I usually just keep my trap shut when icons of cinema pass from this world to the next. The main reason is I don't know them personally and the other reason is there are always people more eloquent than me will have better, more profound things to say. For instance, when his wife and collaborator, Lina Romay, passed away last year, I wasn't comfortable with blogging about it. I was just too sad for words. But now that both she and Jess Franco are gone, I guess I feel weirder not saying a little something. What else are cinema fans good for if not honoring their fallen heroes?
The whole reason I approached the films of Jess Franco with the "immersion method" of reviewing a film of his a week for 52 weeks (I needed a break after 33) was because my initial instinct toward the man's work was dismissive. At the time I felt like -and I'm sure there are others who feel this way- Vampyros Lesbos was enough for me and I could skip the other 500,000,076 films he directed. Hell, I used to get he and Jean Rollin mixed up all the time. WTF? But something told me I was very wrong in my thinking and I needed a moviethon of Franco's films to do the trick. The "trick" being waking my brain up to what old Jess had been up to all this time. That moviethon never happened but something much better did.
I forced myself to take a leap right into the deep end of his filmography and I'm so fucking glad that I did. Once you tap into the well of Jess Franco, you can't turn it off. The man himself certainly couldn't turn it off. Look at his IMDB page for proof of that. Look at the countless tributes to the man that will surely be springing up everywhere over the new few months to see the extent to which his films meant something to people. Obviously, look at the films and keep exploring. There is always more to find with this guy.
And his films do mean a lot to me. I have always tried to approach my reviews of them with with humor, total honesty, a dash of animosity, and loads of respect. He has helped me appreciate bad movies like no other director and he has taught me to look for greatness when all seems lost. I have been sideswiped by equal amounts of beauty and hilarity so many times thanks to the Franco Friday series. I still intend to stop (or at least take another break) at the 52 film mark but doubt I'll be able to.