Spanish filmmaker Jess Franco, director of more than 180 films including cult pics Vampyros Lesbos and Venus In Furs, died in Málaga early today after suffering a stroke, Spain’s El Pais reports. He was 82. Born Jesús Franco Manera, he made his feature directing debut with 1959’s We Are 18 Years Old and opened his cult classic The Awful Dr. Orlof stateside in 1961. His erotic horror films of the 1970s and 1980s sealed his reputation as an exploitation cinema icon. Franco worked frequently with actress Soledad Miranda (Eugénie de Sade, Vampyros Lesbos, She Killed In Ecstasy, The Devil Came From Akasava) before her death in 1970, as well as Christopher Lee (Count Dracula, The Blood Of Fu Manchu, The Bloody Judge) and protege/wife Lina Romay (Female Vampire, Barbed Wire Dolls, Jack The Ripper). He remained active through the next three decades and received an honorary Goya award in 2009. Franco’s final film, Al Pereira Vs The Alligator Women, opened last month in Spain.
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