JESS FRANCO: UNVANQUISHED AUTEUR (part 2)

In the 1970s, you were declared by the Roman Catholic Church to be among the most dangerous filmmakers in the world. Now that 30 years have passed since that declaration, should we still consider you to be dangerous? ^ Actually, in that same year, Luis Buñuel and I were declared the most dangerous films makers in the world. It was a honor for me to be beside such a master. It gave me the chance to meet Buñuel personally. I hope I am still as dangerous today as I was supposed to have been then.
You have created more than 175 films. In view of this amazing output, how do you maintain a sense of quality control over your work? ^ Working hard and without stop. I love my work and it is not a heavy obligation, but a pleasure.
Do you find audiences to be easier to please or harder to entertain today, as opposed to the audiences in the 1960s or 1970s? ^ Audiences today are the same. The ways of diffusion are different so you have to change little things to please them, but the biggest hits like Oceans 11 and Harry Potter show that people still loving the same subjects.
It is often difficult to keep track of your work because you work under many pseudonyms. Is there a reason why you’ve used to so many different names in the credits of your films? ^ I used a lot of pseudonyms because I made such a lot of films by year that I didn’t want to be hated by all the others directors in the world. Then, the journalists added a lot more pseudonyms, but these were made up and false. I used only names of dead jazz musicians I loved such Clifford Brown, James P. Johnson or Dave Tough.
You’ve provided generations of horror film lovers with wonderful frights. What frightens you, both in a film and in real life? ^ What frightens me is… the unknown.
You were fortunate to work with Orson Welles. Today, more than ever before, the films of Orson Welles continue to challenge and intrigue movie lovers…more so than the films of any other director. What do you attribute to Welles’ growing and continuing appeal? ^ Orson Welles was such a genius that I’m sure his notoriety will still be growing more and more every day. He is one of the greatest artists that the American culture gave to humanity.
If Welles had completed “Don Quixote,” where would the film fit in his canon of work? Do you believe it would have been viewed as his last masterpiece? ^ I made the final cut and postproduction of “Don Quixote.” He didn’t want to make an illustration of the novel but an essay about the two main characters. He used to cut and to recut hundred of times I can not be sure that our version could be accepted as definitive by him, but for sure this is one of the versions he could have done himself.
Here in the United States, relatively few Spanish films (with the exception of Pedro Almodovar’s films) receive wide theatrical release. In your opinion, what are American audiences missing by not having current Spanish films in their theaters? ^ I think American audiences aren’t missing a great deal.
What new films can we expect from you during the coming year? ^ I’m preparing a new “Killer Barbies,” including this time, as a guest artist COUNT DRACULA! And a new version of one of my first films (the first which was successful), “Awful Doctor Orloff” with a beautiful cast and original music from Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden.
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Posted on February 25, 2002 in Interviews by
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