Jess Franco cameo in X-312 FLIGHT TO HELL
A courageous, visionary artist who never gave up, Jess Franco's career didn't move in a linear fashion, and neither did his films. It was a career which unfolded in cycles, while his films were often cyclical (EL SEXOS ESTA LOCO, SEX CHARADE, NECRONOMICON) or even circular (VENUS IN FURS, EUGENIE... THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION) in structure. He was an adventurer, but he was also an entertainer who often said he just wanted audiences to enjoy his films. He worked within the restrictive Spanish film industry of the 1960s, the French film industry of the 1970s, returned with more freedom to Spain in the 1980s, during which he produced his very personal, often experimental series of films for Emilio Larraga's GOLDEN FILMS INTERNACIONAL company. Most of the time he worked with little money, within rushed shooting schedules, in terrible conditions with inadequate production resources. He ended up as an independent, DIY maker of digital films, some produced by his dedicated fans.
Red Lips in LA CHICA DE LOS LABIOS ROJOS
He often remade his films, using the same stories and characters, but in totally different styles. GRITOS EN LA NOCHE (1961) became EL SINIESTRO DR. ORLOF (1982), the latter being a deliriously colored, sexually explicit, sci-fi tinged re imagining of the earlier black and white classic.
More Red Lips in ROTE LIPPEN/EL CASO DE LAS DOS BELLEZAS
LABIOS ROJOS, his rarely seen 1960 color feature which was shown today in 35mm at the Espanola filmoteca, introduced his female PI team the "Red Lips", and would engender a series of Red Lips adventures in styles ranging from the Pop Art-psychedelia of mid 1960s (TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS-1967) to the Classificada S films of Spain in the 1980s (La Chica de los Labios Rojos-1986). He was something like Picasso, revisiting similar shapes, subjects and themes in ever evolving visual styles. His final film, AL PEREIRA VS THE ALLIGATOR LADIES couldn't be more different in look and tone than his earlier films about his favorite Private Eye. The more you look at his films, and study the different periods, the more riches they reveal. 2013 saw numerous DVD/Blu-ray releases of such titles as GRITOS EN LA NOCHE, A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, and many others. 2014 will feature more home video releases of his work. He is still very much with us...
C 2014 Robert Monell