Jesús Franco: Shooting at the Speed of Life

Eugenie de Sade

Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London

Instructor: Stephen Thrower

Date: 11 June 2015

Time: 7-10pm

Venue: Horse Hospital

Address: Colonnade, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 1JD

Prices: £10 advance / £8 concs / £11 on the door

Miskatonic website

The final class of this season’s Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies – London is a special treat that is not to be missed: leading horror authority Stephen Thrower will launch his gorgeous and extensive new book on legendary exploitation figure Jesús Franco with a talk exploring the Spanish director’s singular approach to filmmaking and his lifelong passion for horror and erotica. Tickets are now on sale.

During a career spanning more than fifty years, Jesús (‘Jess’) Franco created a strange and unique style of commercial genre filmmaking, bordering at times on the avant-garde. Obsessed with ‘aberrant’ sex, erotic horror and the writings of the Marquis De Sade, he took a resolutely personal approach to movie-making, and after spending the 1960s honing his technique on slightly more conventional projects he embarked in the 1970s on a sustained period of intensive shooting, making as many as ten or twelve films in one year. Shooting with a small crew, exclusively on location, he worked at a speed that allowed little time for the honing of a perfect finished product, instead creating a cinema of spontaneity, improvisation and caprice. Franco valued freedom above all: by combining a rapid-fire series of small-scale commercial film projects, a ‘creative’ approach to finance, and a dedicated passion for the sensational, he was able to carve his own niche and digress into the most extraordinary experimental ellipses. In this evening’s discussion, Stephen Thrower will explore Franco’s ability to juggle the commercial and personal dimensions of filmmaking through his confrontational works of horror, sadism and erotic spectacle.

About the instructor:

Stephen Thrower, writer and musician, was born in Lancashire in 1963. After moving to London in 1985 he began writing reviews for the seminal horror magazine Shock Xpress, before launching his own film periodical Eyeball in 1989 with contributors including novelist Ramsey Campbell, filmmaker Ron Peck, and critics Kim Newman, Daniel Bird and Alan Jones. His first book, Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci, was published in 1999, followed by The Eyeball Compendium (2003) and Nightmare USA: The Untold Story of the Exploitation Independents (2007). His most recent work is Murderous Passions; the delirious cinema of Jesús Franco, published by Strange Attractor in March 2015.
Thrower and his partner Ossian Brown are founders of the avant-garde music group Cyclobe, who recently recorded new soundtracks for three Super-8 films by the British filmmaker and queer activist Derek Jarman (Sulphur, Tarot and Garden of Luxor). As a solo artist, Thrower scored Pakistan’s first gore film, Zibahkhana aka Hell’s Ground (2007), contributed electronic music to Down Terrace (2010) by Ben Wheatley, and was commissioned by the BFI in 2012 to score three silent short films by the pioneering director of gay erotica Peter De Rome.

About the Miskatonic Institute:

Named for the fictional university in H.P. Lovecraft’s literary mythos, The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies is a non-profit, community-based organization that started in Canada, founded by Kier-La Janisse in March of 2010. The school currently has branches in Montreal and London, with Miskatonic London operating under the co-direction of Kier-La Janisse and Electric Sheep Founder/Editor Virginie Sélavy.

All classes take place at the historic Horse Hospital, the heart of the city’s underground culture. Individual class tickets are £10 advance / £11 on the door / £8 concessions and will be available 30 days in advance of each class.

For full details of the next courses please check the Miskatonic website. For all enquiries, please email[at]

Cannes 2015 Preview

Cannes 2015

Cannes International Film Festival

13-25 May 2015

Cannes, France

Cannes website

In its 68-year history, Cannes has never been short of stars and scandals but it seems that in more recent years the darker, bolder, more daring films are to be found in the sidebars rather than in the main Competition line-up. And while 2014 proved particularly strong with It Follows, When Animals Dream and Ryan Gosling’s Lost River, a first glance at this year’s programme promises another exciting festival to come.

Opening on 13 May with Emmanuelle Bercot’s Standing Tall , there seems to be a focus on French social drama this year, but beyond that, the Competition still includes a number of intriguing works from both new and already established directors. Having won the Un Certain Regard award in 2009 for Dogtooth, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos returns to the festival with what might be one of this year’s boldest and presumably funniest sci-fi love stories, The Lobster, while Gomorra-director Matteo Garonne presents his first English-language film with Tale of Tales, based on the collection of fairy tales of 17th century writer Giambattista Basile, who predates more familliar household names such as the Brothers Grimm, Andersen or Perrault. We will also be checking out Todd Haynes’s 50s lesbian melodrama Carol, Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth, his eagerly awaited follow up to The Great Beauty, as well as the latest offerings form Denis Villeneuve, Sicario, and Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, starring Matthew McConaughey as an American man lost in Japan’s suicide forest. Plus, we look forward to George Miller’s Mad Max Fury Road and Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth, both screening ‘out of competition’.

In addition, this year’s Un Certain Regard strand features new works by exciting directors including Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Journey To The Shore), Brillante Mendoza (Trap) and Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Cemetery of Splendour), alongside two promising Korean entries: The Shameless by Oh Seung-Uk and Madonna by Shin Suwon. And we also look forward to a special screening of Gaspar Noé’s latest offering Love.

Elsewhere in Cannes, the films that stand out from the line-up in the Directors’ Fortnight programme are US director Jeremy Saulnier’s follows up to his brilliant Blue Ruin with Green Room, a story of punk rockers battling neo-Nazis starring Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots and Patrick Stewart, and Takashi Miike’s gangster-vampire hybrid thriller Yakuza Apocalypse: The Great War Of The Underworld, which receives a special presentation. Plus, we will also try to catch at least one of Miguel Gomes’s Arabian Nights, the three-film contemporary epic from the Portuguese director, which is loosely based on Scheherazade’s tales of ‘One Thousand And One Nights’ but essentially devolves into a chronicle of Portugal’s economic malaise.

Pamela Jahn

For more information on the full line-up, visit the Cannes website.