30 March, 2009


Are you in a Pamela Stanford state of mind?

Who is the woman behind the mask? Pamela as a double agent in BLUE RITA (1977).

Pamela and Lina Romay in Jess Franco's LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES (1974)

Wow! I just got this reply from Kim to my June 3, 2007 blog: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO PAMELA STANFORD?

[Are you still looking for Pamela?
She is well and alive, and a friend of mine.
She is a wonderful person.
She has been asked to write about her life, and she's not sure.
Maybe you could convince her?
I hope we'll hear from you soon!

Thanks for your response, Kim. The answer to your first question is a big YES! I have been looking for Ms. Stanford for what seems like decades. It's wonderful to hear she is alive and well. I definitely think she should write a memoir of her experiences making 1970s European exploitation/Cult movies. There is a definite international audience base for this kind of book. She has loyal fans here in the US, in Europe and I'm sure in many other parts of the world, especially considering that her work has been distributed on various DVDs over the last decade.

It would be fascinating to hear her reflect on how these movies were made and her encounters with Jess Franco, Howard Vernon, Robert De Nesle, Lina Romay and the cult movie figures with whom she worked; what she thinking then and what are her thoughts now. What a typical workday was like on the sets of films like LORNA, THE EXORCIST, BLUE RITA, DIE TEUFLISCHEN SCHWESTERN, CANNIBAL TERROR.

I would love to be able to convince her to write a memoir or autobiography. There are many unanswered questions about her life before and after the bulk of her film work from the early 1970s to the early 1980s.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to see Kim's response in my inbox to an almost 2 year old blog!

Do readers of this blog feel the same way I do?

Kim, please email me at monell579@hotmail.com.

27 March, 2009


Thanks to Holger Hasse who has awarded I'M IN A JESS FRANCO STATE OF MIND the Premio Dardos award on his excellent HAMMER AND BEYOND [www.hammerandbeyond.blogspot.com/] site.

The Premio Dardos is "given for excellence in the Blogging field" to a blog by other bloggers.

Holger is a former winner of this award and I have a number of favorite blogs which I'll be nominating in the near future here.

This recognition is very much appreciated.

[Robert Monell]

24 March, 2009


One of the best Jess Franco films not available on DVD...

I recommend readers check out The Franco Lounge at THE LATARNIA FORUMS for some interesting information on the various 35mm and video versions of the 1973 film AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO and its alternate French version, LE MIROIR OBSCENE (1974). The address of a possible rights holder has been posted.... hopefully the original 35mm elements still exist in superior condition and can eventually be part of a definitive DVD reconstruction.
I would like to see both versions presented on a double DVD with a commentary by actor Robert Woods, whom I interviewed a few years ago and has some fascinating stories to tell about the making of this film.
I always save a place on my 10 Best Jess Franco Films for AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO, which I have still only seen via a dub of the Spanish FQ video. Screengrabs from that vintage vhs are also on the forum.  
I was wondering if any other readers have seen the Spanish version and are as anxious as I am to have an English friendly R1 DVD presentation from original elements.

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20 March, 2009


Thanks to blog reader Nicolas for this information on the Second "Etrange Festival Lyon" which is coming up this April 1. This strikes me as possibly the world's only yearly Film Festival dedicated exclusively to Fantastique. Wish I could be there! [RM}


To: monell579@hotmail.com
Subject: l'Etrange Festival Lyon (second edition)
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2009 14:49:52 +0100

Dear Robert,
You will find below the link for the second edition of the "Etrange Festival Lyon" in Lyon, France.
After Joël Seria and Jean Rollin, this year our guest are Jean-louis Van Belle, Gérard Kikoïne, Pete Tombs, Antoine Pellissier...
Thanks for reading.

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15 March, 2009


Have you saved the 1980's Wizard Video prerecord of DEMONAIC aka THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME?

I saw my first Jess Franco film, SUCCUBUS [NECRONOMICON], theatrically in 1969 (at a local, long gone, Adult theater) and then THE BLOODY JUDGE (1969) under the title NIGHT OF THE BLOOD BEAST at a drive-in double bill in 1971. I drove out on the Franco film, disappointed and bored. After that I saw COUNT DRACULA (1970) and THE CASTLE OF FU MANCHU (1969) via TV broadcasts sometime during the 1970s and pretty much wrote JF off as a director I was interested in.

It was the video boom of the 1980s which got me back into his work, first renting out video cassettes from retail outlets. I think my first JF video was Wizard Video's DEMONIAC {THE SADIST OF NOTRE DAME-1979}. I do remember being impressed with the stark visual quality and Franco's performance as the mad killer. I had no idea that it was a composite which included a lot of footage from EXOCISME (1974) and thought that the changes in the main character's appearance were due to bad make-up! How little I knew back then. I was also impressed by the artwork on over sized box in which it packaged.

It took me another half decade to catch the full version of SADIST and the original EXORCISME, along with its XXX variant. I still go back and forth on which version I like the best, while knowing the director prefers SADIST... as his personal statement on cultural alienation [from Spain] and his stand-offish relationship with the Catholic Church. I always find it interesting that the actor who plays the Notre Dame priest Franco's character visits, Antonio De Cabo, is not credited in any version I have seen. De Cabo is also in Franco's DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN (1971), DEVIL HUNTER (1980), CECILIA (1980) and plays the lawyer who reads the will in A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (1971).

I sometimes wish I still had that old Wizard Video in its over sized box with b&w stills on the back cover.
Do readers remember what their first JF home video experience was?

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09 March, 2009


A Girl Is A Gun: Michel Piccoli embarks on a strange adventure in Marco Ferreri's DILLINGER IS DEAD.


Get over it! Dillinger is coming!

Marco Ferreri's DILLINGER E' MORTO (1969) is a film I've only had the opportunity to see via what looks like a 6th generation video dub from an Italian TV broadcast in the 1980s. I've had this now ancient video for about 20 years.

The good news is that this unsung masterwork has finally had its belated US theatrical debut in New York City [it first had a MOMA showing in 1970] last week and a 35mm print from Janus is going to be making the rounds. I kind of doubt that this limited theatrical release will include where I live but I'm sure hoping that a much deserved new DVD presentation from these elements will follow in due course.

I was rather irritated by the New York Times review which blasted this 40 year old film for its treatment of women and allowing the protagonist to get away with... Well, hopefully you can see the film. It may be politically incorrect in today's world but the film is a sharply ironic illustration of everything which was socially "correct" in sexual roles when it was made. Manohla Dargis may find the film flawed by "tedious high jinks and rank sexism" but the film luxuriates in its structural daring and questioning of sexism as a symptom of a smug culture. The review goes on to ridicule the film's evocation of the theories of Herbert Marcuse and Orphic symbolism, concluding "All this might be tolerable if Mr. Ferreri's attitude toward women were not as ugly as his sloppy visual style."

Well... I beg to differ. This "relic" from the 1960s is just as spot-on today as it was back then about the ongoing war (has a truce ever been declared?) between men and women. Visually the film at times resembles a Warhol canvas of that era representing familiar pop cultural icons. Gas masks play in key role in the story and iconography (cf Jess Franco's BLUE RITA).

Ferreri (1928-1997) is as dead as Dillinger and as easy a target. Remember, here's the man who gave us the gourmand's delight, LA GRANDE BOUFFE (1973), which I saw in Paris that year along with a stunned audience. Here was a director who gave you the sense that he liked to make people squirm as a prod toward transformational thought or any kind of thought.

The great Michel Piccoli is magnificently "closed" as the demented Glauco who spends most of the running time preparing a meal as a radio blares pop songs and vintage local adverts. A "plot" never emerges, only a droll track of seemingly random, odd moments which move toward something violent while unfolding in unpredictable increments... . Some find it maddening, I find it enveloping. The final image, which finds Glauco transported toward an unimagined new reality, is a stunner.

And the fact that there's hardly any dialogue in the film along with the exquisite, narcoleptic presence of Anita Pallenberg earns it extra points from me. Oh yes, the folksy John Dillinger himself makes an appearance during Glauco's long night of the soul. DILLINGER E' MORTO would make a fascinating late-1960's-take-on-1930's-gangsters double bill with Arthur Penn's BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967).

Other favorite and recommended Ferreri films include the 1981 Charles Bukowski adaptation TALES OF ORDINARY MADNESS (the fearsome Pauline Kael was one of its few advocates) and the round-the-bend 1974 anti-western DON'T TOUCH THE WHITE WOMAN!

Jean Luc Godard was one of the few critics to praise DILLINGER E' MORTO and he should know something about annoying the status quo. Ferreri, who made several films in Spain (EL PISITO; El Cochecito), was also a sometime Jess Franco crony.

See DILLINGER IS DEAD if it shows up where you live and hope for a DVD as soon as possible. End of rant.

(c) Robert Monell, 2009

07 March, 2009


I'm looking for some information on this "alternate" version of Jess Franco's DAS BILDNIS DER DORIANA GRAY (1976). Is this the non-hardcore version? If anyone has seen or owns this DVD please reply in the comment area. If anyone has a copy of this PAL ABCDVD and is willing to trade a copy please contact me. Thanks.

01 March, 2009


Visit THE JESS FRANCO ONLINE HOME VIDEO GUIDE at www.cinemadrome.yuku.com. Just hit the link at the top of the sidebar at right. I will attempt to individually log all the Jess Franco VHS and DVD releases since those formats began. Select Grey Market items will also be logged. Each post will cover a single presentation and since many films have numerous DVD/VHS incarnations this will be a pleasantly ongoing enterprise. They will not be sequentially ordered, but I'll go according to my mood, what I have and can find out about. There will be as much technical information as I can find/cut and paste in. I'll try to include vintage covers whenever possible. Everything from the 1980s WIZARD VIDEO videos to the most recent DVD releases will be included along with screenshots from the presentations when available.

I'll also be giving each presentation my own rating for the film itself, audio & video quality of the presentation. Please feel free to add any corrections or information by hitting reply. Comments are welcome and encouraged. This will not be a listing or review of ALL JF films, it will just attempt to gather as many of the VHS/DVD releases of his films as possible in one place with some commentary. Discs and videos from all regions will be included.

In the meantime I'm looking for the alternate X rated [not hardcore] OOP [at Xploited, at least] R0 PAL DVD of DORIANA GREY [Label: ABCDVD]. If anyone can help me out please contact me by email or comment below.

Robert Monell

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