Diana Lorys in Gritos en la noche (The Awful Dr. Orloff), 1964.
Shirley Eaton in The Girl From Rio, 1969.
Janine Reynaud in Succubus, 1969.
Dennis Price and Maria Rohm in Venus In Furs, 1969.
Howard Vernon in Countess Perverse, 1973.
Lina Romay in Lorna The Exorcist, 1974.
"Not an untalented man, by the way," Christopher Lee said to me apropos Jess Franco, whose name I had the mild temerity to bring up when I was interviewing Lee for TV Guide back in 1993 or so. (Of all the interview tapes I've ever lost, the one with Lee is the one I regret the most, as it also contains Lee regaling me with an impersonation of Foghorn Leghorn, in the context of a description of how he and his pal Peter Cushing used to entertain each other on set.) Lee's compliment seems overtly backhanded, but given Franco's relative ill-repute in the realm of straight-arrow cinephilia, it wasn't as insulting as it sounded. He really had little way of knowing I was a fan.
I met him, and his soulmate/collaborator/eventual wife Lina Romay (whose death last year makes Franco's own passing rather less surprising than it might have been), back in 1997, at a Chiller Theatre Expo in Secaucus that I'd convinced Premiere to allow my pal Jewel Shepard, who in her role as a soon-to-be-former-Scream-Queen would be signing at a table there, to write about. It was the same Chiller at which Russ Meyer upbraided, in profane and definite terms, my photographer for trying to shoot him with a fish-eye lens. They were at a table near Jewel's, and neither of them looked quite their best, and they were kind of disoriented due to both jet lag and the intensity of the reception they were getting. Given the crush and the fact that their English wasn't all that hot, I wasn't able to convey much to them aside from admiration, but my photographer and I paid homage by turning up a few nights later at CBGB for a set by Killer Barbys, a Spanish post-punk combo featured in a recent Franco picture of the same name.
Read the obit by my brother in Francophilia (among other things), Tim Lucas, who in fact really outstrips me in the pertinent department. As readers of this blog are aware, I'm currently consumed with other work (it's coming along nicely and some resurfacing in this space is imminent), but I'm hoping the above images convey a sense of my regard for the filmmaker. Not just "not untalented," but, in my estimation, a genuine artist.