Put up the banners and bring out the cake! Prolific and oft-misunderstood genre auteur Jesus Franco, the man behind The Awful Dr. Orlof, The Diabolical Dr. Z, Venus in Furs, and Vampyros Lesbos, becomes an octagenarian today. In his eighty years of life, he's directed nearly 200 films, often writing, acting, and composing the musical score as well. Sure, he's reviled as a hack in some circles, but a number of critics (including the inestimable Tim Lucas) have also sung his praises. You can count me among his fans, as well. His films are like free-form jazz, played by a distractable genius who hasn't discovered Ritalin yet -- and I mean that as praise. There are moments, sublime moments, in some of Franco's films that simply cannot be found with any other director. He's a treasure and I'm happy to hear that he's still going. Feliz cumpleaños, Jesus.