What Jess Franco films do you want on Blu-ray?
A DVD/Blu-ray company has asked me what Jess Franco films fans most want to see on Blu-ray in the next year and beyond. We all know several titles are coming in HD, but what titles would you like beyond those in the next year or so? Put your list right here in the EL FRANCONOMICON group reply section.
Here’s your chance to have your voice heard. The lists will be read and evaluated. Here’s my list:
AL OTRO LADO DEL ESPEJO (1973): One of the two or three all time best Jess Franco films is a complex, musical murder mystery featuring an award winning performance by Emma Cohen.
LA NOCHE DE LOS SEXOS ABIERTOS (1982): A secret agent (Antonio Mayans) and a nightclub performer (Lina Romay) conduct a violent investigation to locate hidden Nazi treasure. A colorful, atmospheric thriller, stylishly filmed on Canary Island locales with a surprise ending involving a Liszt composition. One of Franco’s “black films” as he called it. Great music and visuals!
NECRONOMICON (1967) aka SUCCUBUS: Still my all time favorite Jess Franco title. This was the one where he broke free and made exactly the film he wanted to make. A delirious, erotic dreamscape which drifts into the viewer’s unconscious mind as an exotic dancer controlled by a demon conducts a harvest of corrupted souls in the Berlin nightclub scene.
MIL SEXOS TIENE LA NOCHE: (1982) Another delirious thriller set in the nightclub world of the Canary Islands. A corrupt performer and his psychic partner (Lina Romay) are not what they seem as a group of criminals attempt to wipe each other out after a robbery. Once again, an almost dialogue free, onieric mystery.
BOTAS NEGRAS LATIGO DE CUERO (1982): Franco’s favorite detective, Al Pereira, meets his match when the ruthless Candy (Lina Romay) involves him in a deadly criminal trap. A gorgeous neo-noir with a sinister score and terrific performances by Antonio Mayans and Lina Romay. An intense S&M interrogation is just one of the hurdles Al must face in this twisted tale which recalls the best Film Noirs of the 1940s.
LA MANSION DE LOS MUERTOS VIVIENTES (1982): A group of crazed monks conduct human sacrifices of tourists at a monastery located near a luxury resort. Jess Franco’s allegory of the Catholic Church’s stranglehold on Spanish culture. The sexual violence and erotic interludes are dialed up way past the maximum here.
EUGENIE DE SADE (1970): My favorite Franco Sade adaptation features my favorite Soledad Miranda performance. One of Jess Franco’s most personal works.
LOS BLUES DE LA CALLE POP (aventuras de Felipe Marlboro, volumen 8)(1984): a punk-styled comic strip on film features a private detective (Antonio Mayans) swimming though the lower depths of Shit City. This film anticipates such more recent films as SIN CITY by decades. An entertaining visual treat with a special role for Jess Franco. Play it again, Jess!
THE CRIMES OF USHER (1983): the long lost original version of the Poe classic, with the more familiar NEUROSIS as a special feature on a double disc set.
SINFONIA EROTICA (1979): Another gorgeously lensed Sade adaptation is even more visually stunning than its model, PLAISIR A TROIS.
LES EBRANLEES (1972): Maybe the sleaziest of the Al Pereira adventures, this time Al is played by Howard Vernon. The burnt out PI investigates a ruthless white slavery ring as he descends into a netherworld of sex and violence.
LES GRANDES EMMERDEUSES (1974): I seem to be in the minority for liking this ultra cheap Eurospy joyride but any film featuring Pamela Stanford and Lina Romay as high spirited diamond thieves needs some of a digital release! An absolute delight from start to finish.
EL SEXO ESTA LOCO (1980): an outlandish, surreal cycle of private Jess Franco jokes revolving around a nightclub troupe. UFOS, aliens and a secret satanic cult are also involved.
EL SINIESTRO DR. ORLOF (1982): My favorite of the Dr. Orloff series features Howard Vernon as the aged mad scientist and Antonio Mayans as his violently demented son. A visually overwhelming film with an abstract synth score performed by the director himself. Filled with weird electronic experiments, sexual violence and a science fiction twist at the end.
EUGENIE, HISTORIA DE UNA PERVERSION (1980): Forget it, it probably won’t happen for various reasons, but this is a favorite version of Sade’s EUGENIE, THE STORY OF HER JOURNEY INTO PERVERSION. Once again, surreal imagery dominates the mise en scene as a demented killer living in a Ricardo Bofill beach house freaks out.
GEMIDOS DE PLACER *1982: A daring stylistic experiment. As in Hitchcock’s ROPE Franco shoots this story of lust and murder in extremely long, unbroken plan sequences. There are only about several dozen individual shots in the entire film as the camera roams around a villa where madness and death erupt. * Released on Spanish DVD.
Also HD upgrades of VENUS IN FURS, SINNER, LORNA, THE EXORCIST would be nice and may be in the works.
C) Robert Monell, 2016