Jesús Franco Manera is a Actor, Director, Scriptwriter, Producer, Assistant Director, Director of Photography, Editor, Sound and Makeup Effects Espagnol born on 12 may 1930 at Madrid (Espagne)
Jesús Franco Manera
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Birth name Jesús Franco ManeraNationality EspagneBirth 12 may 1930Jesús "Jess" Franco (born Jesús Franco Manera; 12 May 1930 – 2 April 2013) was a Spanish film director, writer, composer, cinematographer and actor.
at Madrid (Espagne
)Death 2 april 2013
(at 82 years) at Málaga (Espagne
Franco started out in 1954 as an assistant director in the Spanish film industry, performing many tasks including composing music for some of the films as well as co-writing a number of the screenplays. He assisted a number of well-known directors such as Joaquin Romero Marchent, Leon Klimovsky and Juan Antonio Bardem. After working on more than 20 films, he decided to get into directing films in 1959, making a few musicals and a crime drama called Red Lips.
In 1960, Franco took a producer friend to a cinema to see the newly released Hammer horror film The Brides of Dracula and the two decided to get into the horror film business. His career took off in 1961 with his cult classic The Awful Dr. Orloff (aka Gritos en la noche), which received wide distribution in the United States and the UK. Franco wrote and directed Orloff, and even supplied some of the music for the film. In the mid-1960s, he went on to direct two other horror films, then proceeded to turn out a number of James Bond-like spy thrillers and softcore sex films based on the works of the Marquis de Sade (which remained one of his major influences throughout his career). Though he had some American box office success with Necronomicon (1967), Ninety-Nine Women (1968) and two 1969 Christopher Lee films — The Bloody Judge and Count Dracula — he never achieved wide commercial success.
After discovering the beautiful Soledad Miranda (he first used her in his Count Dracula), Franco moved from Spain to France in 1969 so that he could make more violent and erotic films, and it was at this point that his career began to go downhill commercially, as he turned to low-budget filmmaking with an accent on more adult material. Soledad starred in a series of 6 sexy thrillers for Franco, all made within a one-year period (including his cult classic Vampyros Lesbos), after which she was killed in a tragic automobile accident in Portugal in 1970. A year or two later, a grieving Franco discovered a new leading lady in the person of Lina Romay, and the two went on to live and work together for the next 40 years, churning out literally dozens of often sleazy, very low-budget movies.
Although he produced a number of relatively successful horror films in the early 70's (Dracula vs. Frankenstein, The Bare-Breasted Countess, A Virgin Among the Living Dead), many people in the industry considered him a porn director due to the huge number of X-rated adult films he began turning out. Franco returned to low-budget horror in a brief comeback period from 1980-1983 (Bloody Moon, Oasis of the Zombies, Revenge in the House of Usher), but after 1983, his career took a second downturn as he returned to making mostly pornographic films.
In his later years, he did however get the opportunity to turn out two rather big-budget horror films — Faceless (1988) and Killer Barbys (1996) — both of which showed what great work he could still do when his projects were adequately funded. The entirety of his work after 1996 was direct-to-video films of very low quality, none of which were distributed theatrically. Sadly, Lina Romay died of cancer in 2012, after which Franco died in April 2013 of natural causes at the age of 82.
Franco sometimes worked under various pseudonyms, including David Khune and Frank Hollmann. A big fan of jazz music (and a musician himself), many of his pseudonyms were taken from famous jazz musicians, such as Clifford Brown and James P. Johnson.
Franco's themes often revolved around lesbian vampires, women in prison, surgical horror, sadomasochism, zombies and sexploitation (including several films based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade). He also worked in other exploitation film genres, such as cannibal films, spy films, giallo, crime films, science fiction, jungle adventure, Oriental menace, exorcist films, war movies, historical dramas and nunsploitation. His sex movies often contained long, uninterrupted shots of nude women writhing around on beds. Most of his hardcore films starred his lifelong companion Lina Romay, who admitted in interviews to being an exhibitionist.
Franco was famous for his use of hand-held camera and zoom shots, which he felt lent realism to his films. He also was not averse to filming several movies at the same time, knocking together a second feature on the unsuspecting producer's dime. Many of his actors only found out years after the fact that Franco had starred them in films for which they had never been paid.
His main claim to fame, however, is that he managed to write and direct around 160 motion pictures in his lifetime, encompassing a wide swath of different genres, with practically no financial backing available to him. (Note* - Some sources which list as many as 200 titles in Franco's filmography are relisting the same films several times under different variant titles; the filmography on this page is completely accurate.)
In many ways, Franco was the European Ed Wood, in that he churned out an endless array of mostly bad movies filmed on shoestring budgets (using all kinds of schemes to obtain financing) and attracted a circle of bizarre but loyal actors and technicians who moved with him over the years from project to project (while receiving very little money for their efforts). Many of his actors were over the hill performers in the twilight of their careers, his actresses shameless exhibitionists. He frequently worked with genre actors Howard Vernon, Antonio Mayans, Paul Müller, Christopher Lee, Jack Taylor, Ewa Stromberg, Luis Barboo, Alberto Dalbes, Soledad Miranda, Maria Rohm, Anne Libert, Monica Swinn, Britt Nichols, Olivier Mathot, Daniel J. White (who also scored most of his films), William Berger, Montserrat Prous, Dennis Price, Vicky Adams, Analia Ivars, Kali Hansa, Pamela Stanford, Amber Newman, Rachel Sheppard, Alice Arno and Klaus Kinski; all of whom are well-known figures to cult film collectors.
Franco lost many of his colleagues in rapid succession in the 1990s: Klaus Kinski & composer Bruno Nicolai died in 1991; William Berger in 1993; Howard Vernon, Nicole Guettard (Franco's first wife) & producer Karl Heinz Mannchen all in 1996; his composer Daniel J. White followed in 1997, and the producer Marius Lesoeur died in 2003.
Relationship with Lina Romay
In 1969-70, Franco made a half-dozen films starring the Spanish beauty Soledad Miranda, and when she was killed in a tragic automobile accident in 1970, he took a 17-year-old actress named Lina Romay under his wing and made her his new star. Franco and Romay were partners for decades, although they were only officially married on 25 April 2008. Until her death in 2012 (taken by cancer at age 57), Lina Romay was his most often utilized actress, as well as his life companion, soulmate and muse.
Franco was married once before to a Nicole Guettard (their marriage apparently running approximately from 1962 through 1975)....Ms. Guettard being gradually replaced in Franco's life by Lina Romay. (Nicole worked as a script consultant on some of Franco's films while they were married, and even acted in a few of his films. Her daughter from an earlier marriage, Caroline Riviere, also acted in a few Franco films.)
Oasis of the Zombies
Franco was supposed to direct a film for Eurocine Productions in 1980 called Lake of the Living Dead (a horror film about revived Nazi zombies) but after submitting the script, he had a falling out with the producers, Marius and Daniel Lesouer, who immediately hired French horror film director Jean Rollin to direct it (later retitling it Zombie Lake). Many fans regard this as a Franco film, although Franco only contributed to the script. Rollin later said in interviews he only did the film as a favor for the Lesoeurs, and that if he knew "how bad" the script was, he wouldn't have done it.
The Lesoeurs later had Rollin direct some newly filmed zombie footage in 1981 to be added to Franco's A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973) for its 1981 re-release. Recently, Franco purists insisted that "Virgin" be released in its former unadulterated form on DVD, as the added Jean Rollin footage greatly slowed down the pace of the film and was really only filler material.
Franco later directed another film for Lesouer called Oasis of the Zombies (aka Bloodsucking Nazi Zombies on VHS) in 1981, which had a plot very similar to Zombie Lake (also involving revived Nazi zombies). Franco simultaneously shot a variant version of Oasis of the Zombies (on the producers' dime) starring Lina Romay and his "regulars" which was apparently released only in Spain, under the title La Tumba de los Muertos Vivientes.
Franco suffered a severe stroke on 27 March 2013, and was taken to a hospital in Malaga, Spain, where he died early on the morning of 2 April. He was 82 years old. Smoking probably contributed greatly to the stroke, as Franco smoked about 3 cartons of cigarettes a week. Fans think he may have died of a broken heart, since he died only a year after losing his wife Lina Romay to cancer. Franco had been working on Revenge of the Alligator Women at the time, which is to be released posthumously.