Jesús Franco, also known as Jess Franco (12 May 1930 2 April 2013) was a Spanish director, writer, editor, actor and jazz musician famous for directed more than 200 films from 1957 to his death on 2013. His films are popular for mixing spy genre with sexploitation and horror, and the Vatican once named Jess Franco and Luis Buñuel as the most dangerous filmmakers in the world.
Franco was a Surrealist No Budget wunderkind living during the Nationalist rule of Spain by Generalissimo Franco. This led him to make heavily censored government propaganda films early in his career for commercial gain. But he soon grew critical and unfavorable toward Franco's regime and so he made films across Europe helping to popularize such diverse Exploitation genres. His films also became popular in arthouses, porn theaters, ghetto Grindhouse, drive-in's and eventually Mom & Pop home video stores. As a premiere cult director, he has a hardcore fanbase of cinephiles who suspect he has big admirers in Hollywood style directors of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Franco started his independent career as Assistant/2nd Unit Director for Orson Welles.
Works by Jess Franco with pages on TV Tropes include:
- The Awful Dr. Orloff
- Bloody Moon
- The Castle of Fu Manchu
- Count Dracula (1970)
- The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein
- Jack the Ripper (1976)
- Karate a Muerte en Torremolinos (only as an actor)
- Venus in Furs
Tropes applying to Franco and his films:
- Author Appeal: Eroticism, jazz music, mad scientists, and mind control frequently factor into his films.
- Banned in China: Many of his films were denied exhibition licenses in Spain for flaunting the Francoist regime censorship laws. Several also wound up the UK's Video Nasties list.
- Money, Dear Boy: Openly admitted to hating most of his films, having just made them to earn a living.
- Production Posse: Often cast his muses/real-life partners Soledad Miranda and Lina Romay, and he co-directed several with the latter. Other actors he frequently worked with were Howard Vernon, Jack Taylor, Antonio Mayans, Paul Muller, Herbert Lom, Fred Williams, Klaus Kinski, Christopher Lee, Dennis Price, William Berger, and Maria Rohm. Many of his film were scored by Daniel White.
- Reality Subtext: The frequency of corrupt authority figures and mind control in his film reflect his real-life conflicts with the Francoist regime and the Catholic Church. Most of his films had to be produced outside of Spain, since he was eventually blacklisted.