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Jesús Franco
Born Jesús Franco Manera
12 May 1930 (age 79)
Madrid, Spain
Occupation Director, screenwriter, cinematographer, actor
Years active 1959 to present

Jesús "Jess" Franco (born 12 May 1930 as Jesús Franco Manera) is a Spanish film director, writer, cinematographer and actor. Though he had an American box office success with his first women in prison film, 99 Women, in 1969, he never achieved wide commercial success. Franco has nevertheless retained a small cult following with his sexually-charged horror films. He was very prolific during the 1960s through the late 1980s, and while he continues to work, his output has slowed down in recent years.



Franco has 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 are taken from famous jazz musicians, such as Clifford Brown and James P. Johnson.

Franco's themes often revolved around lesbian vampires, women in prison, and sexual exploration (including several films based on the writings of Marquis de Sade). Franco also worked in other exploitation film genres, such as cannibal films and nunsploitation.

His movies often contain long, uninterrupted shots of nude women writhing uncontrollably on the floor or in bed (such as in Lorna The Exorcist and La comtesse noire). He is also notorious for his use of hand-held camera and zoom shots, especially between 1968 and 1975.

He has frequently worked with actors Howard Vernon, Antonio Mayans, Paul Müller, Christopher Lee, Soledad Miranda, Maria Rohm, Lina Romay (his longtime companion) and Klaus Kinski. Kinski is famous for his dislike of directors, but according to Franco, he never had any trouble working with him.

Spanish comic-book Iberia Inc. by Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Marín mentioned a fictional movie, Casta de Heroes directed by Jesús Franco, about Spanish superheroes of the past where Paul Naschy played "the Ogre", a character inspired in lycantropic villain Lince Dorado. Unsatisfied with this portrayal of himself, Lince Dorado arranged for the original to be lost, and no copy of the film is supposed to remain.


Year Title Alternative Title(s) Notes
1959 We Are Eighteen
1960 Red Lips
Queen of the Tabarin
1961 Vampiresses 1930
Gritos en la noche The Awful Dr. Orloff · Screams in the Night
1962 Death Whistles the Blues
The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus Hand of a Dead Man
1963 The Jaguar
Rififi in the City
1964 Dr. Orloff's Monster The Secret of Dr. Orloff
1965 The Diabolical Dr. Z Miss Muerte
1966 Attack of the Robots Cards on the Table
Residence for Spies
1967 Lucky the Inscrutable
Necronomicon Dreamt Sin Succubus
1968 Two Undercover Angels Red Lips Sadisterotica
Kiss Me Monster
The Blood of Fu Manchu Fu Manchu and the Kiss of Death
The Castle of Fu Manchu
The Girl from Rio Su-muru · City Without Men
99 Women
Marquis de Sade's Justine Deadly Sanctuary
1969 Eugenie, The Story of Her Journey into Perversion Les Inassouvies · The Insatiable Ones
Venus in Furs Black Angel
The Bloody Judge Throne of Fire · Night of the Blood Monster · The Witch-Killer of Blackmoor
Count Dracula
1970 Sex Charade
Eugenie de Sade 2000
Nightmares Come at Night Eyes of the Night
Vampyros Lesbos Las Vampiras
She Killed in Ecstasy Mrs. Hyde
The Devil Came from Akasava
Death Packs a Suitcase The Death Avenger of Soho
The Revenge of Dr. Mabuse
X-312 Flight to Hell
1971 Virgin Report
Robinson and His Wild Slaves Sexy Darlings
Dracula vs. Frankenstein Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein · The Screaming Dead
A Virgin among the Living Dead Christina, Princess of Eroticism
Lovers of Devil's Island
Daughter of Dracula
1972 The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein The Curse of Frankenstein
The Demons
Diary of a Nymphomaniac Sinner
The House of Vice Dolls for Sale · The Vibrating Girls · Les Ebranlees
A Captain of 15 Years
The Silence of the Grave
The Sinister Eyes of Dr. Orloff
Mystery of the Red Castle unfinished
1973 The Other Side of the Mirror The Obscene Mirror
How to Seduce a Virgin Pleasure for Three · Beyond the Grave
The Bare-Breasted Countess Female Vampire · The Loves of Irina · Erotikill · The Swallowers
Maciste vs. the Amazon Queen Lustful Amazons
The Erotic Exploits of Maciste in Atlantis The Gobblers
Kiss Me Killer unfinished
Who Raped Linda? Linda's Hot Nights
The Perverse Countess The Munchers
Tender and Perverse Emanuelle
Relax Baby unfinished
1974 Night of the Killers Sospiri · Night of the Skull
Celestine, Maid at your Service
Sexy a Go-Go
The Sexiest Man in the World
Exorcism and Black Masses Exorcisme
Lorna the Exorcist The Devil's Possessed
Les Chatouilleuses Nuns in Madness · The Ticklish Ones
Les Emmerdeuses The Troublemakers
1975 Midnight Party Lady Porno
Shining Sex
Razzia sur le Plaisir Two Women in a Golden Cage
De Sade's Juliette
Barbed Wire Dolls Frauengefängnis · Caged Women
Die Sklavinnen The Slaves
Downtown: The Naked Dolls of the Underworld
The Portrait of Doriana Gray
Women Behind Bars Diamonds for Hell
Mandinga unfinished
White Skin, Black Thigh
1977 Jack the Ripper Erotico Profondo
Love Camp
Love Letters of a Portuguese Nun
Sexy Sisters Swedish Nympho Slaves
Call of the Blonde Goddess Porno Shock
Ilsa the Wicked Warden Greta the Mad Butcher
Wild Lust
Women without Innocence Wicked Women
Women in Cellblock 9
Das Frauenhaus Blue Rita
1978 Elles Font Tout They Do It All
I'm Burning Up All Over
Cocktail Special
Two Female Spies with Flowered Panties Opal of Fire
Erotic Symphony
1979 Sadist of Notre Dame Demoniac
Mondo Cannibale Cannibals; White Cannibal Queen
The Girls of Copacabana
Man Hunter Sexo Canibal · Devil Hunter · Mandingo Manhunter
1980 Sex Is Crazy
Eugenie: The Story of a Perversion
Pick Up Girls The Girl in the Transparent Panties
Sadomania: The Hell of Passion Hellhole Women
The Story of Linda Naked Super-Witches of the Rio Amore
Bloody Moon Profondo Tenebre · The Saw of Death
1981 Cecilia: Sexual Aberrations of a Married Woman
The Lake of the Virgins
The Night of the Open Sexes
The Hotel of Love Affairs
Oasis of the Zombies Tomb of the Living Dead · Blood-Sucking Nazi Zombies
Macumba Sexual
1982 Moans of Pleasure
The Sexual Story of O
Black Boots, Leather Whip
The Inconfessable Orgies of Emanuelle
The Sinister Dr. Orloff Macabre Experiments
The House of the Lost Women
The Night Has a Thousand Sexes
The Intimate Confessions of an Exhibitionist
A Crack for Two
Mansion of the Living Dead
1983 Camino Solitario Lonely Road
Blood on My Shoes
Alone Against Terror
The Blues of Pop Street
Fury in the Tropics Orgasmo Perverso
Lillian the Perverted Virgin
The Tanga Girls
Revenge in the House Of Usher Neurosis
The Grandfather, the Countess, and Scarlet the Naughty Scarlet
Diamonds of Kilimandjaro Treasure of the White Goddess
1984 The Shadow of Judoka vs. Dr. Wong
In Search of the Golden Dragon
How Much Does a Spy Cost?
Dirty Game in Casablanca
White Bay
Voices of Death
Golden Temple Amazons
A Penis for Three
1985 The Last of the Filipinas
Bangkok: Appointment with Death
Travel to Bangkok, Coffin Included
The White Slave
Lulu's Talking Butthole
Lulu's Pacifier
The Game Walks Among Whistles
1986 Slaves of Crime
The Girl with the Red Lips
Las Chuponas The Suckers
For Babies, Warm Milk
The Watcher and the Exhibitionist
Bragueta Story unfinished
AIDS, the 20th Century Plague unfinished
Tribulations of a Cross-eyed Buddha unfinished
1987 Phollastia
Falo Crest
Dark Mission: Operation Cocaine Flowers of Evil
1988 Faceless Predators of the Night
1989 Esmeralda Bay
The Fall of Eagles War Song
1990 Downtown Heat: Ciudad Baja Viper's Point
1992 Don Quijote
1994 Jungle of Fear unfinished
1996 Killer Barbys
1998 Tender Flesh
Lust for Frankenstein
Mari-Cookie and the Killer Tarantula in 8 Legs to Love You
1999 Vampire Blues
Red Silk
Dr. Wong's Virtual Hell
Broken Dolls
2000 Helter Skelter
Blind Target
2001 Vampire Junction
2002 Jess Franco's Incubus
2003 Killer Barbys vs. Dracula
2005 Flowers of Perversion
Flowers of Passion
2008 A Bad Day at the Cemetery Crypt of the Cursed Women
2010 Paula-Paula: an audiovisual experience

Further reading

  • Jess Franco, Memorias del tío Jess (2004) (autobiography, in Spanish)
  • Stéphane du Mesnilot, Jess Franco - Énergies du fantasme (2004, in French)
  • Alain Petit, Manacoa Files (1994-1999, in French)
  • Lucas Balbo, Peter Blumenstock, Christian Kessler, Tim Lucas, Obsession - The Films of Jess Franco (1993)
  • Tim Lucas, How to Read a Franco Film, in Video Watchdog n. 1 (1990)
  • The book Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984 (1994) by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs dedicates a chapter to him.
  • Benedikt Eppenberger, Daniel Stapfer Maedchen, Machos und Moneten: Die unglaubliche Geschichte des Schweizer Kinounternehmers Erwin C. Dietrich. Mit einem Vorwort von Jess Franco. Verlag Scharfe Stiefel, Zurich, 2006, ISBN 3-033-00960-3
  • (Italian) Robert Monell, Il codice segreto di Jesus Franco, in Nocturno Dossier n. 60, luglio 2007

External links

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