Kino Lorber & Redemption Films Celebrate the Cinematic Legacy of Jess Franco

Deluxe Blu-ray and DVD editions of The Awful Dr. Orlof,
A Virgin Among the Living Dead and Nightmares Come at Night
presented in association with Eurociné
to be released in August 2013

Kino Lorber and Redemption Films celebrate the cinematic legacy of director Jess Franco with deluxe Blu-ray and DVD editions of three of his most important films, presented in association with Eurociné: THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF (1962), A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD (1973) and NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT (1970). Though highly regarded among cult movie enthusiasts, Franco is a notorious figure within the world of horror, for the savage eroticism and obsessive nature of his films, which defy the conventional structure and tone of the typical thriller. "Too arty for the horror crowd and too macabre and lowbrow for the art crowd," Fangoria editor Chris Alexander wrote, "He existed in a world of his own, a class of his own."

Born Jesús Franco Manera in 1930, credited on a variety of pseudonyms (such as Clifford Brown and A.M. Frank), he is best known as Jess Franco, director of such horror/sexploitation films as FEMALE VAMPIRE (1973), EXORCISM (1975), and VAMPYROS LESBOS (1971). Franco directed almost 200 features, in virtually every genre, and was perhaps at his best when working with his muses, Soldedad Miranda (1943-1970) and Lina Romay (1954-2012). Because he made so many films, which were released in multiple versions and under various titles, and because he so frequently employed a pseudonym, a complete Franco filmography is likely impossible to compile. Franco died Tuesday April 2, 2013, at the age of 82, after being hospitalized for a stroke on March 27.

"Franco was, and is, a true hero of exploitation cinema. A man who loved, ate and slept film," recalls Redemption founder Nigel Wingrove, "and who in his heart was an artist and like most artists he had his flaws and weaknesses but ultimately what made him an artist was that he could do nothing else but make films. He may have used a camera rather than a paintbrush and film instead of a canvas, but that was because film was his blood, and he only stopped filming when his blood stopped flowing and his heart, like his camera, finally stopped."

In August, 2013, Redemption will commemorate Franco with a special Blu-ray edition of his breakthrough film, THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF (1962), featuring "The Horror of Orlof," one of the last videotaped interviews with Franco (directed by David Gregory and produced by Elijah Drenner). Newly mastered in HD, this is the original French-language version (the film was later censored and padded with inconsequential footage for release in Spain). Among other features, the disc will include a brand new commentary track by Tim Lucas (founder and editor of Video Watchdog), as well as a newly-filmed remembrances by Franco's friends and collaborators (directed by Daniel Gouyette).

Lesser-known in the director's canon (because for more than 40 years it was considered a lost film), NIGHTMARES COME AT NIGHT is an erotic thriller starring Soledad Miranda and Diana Lorys. In the years since its rediscovery, Nightmares has become embraced as quintessential Franco for its facile blending of horror, eroticism, and the surreal. The disc will feature a Lucas commentary, and a second memorial video by Gouyette, and a third mini-documentary to be announced.

The pièce de résistance of the collection is A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD, which features Franco's original cut in its entirety (CHRISTINA, PRINCESS OF EROTICISM), as well as the more commonly-available recut version (with zombie footage directed by Jean Rollin: A Virgin Among the Living Dead), as well as a deleted orgy scene, featuring Alice Arno, which was shot for a third incarnation of the film. The disc also includes "Mysterious Dreams," one of the last videotaped interviews with Franco (directed by Gregory and produced by Drenner), as well as a third collection of posthumous tributes by the director's friends and collaborators.

All three films were newly-mastered in HD from archival film elements from Eurocine Paris, are presented in French with optional English subtitles or English dubbed, produced for video by Bret Wood.

In 2014, Redemption will continue to pay its respects to Franco with at least three additional Blu-rays of his notorious films.

As Tim Lucas recently wrote in a memorial piece, "Jess Franco is finished with life, but life is far from finished with him."