Reviews & Commentary

Overview for jess-franco

Female Vampire (1973)

Jess Franco has never really been one for tight plotting, which he proves yet again in 1973′s Female Vampire. Franco himself (under one of his many pen-names, Jess Franck) stars as Dr Roberts, a pathologist investigating a series of murders he, quite rightly, believes are being perpetrated by a vampire. Franco’s muse, Lina Romay in one of her first starring roles, plays Countess Irina Karlstein, a vampire who walks around naked and kills some people. Our leading man is Jack Taylor who plays — I dunno, a poet? He doesn’t really do much for the first hour of the film, except trim his moustache and wax philosophical in voice-over. He does have a handsome moustache, though. That’s really all the plot there is.


Written by Kalle on Thursday April 21, 2011
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, vampire, lina-romay, jess-franco

Snakewoman (2005)

There are good directors, there are bad directors, and then there are directors like Jesús “Jess” Franco. I like Franco, but the man is a cipher: his œuvre consists of a great many bad films and a few gems; he seems often to be technically incompetent, but he was good enough to A.D. for Orson Welles; his films are often blatantly pornographic and shamelessly exploitative, but a very few of them are honest-to-god works of genius. You can watch ten of his movies, and nine of them will be awful. Then, just when you’re about to dismiss him as a hack, the tenth will be a weird, surreal, seemingly-accidental masterpiece. I honestly can’t decide if he’s just a hack who happened to make a few good films from some twisted law of probability or if he’s a good director who only occasionally cared enough, was given enough money, and free enough reins to put in some effort. My relationship with Franco’s work is a constant search for those aberrations in his œuvre.

Snakewoman, I’m afraid, isn’t one of those aberrations


Written by Kalle on Monday August 17, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 2000s, jess-franco, lina-romay

Vampyros Lesbos (1971)

Linda Westinghouse (Ewa Strömberg) is a lawyer who has a recurring dream about a mysterious brunette (Soledad Miranda, credited as Susann Korda) whom she later, on a date with her boyfriend, Omar (Andrés Monales), sees dancing in a nightclub. The dance involves Miranda taking off her clothes and putting them on a mannequin, which brings the doll to life. “You are very excited,” says Omar to Linda. Linda denies it, but in a session with her therapist, Dr. Steiner (Paul Müller) — who doodles distractedly in his notebook, which quite subtly sets up a recurring theme of masculine disregard for women’s experiences — we learn otherwise; Linda confesses that her dreams of Miranda have more than once brought her to orgasm


Written by Kalle on Wednesday August 12, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, lesbian-vampire, vampire, jess-franco, soledad-miranda, featured

Downtown - Die nackten Puppen der Unterwelt (1975)

Downtown stars Jess Franco himself as Al Pereira, a down-trodden, debt-ridden private eye. One day a dame enters his office and—stop me if you’ve heard this one before—offers him a job he can’t refuse. The dame (Lina Romay) claims she’s the wife of a local mobster and wants Pereira to get photos of him (the mobster, not Franco) cheating on her. As you might already have guessed, things don’t go quite as planned, and Pereira gets entangled in the con Lina Romay’s character, Cynthia, has got going with her girlfriend, Lola (Martine Stedil). As you do.


Written by Kalle on Tuesday July 7, 2009
Permalink - Category: Film - Tags: 1970s, jess-franco, lina-romay