30 July, 2013


This is looking Great! A mannequin in the basement sex room adjacent to the torture chamber of Martine De Bressac (Alice Arno). More to come. Thanks to Pete Tombs. This is going to be a must-have.

28 July, 2013


What does this film director and this French psychoanalyst  have in common? Find out in my upcoming series, THE MIRROR STAGE.

The Mirror Stage [French: stade du miroir] is a term probably largely unknown outside of the the theory, practice and history of psychoanalyis.

TOP: Jess Franco as the voyeur-Russian spy in UNA RAJITA PARA DOS (1982) 
BOTTOM: Jacques Lacan lecturing. 
This series will consider some interesting possible parallel's between Jacques Lacan's theoretical psychological concept of THE MIRROR STAGE and Jess Franco's long running deployment of mirror imagery in his films.

Lacan first made public his theory as a paper presented at
the International Psychoanalytic Congress in Marienbad. LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, the 1961 French Art Film classic, a labyrinth of hypnotic mise en scene written by Alain-Robbe Grillet and directed by Alain Resnais, comes immediately to mind.... right?

Beyond the joke there is something to be said concerning the relation of the theory and the central placement of the mirror as both a symbolic object and a stylistic signfiier in the cinema of Jess Franco. To name another film, AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO, a key title in the prolific auteur's filmo from 1973, a year in which he made, or partially made, up to 12 feature films.

I actually had the chance to talk with the director in some detail about the film and his evaluation, intentions and practice during an [unpublished] interview I conducted with him by telephone in 2004.
But first, in the next blog post on this topic, we'll attempt to outline Lacan's theory, at least to the best of my ability, given my limited understanding of psychoanalytic theory and Lacan's dense texts on the topic.

(C) Robert Monell 2013

20 July, 2013


JESS FRANCO LIVE! On Saturday, July 20 @ 5PM ET we continue our live chat on CINEMADROME, discussing the director's 1980s output, the decade when he returned to Spain and let all Hell break loose. First up is the notorious Women in Prison epic, SADOMANIA, starring the late, great Ajita Wilson. Be there! Scroll down to the CHATROOM @ http://www.cinemadrome.yuku.com/

13 July, 2013

TODAY: Live Jess Franco Chat on CINEMADROME!

JESS FRANCO LIVE CHAT: THE 1980s Films. Saturday, July 13, at 5PM ET we'll be discussing Jess Franco's 1980's films as the topic. We'll be working our way through ALL of them, one by one, starting later today.... Be there. On CINEMADROME CHAT. http://www.cinemadrome.yuku.com/


09 July, 2013


Soledad Miranda in EL CONDE DRACULA [Top] and EUGENIE DE SADE [Bottom]

Soledad Rendón Bueno (9 July 1943 – 18 August 1970), the Spanish actress-singer who is best known as Soledad Miranda, would have celebrated her 70th birthday today if not for a cruel twist of fate which occurred on the Costa Del Sol highway near Lisbon on August 18, 1970. But Soledad Miranda survives as an international icon of Cinema. The tragic car accident which took her life at the age of 27 happened at the height of her career, just as she was about to sign a multi-year contract with German producer Artur Brauner.
But this event also allowed her to enter the realm of legend, propelled by the seven films she managed to complete the last year of her life. These films, directed by Jess Franco (the final three co-produced by Brauner), illustrated her protean abilities as a performer. The theatrical success of the iconic VAMPYROS LESBOS in Germany at the time and the subsequent establishment of such films as EUGUENIE DE SADE and SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY as cult classics on VHS and DVD have given her a kind of immortality. Her image is all around us. On DVDs, posters, album covers, screenshots, Youtube videos, vintage adverts. She certainly qualifies as one of the Queens of the Internet. Just Google her name.

By 1970 she had already appeared in supporting roles in both Spanish and international co productions such as PYRO, THE SOUND OF HORROR, SUGAR COLT and 100 RIFLES, sometimes playing opposite of American stars like Barry Sullivan and Burt Reynolds. She was a well known personality in Spain even before the final Franco films. But she moved into a different dimension in 1969, starting with her haunting and haunted performance as Lucy in Franco's EL CONDE DRACULA. Even the normally aloof Christopher Lee was took notice of her special magnetism. A few months later, appearing under the name Susann Korda, she was equally haunting, but also vulnerable, dangerous and ultimately touching as the title character in EUGENIE DE SADE, one of Jess Franco's unquestionable masterworks. The unfinished JULIETTE and the (MIA) SEX CHARADE followed. But it is with her show stopping presence as the sensuous, mysterious vampire Nadine Korody that she seems to break through yet another boundary, leaving no doubt that we are in the presence of an arresting talent able to make her heart and soul visible onscreen. She developed this sexual/existential ambiguity even further as the vengeful widow who seduces and kills her victims in SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY. She seems to freeze her victims in place before melting them down.

Who know what would have eventually happened if she had been able to continue to act during the next four decades? Superstar status on an international scale? A flame out? Or a slow fade away?  What's important now is her legacy, now preserved on countless DVDs, photographs, albums and in books, articles and discussion of a certain type of Cinema. So, while mourning her loss let's also celebrate her life on her 70th birthday. Soledad Miranda Lives!

04 July, 2013


http://www.cinemadrome.yuku.comI'm planning a new CHAT to be called JESS FRANCO LIVE[S] regarding the career and filmography of Jess Franco which will feature news and special topic discussions on my CINEMADROME site @ http://www.cinemadrome.yuku.com/  Just go to the site, register and scroll down to the CHAT FORUM and click on.
This first CHAT will be this Saturday, July 6 at 5PM ET. The subject will be THE LEGACY OF JESS FRANCO AND LINA ROMAY. Hope to see you there.