Freddie Francis was a prolific director for film and television, best known for his British horror films of the 60s and 70s. He worked for the two great production companies Hammer and Amicus. Highlights of Freddie Francis’ directing career, providing me with colourful and comfortable late night horror in my formative years, were Dr Terror’s House of Horrors (1965), The Skull (1965), Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968), Tales From the Crypt (1972), The Creeping Flesh (1973), Tales That Witness Madness (1973) and The Ghoul (1975).
Although these films are all excellent, he was very much a jobbing director, and there are other films in the Hammer and Amicus canon not directed by him that are equally good. It’s his work as an accomplished cinematographer that has gained him the most respect, including such gems as Room at the Top (1959) and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960). Best is The Innocents (1961), a very eerie and disturbing adaptation of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. This is always worth seeing, and Francis manages to create a menacing monochrome atmosphere that matches the original book. If you haven’t seen it, please make a point of doing so.
David Lynch also employed Francis for The Elephant Man (1980), another black and white masterpiece, and The Straight Story (1999), but I’m only touching the surface of his achievements. See the IMDb for the full story.
Freddie Francis, 1917-2007.