Wednesday, September 05, 2018


In today's mail I received my copy of THE FILMS OF JESS FRANCO, co-edited by Antonio Lázaro-Reboll and Ian Olney and published by Wayne State University Press. I am not here today to review it in detail, or to comment on anything that it says about Jess's films. I was stopped by a more personal connection and response.

I've spent the last couple of hours browsing through this collection of essays by noted film studies educators from around the world, and it would be an understatement to say that I feel very honored and moved by their mentions of my work - which extend to an entire chapter by Antonio Lázaro-Reboll on my work about Franco for VIDEO WATCHDOG (indeed his place as an avatar for the approach to writing about film that VW innovated) and Stephen Thrower's Franco reviews for his magazine EYEBALL, and another by Tatjana Pavlović addressing Franco's "Horrotica," a word that she happily notes I coined in a 1988 article for FANGORIA.

All or nearly all of the chapters make some useful reference to my notorious "You can't see one Franco film until you've seen them all" quote from VIDEO WATCHDOG #1, which I remember was initially met with some mockery and derision. Unlike the estimable Stephen Thrower, whose work is also shown great respect, I don't have a book out there on Franco to give shape to what has been my mostly spontaneous contribution to Franco research; my career has been somewhat uneven and erratic, largely because I have given vent to most of my work in magazines, audio commentaries, and even this blog - everything BUT presenting it between hard covers. Stephen and Alan Petit and so many others have filled the need for Franco books so well, that I've been telling myself for awhile that the world has all the Franco books it needs. But here is one that I needed, a work of academic appreciation that also happens to recognize my role in carving out an evolving perception of Franco and his work, which it intelligently and methodically describes in ways I couldn't begin to do, and it would hardly be my place to do.

I intend to read this book cover to cover because I can see it discusses his work intelligently, passionately, and even with some humor - which is exactly as he would wish it. For now, it is a wonderment to me to find a book in which so many contributors have taken the trouble and care to know what I do, and what I did long ago, and to show me - in place of my mess of memory - a clean line of process that helped to identify this important filmmaker as someone worthy of the attention and recognition that, thankfully, he did receive before he died.

I am reminded of what Ken Russell said in his Foreword to Joseph Gomez's book KEN RUSSELL, about the experience of reading its manuscript:

"I was holding the moon in my hands."

(c) 2018 by Tim Lucas. All rights reserved.

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