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Jess Franco’s Killer Barbys – The Blu Review

Review by Roger Carpenter

I have to admit I didn’t have many positive expectations for this later-in-life Jess Franco flick. I’m a Franco fan, but not a Franco apologist. I really enjoy a good number of his films but recognize he’s churned out some real clunkers, especially the period immediately after 1987’s Faceless. The reputation of Killer Barbys was less than stellar with even hard-core Franco fans generally dismissing the film. So it was that I received a screener from Kino Lorber and popped the Blu-ray in. I figured I’d watch it once then toss it in the corner and allow it to gather dust. At least I’d have one more Franco film for my collection even if I never opened the case again. However, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was entertained throughout most of the film. This may say more about my
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

200 Greatest Horror Films (30-21)

Special Mention: Werckmeister Harmonies

Directed by Bela Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky

Written by László Krasznahorkai and Bela Tarr

2000, Hungary / Italy / Germany

Genre: Emotional Horror

Bela Tarr is a filmmaker whose work is a highly acquired taste, but as a metaphysical horror story, Werckmeister Harmonies is an utter masterpiece that should appeal to most cinephiles. The film title refers to the 17th-century German organist-composer Andreas Werckmeister, esteemed for his influential structure and harmony of music. Harmonies is strung together like a magnificent symphony working on the viewer’s emotions over long stretches of time even when the viewer is unaware of what’s going on. Attempting to make sense of Tarr’s movies in strict narrative terms is not the best way to go about watching his films; but regardless if you come away understanding Harmonies or not, you won’t soon forget the film. Harmonies is a technical triumph, shot
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Jesús Franco obituary

Prolific Spanish film-maker who specialised in psychedelic gothic horror – often laced with sex and violence

According to the Internet Movie Database, the Spanish film-maker Jesús Franco, who has died aged 82, directed 199 films, from El árbol de España in 1957 to Al Pereira vs the Alligator Ladies in 2012, a record few can match in the era of talking pictures. Given that many Franco films exist in three or four variant versions, sometimes so radically different that alternative cuts qualify as separate movies, his overall tally might be considerably higher.

Born Jesús Franco Manera, he was most often credited – at least on international release prints – as Jess Frank or Jess Franco, though he used a host of pseudonyms, writing scripts as David Khune, composing music as Pablo Villa and co-directing pornographic films (with his long-term muse Lina Romay) as Rosa Almirall. He was a true man of the cinema, whose CV ranged from
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Underground Sex and Euro-Horror Director Dead; Reviled by Catholic Church, Goya Winner

Spanish director dies following a stroke: Best known for his nearly two hundred underground, "exploitation" films "I think I was born because my father and my mother had sex ... ." Nope, that has nothing to do with the anti-censorship lectured delivered by Oz the Great and Powerful and Interior. Leather Bar's James Franco online. The words above were uttered by another Franco, a Spaniard. No, not the foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing military ruler Francisco Franco, but multitasking filmmaker Jesús Franco, aka Jess Franco aka dozens of other aliases, including those in honor of jazz performers Clifford Brown and James P. Johnson. His oeuvre included about 200 films, among them The White Slave, The Sexual History of O, Macumba Sexual, , Emmanuelle Exposed, Vampyros Lesbos, The Mistresses of Dr. Jekyll, and White Cannibal Queen. The director died today in Malaga, a city in southern Spain, after suffering a stroke. According to reports, he had never truly
See full article at Alt Film Guide »

Wamg Tribute: Director Jess Franco – 1930-2013

Sad news from Spain. Legendary director Jesús Franco Manera, aka Jess Franco, aka Clifford Brown and a couple dozen more pseudonyms, often took from the names of the American jazz musicians he so admired, has died at the age of 82. Franco suffered a stroke last week from which he couldn’t recover.

His Erotic Rites Of Frankenstein featured a shrieking, silver-skinned Frankenstein’s monster relentlessly whipping a man and a woman tied together over a bed of spikes. It was but one of countless sublime images from the output of the most prolific Exploitation director of all-time (yes, that includes Corman). With a repertoire of over 200 titles, Franco enriched the world of Eurohorror/Exploitation by writing, directing, and scoring a vast variety of films, including masterpieces such as Female Vampire, Count Dracula, Faceless, Night Of The Bloody Judge, Eugenie De Sade, and Venus In Furs, an epic amount of art,
See full article at WeAreMovieGeeks.com »

Rest in Peace: Jess "Jesus" Franco

Some truly sad news out of Spain this morning as the horror genre mourns the passing of one of its most prolific filmmakers: Jess "Jesus" Franco.

As reported by El Pais, the word broke today, where Kike Mesa, director of the 2007 documentary Jess Franco: Way of Life, announced Franco's passing early this morning at the age of 82.

Franco's output was simply staggering, having helmed nearly 200 films ranging from shorts to features (and many uncredited works as well). He is perhaps most known for the 1971 erotic vampire opus Vampyros Lesbos (1971), which focused on a vampire's efforts to seduce a young office worker into the world of undead and erotic delights. More of Franco's most impressive works are The Awful Dr. Orloff (1962), The Blood of Fu Manchu (1968), Exorcism (1975), Bloody Moon (1981) and Faceless (1988).

Mr. Franco was never perhaps as well-regarded as he should've been among his peers. His films were often derided
See full article at Dread Central »

100 + Greatest Horror Movies (pt.6) 25-1

Throughout the month of October, Editor-in-Chief and resident Horror expert Ricky D, will be posting a list of his favorite Horror films of all time. The list will be posted in six parts. Click here to see every entry.

As with all lists, this is personal and nobody will agree with every choice – and if you do, that would be incredibly disturbing. It was almost impossible for me to rank them in order, but I tried and eventually gave up.

****

Special Mention:

Shock Corridor

Directed by Samuel Fuller

Written by Samuel Fuller

1963, USA

Shock Corridor stars Peter Breck as Johnny Barrett, an ambitious reporter who wants to expose the killer at the local insane asylum. In order to solve the case, he must pretend to be insane so they have him committed. Once in the asylum, Barrett sets to work, interrogating the other patients and keeping a close eye on the staff.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made Part 7: The 62 Greatest (# 31-1)

31 – Rosemary’s Baby

Directed by Roman Polanski

USA, 1968

Roman Polanski’s brilliant horror-thriller was nominated for two Oscars, winning Best Supporting Actress for Ruth Gordon. The director’s first American film, adapted from Ira Levin’s horror bestseller, is a spellbinding and twisted tale of Satanism and pregnancy. Supremely mounted, the film benefits from it’s strong atmosphere, apartment setting, eerie childlike score and polished production values by cinematographer William Fraker. The cast is brilliant, with Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes as the young couple playing opposite Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer, the elderly neighbors. There is ominous tension in the film from first frame to last – the climax makes for one of the greatest endings of all time. Rarely has a film displayed such an uncompromising portrait of betrayal as this one. Career or marriage – which would you choose?

30 – Eraserhead

Directed by David Lynch

USA, 1977

Filmed intermittently over the course of a five-year period,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Greatest Horror Movies Ever Made Part 7: 50 Greatest Horror Films (# 15-1)

25 – Halloween

Directed by John Carpenter

1978 – Us

A historical milestone that single-handedly shaped and altered the future of the entire genre. This seminal horror flick actually gets better with age; it’s downright transcendent and holds up with determination as an effective thriller that will always stand head and shoulders above the hundreds of imitators to come. Halloween had one hell of an influence on the entire film industry. You have to admire how Carpenter avoids explicit onscreen violence, and achieves a considerable power almost entirely through visual means, using its widescreen frame, expert hand-held camerawork, and terrifying foreground and background imagery.

24 – Black Christmas

Directed by Bob Clark

1974 – Canada

We never did find out who Billy was. Maybe it’s for the best, since they never made any sequels to Bob Clark’s seminal slasher film, a film which predates Carpenter’s Halloween by four years. Whereas Texas Chainsaw Massacre, released the same year,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The horror princess: Caroline Munro

One of the highlights of my trip to Whitby in October 2010 for the Hammer Horror Exhibition was meeting someone who once a teenage crush of mine - Caroline Munro. Still breathtakingly beautiful, the stylish former Hammer glamour girl and one-time face of those famous Navy Rum posters, is also a polite, well spoken and utterly charming lady who clearly has a lot of time for her fans. Not surprisingly I went weak at the knees when I met her; I guess schoolboy crushes never truly fade away!

Thanks to her stunning looks, Caroline could easily alternate from sexy heroine to even sexier villainess even if her soft English rose voice was often dubbed over with something more suited to her bad girl image. Sadly her screen potential was never fully realised, but despite not achieving the major film stardom she really deserved, her popularity among genre fans remains very high.
See full article at Shadowlocked »

Blu-Ray Round-Up: ‘Wallander,’ ‘Metalocalypse,’ ‘Maniac,’ ‘The Dry Land’

Chicago – What on Earth do metal rock stars, a British detective, a 30-year-old slasher flick, and a movie starring a kid from “That ’70s Show” have in common? Nothing but release dates that shuffle them into the world-famous Round-Up, our feature that captures synopsis, cast & crew, tech details, and special features for discerning buyers. Pick your favorite.

Wallander: Faceless Killers, The Man Who Smiled, and The Fifth Woman” was released on Blu-ray on October 19th, 2010.

Maniac” was released on Blu-ray on October 26th, 2010.

The Dry Land” and “Metalocalypse: Season Three” will be released on Blu-ray on November 9th, 2010.

Maniac

Photo credit: Blue Underground

Synopsis: “Frank Zito (a career performance by co-writer/co-executive producer Joe Spinell of Rocky and The Godfather fame) is a deeply disturbed man, haunted by the traumas of unspeakable childhood abuse. And when these horrific memories begin to scream inside his mind,
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Greatest Scream Queens

Debbie Rochon, often described as a scream queen herself, wrote in an article originally published in Gc Magazine that "a true Scream Queen isn't The Perfect Woman. She's sexy, seductive, but most importantly 'attainable' to the average guy. Or so it would seem." Nastassja Kinski Films: To the Devil a Daughter (1976) [1] Cat People (1982) [2] The Day the World Ended (2001) [3] Inland Empire (2006) [4] Kinski will always be remembered for the iconic photograph shot by Richard Avedon (with a snake coiled around her body) and her role in Paul Schrader's (not so good) remake of Cat People. Needless to say, it was a hit at the box office and Kinski deservingly received a Saturn Award for Best Actress. Caroline Munro Films: The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) [5] Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) [6] Dracula A.D. 1972 [7] Maniac (1980) [8] Faceless (1987) [9] Demons 6 (1989) [10] Caroline Munro seduced audiences in her Hammer roles in films like Dracula A.D. 1972, but for gore hounds,
See full article at SoundOnSight »

The Sleazy World of Jess Franco

Body Count: Volume 13 Horror has seen its fair share of hacks. The genre may not necessarily have its roots in exploitation, but it didn't take hucksters long to figure out that you can make a simultaneously schlocky and profitable movie on whatever currency happens to be jingling around in your pocket. So for all the Tod Brownings, George Romeros and Alfred Hitchcocks out there, there's a Bruno Mattei. These clowns have crafted monstrously prolific careers by way of a long resume of catastrophic cinematic misfires. Italy has, per capita, more of these celluloid slinging jokers than anywhere else in the world but none are so horrifically misguided as Spain's own Jesus Franco. Franco, whose career began in 1959, has cranked out more than 200 films, the bulk of them produced in the 70's and 80's. The actual total of Franco pictures is completely unknown and has been estimated to land somewhere in the 250's.
See full article at SoundOnSight »

Jess Franco's Bloody Moon

The weird and wonderful work of controversial genre filmmaking legend Jesus "Jess" Franco came to my attention via an article in Fangoria, the periodical I currently write for. I was in the late 80's and I was in my early teens and one of my favorite Fango scribes, Tim Lucas, had scribbled a piece based on his intrepid investigations into the serpentine oeuvre of the elusive Eurotrash auteur. It was a fascinating column – the first of an ongoing series that would bleed over into Fango's sister magazine, Gorezone – that attempted to differentiate between authentic "Franco's", those he merely had a hand in creatively and the myriad of none-to-clever forgeries.

Reading Lucas's words was akin to following a sort of cinema obsessed Indiana Jones down a spiraling wormhole of weird movie bliss. It was my first master class in the mind boggling world of vintage international exploitation filmmaking and perhaps more profoundly,
See full article at Fangoria »

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