What you first need to understand before watching Jess Franco's Paula-Paula is that it's not a normal movie. There's not script, there's a beginning and ending, but something else in ... See full summary »
Blind Target is the story of a young woman who emigrated from the poor tiny Latin American country of San Hermoso only to strike it rich and famous as an author in the United States. When ... See full summary »
Twenty years ago an artist made a deal with a mysterious woman. In return for a successful life he would give his unborn daughter to her. Now with his daughter Lucy an adult, the strange woman has come to collect.
While driving on tour late night through a lonely road in the countryside of Spain, the van of the punk band "Killer Barbys" has an accident and breaks down. A creepy old man invites the ... See full summary »
A stripper and her sleazy boyfriend are invited by a wealthy woman and her lover to join them on her private island for a weekend of sex games in exchange for a large fee. When the couple ... See full summary »
There's no denying that the Jesus Franco of the 21st Century is a completely distilled version of the diabolical director who enjoyed his heyday in the 1960s and 1970s. Devoid of the healthy budgets pumped into his commercial films of 30 years ago, Franco's new shot-on-video productions are fueled not so much by cash and imagination but by poverty and hallucination. Franco no longer worries about such basics as plot or character development, he moves from scene to scene creating one unbelievable moment and then another, not necessarily caring if the plot or story has moved forward, backward, sideways or completely off the wall. It is as though what's on the screen at the moment is all that matters, what came before or what comes next is anybody's guess -- even Franco's.
One Shot Productions is not, as many have claimed, a bunch of fans paying for Franco's filmed fantasies. The production company seems to enjoy allowing Senor Franco to pull the cinematic wool over unsuspecting viewers eyes time after time. VAMPIRE JUNCTION, for example, takes an inexplicable mix of characters (cowboys, doctors, acrobatic nudist vampires, a Dracula-wannabee, drunks, etc.) and tosses them all into a tourist trap of an old West ghost town and allows them all to shake up against one another for 90 minutes or so. Who knows what happens or why? Seeing nubile naked vampettes walking backwards on all fours like spiders while chubby old sheriffs are taking pot shots at old Scratch as we listen to the town drunk warbling nonsense while sitting on a hobby horse isn't supposed to make sense to anyone but Jesus Franco. Naturally, Lina Romay, with her prime deep in her rear-view mirror, wanders through the proceedings trying to solve whatever mystery the director has foisted on the story.
And it's as though Franco is daring you to try to understand or even try to enjoy anything he puts in front of you.
Many people hate Franco's films and some post vapid commentary on the IMDb or in chat rooms or forums about why he shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a camera. The director and his producers must laugh at those comments all the way to their respective banks. I don't think Franco is going to be appreciated by his contemporaries or even by the grandchildren of his contemporaries. Jess is so off the map that only his true fans who can read the subliminal threads from film to film can truly enjoy his latter day output. For the rest of us, we can push around the tea leaves and embrace the rare -- but always present -- moment of exhilarated genius and wait for the next Franco film or video that will exasperate us no matter how prepared for it we will be.
And, as usual, we'll laugh at the doubters and naysayers, and we'll make believe we understand the canvas Franco is creating for us.
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