Thursday, July 19, 2007

Richard Franklin R.I.P.

I missed the sad news last week that talented Australian director Richard Franklin had passed away at the age of 69 due to cancer. Franklin was probably best known for his interesting film PATRICK from 1978 but I always preferred his underrated ROADGAMES from 1981.
The Australian born Franklin was born in 1948 and began his career in the sixties directing for Australian television. After a couple of minor films in the early seventies he made FANTASM in 1976 which brought him a lot of notoriety. It was 1978's tale of telekinetic power, PATRICK, that really put the stylish Franklin on the map. The low budget but very well made PATRICK still packs an odd punch and is a real fan favorite among seventies horror enthusiasts.

PATRICK'S follow up would be the fantastic ROADGAMES. This stylish thriller would give Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis two of their best roles and is one of my favorite films from the early eighties. Anchor Bay's splendid special edition dvd of it is highly recommended.
Franklin would continue directing throughout the eighties with varying success and disappointments. His films from this period include PSYCHO 2, CLOAK AND DAGGER and the odd LINK which starred a young Elisabeth Shue, Terence Stamp and a crazed monkey.
Richard would work mostly in television in the nineties and his last feature film is listed as 2003's VISITORS starring the very talented Australian actress Radha Mitchell.
Franklin was always a solid director, even when he was working with material that wasn't as good as he was. Search out PATRICK and ROADGAMES for an ideal introduction to his work. He will be missed and I am sorry to hear the news of his passing.


colinr said...

It was a shame to hear this news. I've just been rewatching the Psycho films (to get the memories of the Psycho remake out of my mind!) and really liked Franklin's 23 year later sequel. It certainly turned out better than could have been expected.

I also like Patrick. It has probably my favourite of those jump scares at the end of the film, when the now-dead psychic bad guy is accidentally catapulted out of his bed at the camera! And then the surviving characters have a relieved laugh over his corpse lying on the floor!

Perhaps Fantasm was cursed?(!) I remember when I got the two films on the Synapse DVDs feeling sad that the director of the second film Colin Eggleston (who made the great film The Long Weekend) had died so young, but glad to see that Franklin was still around.

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Colin for the nice comments. I think he was a fine director. "Psycho 2" was much better than perhaps it had any right to be and I agree about the ending to Patrick.
I think my favorite shock ending, outside of "Carrie" of course has to be Joe D'Amato's "Buio Omega" which is one of the most W.T.F. but damn that was effective endings ever...
anyway, thanks for commenting. He will be missed.