13 November, 2008

Favorite Jess Franco Performances?


As the writer in EXORCISM (1974)...


Walking the lonely path a few years late in THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME (1980)



As agent Tino Celli in THE DEVIL CAME FROM AKASAVA (1970)


As the torturer in DIE SKLAVINNEN

Jess Franco has appeared as an actor in many of his own films [frequently in Hitchcockian cameos] as well as in other directors, notably as Venancio in the late Fernando Fernan Gomez's EL EXTRANO VIAJE (1964). I have not seen this rather obscure but highly regarded black comedy but I hope it sooner or later gets a proper R1 DVD presentation.

I wanted to conduct an up-to-date poll on favorite Jess Franco's performances in his or other director's films. Of course he has the lead in both EXORCISME (1974) and its 1980 remix EL SADICO DEL NOTRE DAME but one of my favorites is the babbling idiot/voyeur in MACUMBA SEXUAL. Jess manages to be simultaneously amusing and unsettling among his petrified deep sea dwellers.

I would like to add that his performances are always more effective when his own voice is used. It has a distinctive tone which he can alter and control quite skillfully as when he voices Juan Cozar's character in GEMIDOS DE PLACER.

In his own work his acting career ranges from a glimpsed piano player in GRITOS EN LA NOCHE to the sinister sage in DR WONG'S VIRTUAL HELL.

What are some of your favorite Jess Franco performances?



19 comments:

David A. Zuzelo said...

Lucas in Sadomania is probably my second favorite to Exorcism / Sadist Of Notre Dame.
You can't go wrong with Sadomania.

Keith said...

I would say Exorcism is probably my top favorite.

sergio olivari said...

You cannot top him in both Sadist and Sadomania, but i do have a soft spot for his Basilio character in Une Vierge chez les Morts Vivantes.

Robert Monell said...

That's two for EXORCISM/SADIST.

Robert Monell said...

Make that three for EXORCISM and two for SADOMANIA. I have to admit he's pretty impressive as the serial killer in EXORCISM. In the hardcore version he even gets involved in the explicit scenes. That's dedication.

i do have a soft spot for his Basilio character in Une Vierge chez les Morts Vivantes.

Sergio, Basilio is also one of my own favorites. This was the first Jess Franco performance I ever saw when I initially viewed the WIZARD video of VATLD in the late 1980s. Another babbling voyeur like Meme in MACUMBA....

Lars Jacobsson said...

It's EXORCISM/SADOMANIA for me too. EXORCISM being his best role and SADOMANIA the funniest. I also love him as a wise chinaman in the amazing (-ly stupid) EN BUSCA DEL DRAGÓN DORADO, as the sadistic Mr. Radeck in MIDNIGHT PARTY, as the wimpy museum guard Napoleon
Bolivard in TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS, as the dumbwit hotel owner in MACUMBA SEXUAL... Hell, I enjoy his presence in anything! The only role I can think of that I didn't like was his comic take on Al Pereira in DOWNTOWN, somebody else really should have played that role...

thedarklasvegas said...

i think we all can agree it is a pleasure to see franco in cameos or leads or bit player, but my nod would have to go to his performance as memett in vampyros lesbos? what do you all think about that?

Kimberly said...

I have soft spot for Franco's role in Vampyros Lesbos as well, so you're not alone darklasvegas.

Nzoog Wahrlfhehen said...

EXORCISM/SADIST

Also fine in VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, FEMALE VAMPIRE and LILIAN.

Rev. Phantom said...

I loved his character in MACUMBA SEXUAL...but my favorite is Basilio from VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD. His part in EXORCISM was good because it was a starring role, but I prefer when he's a goon.

Anonymous said...

i love the looney he plays in "kiss me killer ". i don't think much of jess as an actor but i think he did an outstanding job in " exorcism "

sexykino said...

My favorite Franco roles so far (I've still many films to see) are:

EXORCISM
VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD
DIABOLICAL DR Z
FEMALE VAMPIRE

His tiny part in EUGENIE, THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY... is cool too.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I always consider the top two on your list to be kind of the same thing. That being said, I thought he was magnificent in A Virgin Among The Living Dead. It's also my favorite FRanco movie so, go figure.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I always consider the top two on your list to be kind of the same thing. That being said, I thought he was magnificent in A Virgin Among The Living Dead. It's also my favorite FRanco movie so, go figure.

Robert Monell said...

to his performance as memett in vampyros lesbos? what do you all think about that?

Yeah, he's fun to watch in VL, and I think he wears the same sweater as his similar role in VATLD!

Robert Monell said...

Nzoog mentioned his key role in FEMALE VAMPIRE. I'm always struck by that last look on his face as he watches Irina kill herself.

I also think his role as the all knowing Tanner in EUGENIE DE SADE is both very amusing and then quite moving at the end when he watches Eugenie die.

Robert Monell said...

i love the looney he plays in "kiss me killer ".

Yeah, that's one of his most unhinged bits.

scott said...

SADOMANIA - his role seems a cheeky and risky one most directors would not do for fear of puting the wrong idea out about them. it's really bold and courageous

A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD - also, my first Franco acting exposure

BARBED WIRE DOLLS- sick character but still that crazy flashback scene with him and Lina- really works I think the way they filmed it. I think it's one of the most imaginative shots in his full filmography

MACUMA SEXUAL -just a weird character but so fun to watch

VICTOR BARON G. said...

My favorit Jess roles are as Basilio in Virgin Among the Living Dead, and as Mathis Vogel in El sádico de Notre Dame.