CINEMA

Spain’s schlock film king Jesús Franco passes away at 82

Director of 200 movies, he worked with Christopher Lee and Klaus Kinski

The filmmaker Jesús Franco. / CLAUDIO ÁLVAREZ

Spanish filmmaker Jesús Franco, at various times dubbed the king of the B movies and the inventor of bad-taste cinema, has died at the age of 82 in Málaga after suffering a stroke.

Jess Franco directed almost 200 films, beginning with Tenemos 18 años (We Are Eighteen) in 1959, which introduced audiences to his trademark genre mixing and irreverent pop sensibility. The lurid subject matter of his movies encompassed lesbian vampires, Nazi zombies, the “nunsploitation” genre and countless sex movies. Among the stars he worked with were Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski, Jack Palance and Soledad Miranda.

After Miranda’s tragic death in a car accident in 1970, he made a star out of Lina Romay and the pair were partners for many years, finally marrying in 2008. Romay died in 2012.

A cinephile capable of quoting silent film pioneer Louis Feuillade in his 1962 movie Vampiresas 1930 and admired by Quentin Tarantino, he was a second unit director on Orson Welles’s Chimes of Midnight (1966) and in 1992 was behind a much-maligned attempt to assemble footage from the great filmmaker’s unfinished Don Quixote movie.

Franco received an honorary Goya Award in 2008 and continued working until the end. His last film, called Al Pereira vs. the Alligator Ladies, was released in Spain on March 22.

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