait to wrap themselves around their next victim, who this time around happens to be Al.

She just wants him to pick up some dirty money stashed in a wrecked car at the local car cemetery, that's all. But Al doesn't bargain on having to kill two thugs, just so he could get back to his seedy apartment, where Candy waits with her legs spread wide. He doesn't bargain for the strip-club where she works and Candy's male friend, who likes to wear make-up and women's clothing.

Then there is the phony Dr. Rosenthal and her friends, who play S&M games with black boots and leather whips. When they make Al strip after trapping him in an office and start beating him, he really loses it and begins shooting. An act of sheer rage and another impulsive mistake. So, running from the police and the mob he drives to end of a misty bayou, where he meets and makes love to Candy one last time. As the seagulls scatter overhead, stirred up by Candy's cries of pleasure, she pulls a small pistol out of her trench coat pocket (she's nude underneath) and pumps a few slugs into Al's side. "Puta" is the only thing he can get out as he falls to his knees, pants still around his ankles. Death was coming to the party, and Al will be the guest of honor.

As with Robert Mitchum in the classic American noir OUT OF THE PAST (1947), he plays the sap right to the end. The burning, wet feeling in his side has finally made the lump of flesh between his legs go soft. He always called the nude playmate taped to his wall, "mi madre"... but where was she when he really needed her? Or was he just another pathetic Mama's Boy? The bitch of it all was that Candy, who was long gone, hadn't gotten him, the mob hadn't gotten him, the cops hadn't gotten him. He got himself. Bogart would have gotten out of this mess. But Al isn't that smart and lucky.
Image result for Out of the Past
BLACKS BOOTS AND LEATHERS WHIPS is the blackest panel of Franco's career spanning series of films about eternal fall guy, Al Pereira. It's a Spanish neo noir rendered in the saturated tropical  shades of orange, lemon and aquas of the glittery, trashy Costa del Sol. As embodied by Mayans (in one of his most dead-on performances in his extensive Jess Franco portfolio), Al is a frantic, at times charming and boyish, womanizer who has a deep seated problems with obsession, compulsion and self image. He even attempts to radically alter his appearance, but it doesn't solve his real problem.

Romay's femme fatale is lush, slutty sexuality with an icy edge, her devious agenda is barely perceptible to the average male voyeur and totally invisible to Al. This time around, Al resembles a doomed character out of Jim Thompson novel,* and his grim finale is inevitable for a man whose thinking capacity never rises above his waist.

Daniel White's urgent score is perfectly appropriate for this rush-toward-death cautionary tale. Franco and Juan Cozar's neon color scheme has never seemed quite as ironic and becomes a post-modern Costa del Sol equivalent of those liquid black nights and mean streets filmed by Robert Siodmak (THE KILLERS-1945, one of Franco's all time favorites), Edgar G. Ulmer (DETOUR) and Joseph H. Lewis (THE BIG COMBO).

*When I interviewed Jess in 2004 he told me he was a great admirer of the "black writing" (noir writing) style of Jim Thompson (THE KILLER INSIDE ME, THE GETAWAY) and wished he had filmed on of his stories. 

(C) Robert Monell

14 June, 2016

GEMIDOS DE PLACER: Spanish DVD [Updated]


A female predator (Rocio Freixas) moves toward a fateful encounter in Jess Franco's GEMIDOS DE PLACER (1982), a remake of PLAISIR A TROIS (1973), credited as "based on the writings by the Marquis de Sade." The impressive villa where the action is set was owned by the film's producer, Golden Films Internacional S.A. founder/CEO, Emilio Larraga.

Franco has said there are approximately 20 shots in this film, but I have counted over 30 at various times based on my viewings of the old Caliente Video from Million Dollar Video Corporation (cropped at 1.33:1) Spanish language VHS and this 2006 Spanish DVD. This DVD version is part of the CINE EROTICO ESPANOL series- CLASIFICADA "S", licensed from VIDEO MERCURY FILMS S.A., Formato 4:3 [non-anamorphic, and it shows]; Mono; Multizona "0"; DVD5; aprox. 83 min. Genero: Erotica; Boutique Multimedia S.l. Grupo Edider 88, S.L. there's even a Madrid ground mail, and this web address www.internacionaldersa88.com


"Una presumible orgia con un desenlace soprendenta" [or, as I said to Jess when we first met: "Lo siento, no hablo Espanol"]

Back copy: [Un liberal matrimonio quieren probar a realizar un trio sexual con una amiga de ambos. Pero en relaidad la utilizan para matarse el uno al otro con argucias y todo tipo de artimanas. El desenlace es sorpendente."]

Anyone who has seen it knows it's a great film, one of Franco's most personal and experimental works. It unfolds in flashback, narrated by mentally challenged guitar player, Fenul (DP Juan Soler Cozar, dubbed by Jess Franco himself]. The extended takes suggest a link to Hitchcock's ROPE, also a story of murderers and their victim. The opening take, zooming slowly back from a yacht in Alicante Bay to pan over the villa, its swimming pool and a floating dead body (cf SUNSET BOULEVARD), is a tour de force.  A tale told by an idiot signifying the corruption of its four main characters, two of whom will die in paroxysms of sexual violence during the course of the film.

This opening immediately recalls the stunning plan sequence which opens Orson Welles' noir masterpiece TOUCH OF EVIL. The constantly probing camera here is as much of a character as the occupants of the villa. Like Hitchcock and Welles, the director wants to make us complicit in the following action, which is a study in casual amorality. The camera is always a voyeur in any film, but Franco takes this concept to its absolute limit here. With very little dialogue and an overwhelmingly toxic ambiance, offset by Fenull's wandering guitar improvisations, the film becomes a kind of Sadean daydream ending in death, decay and a silent scream recorded from a final God's-eye camera angle. As the mesmerizing instigator of the increasingly complex erotic games, Rocio Freixas emanates an powerful ambiguity which immerses the proceedings with a slow burning sense of danger. At any given moment she seems capable of anything and appears to exert a kind of mental control over the participants.
 I find this DVD to be lacking in the kind of sharpness, detail, luminosity and color I prefer (cf. Severin's glowing releases of MACUMBA SEXUAL; LA MANSION DE LOS MUERTOS VIVENTES). The opening reel is plagued with visible print damage involving specs, which recurs at reel changes, but it's not very distracting, but it IS there. Also, this doesn't seem to me to be a full 2.35:1 presentation. Maybe closer to 2.20:1. I don't measure these things, but that's my approximation. The only extra is a scene access.

Still, it looks very good compared to the DVD-R's and videos going around, it's acceptable, but not ideal, and, of course, there are no English options of any kind.

So, let's see if there's any interest in a new anamorphic 2.35:1 OAR R1 release w/English subtitles available.

I wish for a new, HD transfer of this. That's why I keep bringing it up here.

Thanks to Francesco Cesari for sending this DVD and the screenshot.

(C) Robert Monell, 2008-2016 [Updated]

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ecom said...
I'd love to see this one on an English subtitled DVD.
Steve Langton said...
One of many Franco flicks that has thus far eluded me, and also one that I've yearned to see for ages. Good to see you trumpeting this one for release.
Tim Lucas said...
It would rank high on my Severin wish list, as well.

11 June, 2016

Favorite Jess Franco CDs/soundtracks

OI can't narrow mine down to just one. But Jean Bernard Raiteux's Trafic Pop Logere would be high on the list, including a lot of cues heard in LES DEMONS (1972). Also AMBIENZA ACOUSTICA, containing many Daniel White-Jess Franco/Pablo Villa cues from his later 1970s and 80s period.

An all time favorite soundtrack would be the Bruno Nicolai cues heard in NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT. A mix of experimental, jazz and rock interludes.

Nightmares Come at Night - Opening Credits

  • 3 years ago
The bizarre opening credits for Jess Franco's haunting psychosexual thriller "Nightmares Come at Night". Don't be fooled by the ...

Nightmares Come at Night 1970 Music by Bruno Nicolai - YouTube

Apr 12, 2015 - Uploaded by Lynn Endersson
Nightmares Come at Night 1970 Music by Bruno Nicolai. Lynn Endersson. SubscribeSubscribedUnsubscribe ...

09 June, 2016


This second film in Jess Franco's long running Dr. Orloff series has recently been set for a HD release.

The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll Blu-ray

Posted 1 day ago
The Redemption label has confirmed that it will release on Blu-ray cult Spanish director Jess Franco's film The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll a.k.a. Dr. Orloff's Monster (1964), starring Hugo Blanco, Agnès Spaak, Perla Cristal, Marcelo Arroita-Jáuregui, and Pepe Rubio. The release is expected to arrive on the market later this year.

11 May, 2016

Two Jess Franco films coming on Bluray from Dorado Films!

Robert Monell's photo.

These two rarely seen, early 1970s Jess Franco directed thrillers are being prepared for Blu-ray+DVD release by Dorado Films, a company with which I’m familiar for their very good Eurospy/Eurowestern DVDs. They will be presented in Spanish language with English subtitles. This will be the HD debut of both features...

02 April, 2016


Jess Franco (May 12, 1930-April 2, 2013) The prolific and irreplaceable Spanish filmmaker passed away 3 years ago today. His massive body of work, though, lives on through numerous new HD releases of his films and retrospectives both official and personal. What Jess Franco film are you watching tonight? For me it's a toss up between my all time favorite SUCCUBUS/NECRONOMICON and FEMALE VAMPIRE, two essential works and among his most personal projects, made in relative freedom but subject to much subsequent reedits by producers-distributors. There is a unique melancholy mood found in them.. They both have mysterious, deadly female lead characters, an erotic dancer (Janine Reynaud) in SUCCUBUS and a world weary vampire in the FEMALE VAMPIRE. Lina Romay plays the mute vampire in the latter and I find it her most moving performance, unpolished but real, a sad being lost in a fantasy bubble.

Of course, Jess was preceded by his wife/key collaborator/frequent lead actress/editor/director Lina Romay, who died much too young. It's difficult to think of him or his career without thinking of her. It's also difficult not to think of his other films and career arc as one watches any single one of his films. They all resonate within and across his filmography. They also are flooded with resonances of Bunuel, Lang, Godard (three of his masters mentioned by a character in NECRONOMICON). They are also infused with the poetry of Robert Siodmak (whom Franco himself frequently mentioned as a personal inspiration) and the B film maestros Erle C. Kenton and Reginald Le Borg. I first became aware of Jess Franco via an article about SUCCUBUS I read in 1969, the year of its US release, in an Adult magazine. It would take about another two decades before I could finally see the film, and even then it wasn't exactly in HD. I did see COUNT DRACULA (1970) and THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU (1969) on local television in the early 1970s. I wasn't impressed. It took me another 20 or so years and the advent of VHS, then DVD and finally HD to become a serious student and collector of his work. His highly polished early 1960s films (GRITOS EN LA NOCHE, LA MUERTE SILBA DES BLUES, THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS, MISS MUERTE) are quite different in visual style and tone than his Pop Art colored work of the late 60s (ROTE LIPPEN/SADISTEROTICA, SUCCUBUS, LUCKY THE INSCRUTABLE, VENUS IN FURS) and his early 70s Z budgeted masterworks EUGENIE DE SADE and A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD. The obsessive use of the telezoom in his mid 1970s work (DRACULA, PRISONER OF FRANKENSTEIN, FEMALE VAMPIRE) is less apparent in his films for Erwin C. Dietrich. His 1980's Golden Films Internacional period is especially ripe for discovery with gems like GEMIDOS DE PLACER and THE SINISTER DR. ORLOFF (both 1982) awaiting HD release. He often remade is earlier films, with surprisingly fascinating results. For instance his BROKEN DOLLS is as interesting as it's 1982 model LAS CASA DE LAS MUJERES PERDIDAS, while being totally different in visual style, sound design and interpretation by the actors.

As a director who favored on-set improvisation, he was more interested in the process, preparing the film and shooting it, than the result. The final forms of his films were often determined by others, including the sound editor, Gerard Kikoine, who worked on many of his Robert De Nesle projects, adding sound, music, dialogue and coherence where there was none. Film is after all a collaborative medium, but Franco was the captain on set, even when the front office delivered orders, as in some of his Harry Alan Towers, the fur worn by Maria Towers in VENUS IN FURS was there because of studio commands and he couldn't cast an African American (Miles Davis?) involved in an affair with a Caucasian woman, he had to flip the races.

Many formerly rare films of his have appeared in good and HD releases over the years, last year's Blu-rays of THE EROTIC RITES OF FRANKENSTEIN (1972) and VAMPYROS LESBOS (1970), among others, were especially exciting. And more are on the way this year, including his last project, REVENGE OF THE ALLIGATOR LADIES, which has been completed his longtime friend and leading man, Antonio Mayans. The sad thing is that there will be no newly made Jess Franco films after that, but there are dozens of presumed treasures out there still awaiting HD releases. He had a long, productive career and did pretty much everything he wanted to do, if not quite on the budget and schedule he would have preferred.

There are as many ways to watch a single Jess Franco film as there are Jess Franco films. His oeuvre is rich and layered, each film is a beckoning hall of mirrors, awaiting our delighted entry. Jess Franco lives!

(C) Robert Monell  April 2, 2016