Flag on the Moon – Part 5: Conclusion


After completing his unholy film trinity, Francis once again returned to the screen, doing bit parts in such films as The Dirtiest Game and Ray Dennis Steckler’s Body Fever, before making his final on-screen appearance as a drunk in the 1970 Russ Meyer film, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. According to official record, Coleman Francis died of arteriosclerosis on January 15, 1971. However his former collaborator, Tony Cardoza, seemed to imply in an interview with Tom Weaver (The Astounding B Monster) that Mr. Francis’ passing may have been a somewhat darker affair, claiming that Mr. Francis was found with “ …a plastic bag over his head and a tube going into his mouth or around his throat.” Whether this is actually true or not (Mr. Cardoza quickly admitted that he and Mr. Francis had fallen out of touch some time earlier, so he never felt compelled to dig deeper into the details of his former colleague’s death), it would certainly be an end which would have fit right into the dark, bleak, and hopeless world which Coleman Francis created.

Coleman Francis’ films are so bad and at times, so far outside the accepted conventions of filmmaking, they almost have to be considered a form of outsider art. It’s quite obvious that Mr. Francis desperately wanted to say something profound with his films, but simply didn’t have the actors, budget, or more importantly, the skill, to do so in an entertaining manner. What he was able to do was project onto the screen his own dark, pessimistic, violent, misanthropic, and backwards take on the human experience. If his films are any indication, it would seem, to paraphrase Marilyn Manson, that Coleman Francis simply wasn’t born with enough middle fingers. While there is little to actually enjoy at face value in Francis’ films, they do display a sort of stubborn, perpetually-disgruntled integrity which is almost impossible not to admire at least a bit, even as you suffer through them.

Make no mistake, Coleman Francis’ movies didn’t accidentally turn out as dreary and miserable as they did, victims of the clumsy touch of an incompetent director. These are, without a doubt, exactly the films Coleman Francis intended to make from the get go. Sure, had he more time, money, and skill as a director, his films might have ultimately shown a bit more polish, but they still would have been the proverbial turd.

"Hey! F**k you, Miller!"

“Hey! F**k you, Miller!”


Back to Part 1: Introduction

Back to Part 2: The Beast of Yucca Flats

Back to Part 3: The Skydivers

Back to Part 4: Night Train to Mundo Fine, aka. Red Zone Cuba
*This article originally appeared in Cinema Terrible, Issue #1


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