01 October, 2010

31 Jess Franco Horror Films for October

October is traditionally the month for ghosts, goblins, witches, black cats, tricks, treats and horrors films. And it culminates with Halloween....

I'm going to try to watch a Jess Franco horror film each day this October. I'll attempt to put up an image and a brief comment or factoid on each film. Franco is one of the few directors to have actually made 31 horror films in his nearly 200 title filmography.

How many Jess Franco horror films have you seen?

The first title presented for your consideration is KILLER BARBYS VS. DRACULA (2002), the director's second horror film featuring the Spanish punk band Killer Barbies. The first KILLER BARBYS (1995) was sort of a MTV Gothic with lots of gore. This one was shot in the Costa Del Sol's Tivoli World, an elaborate Western-themed amusement park location. It features Spaghetti Westerns icons Aldo Sambrell (NAVAJO JOE), as a greedy promoter, and Dan Van Husen (CUTTHROATS NINE) as a classic vampire hunter in town to stake the unleashed Count Dracula, whose body is on loan from Transylvania.

 In an atypical role Lina Romay appears as a Transylvanian cultural official who acts like a cross between a dominatrix and a Gestapo officer. There are actually two Draculas on the premises, one played by the late Peter Martell (THE BLOODY JUDGE), another 1960s and 70s Spaghetti Western veteran. Katja Bienert, the lead in Franco's 1980 EUGINIE...HISTORIA DE UNA PERVERSION is a reporter trying to sort out who is the real Count and just what the hell is going on. It all takes place amid pseudo Walt Disney icons. It seems as if Donald Duck, Pinocchio and Mickey Mouse emerged full blown from the director's fevered cinema-unconscious as slightly altered, plaster cast Jess Franco versions of the real thing.. Dan Van Husen is very amusing as Dr. Seward and Silvia Superstar is Killer Barbies very sexy lead singer.

Lensed in bursting, sun drenched colors on Betacam SP video and printed on 35 mm film. The result is one of Franco's better looking Digital films. I like this one better than most observers and find the band's songs rather catchy. It's unpretentious, fast moving fun and you don't have to be a fan of Killer Barbies to enjoy it. It's also one of few films from the director's digital period which doesn't feature extensive erotic content and long sex scenes. 


dfordoom said...

I've seen 49 Franco films. I haven't seen Killer Barbys vs Dracula but you've just about convinced me that I ought to!

R. Sterling Gray said...

I've been very curious about these two films, cause I like the band. So they are good?
And is there any erotic content? Cause I do like the sleaze with my Franco.

Robert Monell said...

I like the band. So they are good?
And is there any erotic content? Cause I do like the sleaze with my Franco.

Yeah, I like their look, sound and attitude. Silvia Superstar is really hot. It's fun, light punk pulp and the movies are built around them. The first KILLER BARBYS is pretty gory and has much more sleaze. KBvD is like a live action cartoon with simultated violence and mild sexuality at most.
Some of Franco's digital films have too much sleaze and long sex scenes at the exclusion of anything else, so this is a welcome change of pace for me.

Douglas A. Waltz said...

I wish I had thought of this. Next year then