Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson – USA, 2019 – reviews

Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson is a 2019 American documentary feature film written and directed by David Gregory (Master of Dark Shadows; Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Doctor Moreau; Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth) about filmmaker Al Adamson.

The Severin Films production features Al Adamson, Ken Adamson, Stevee Ashlock, Ewing ‘Lucky’ Brown, John ‘Bud’ Cardos, Greydon Clark, Robert Dix, Guadalupe Garcia, Gary Graver, Marilyn Joi, Gary Kent, Samuel M. Sherman, Russ Tamblyn, Zandor Vorkov, Vilmos Zsigmond.

Background:

From his early years as the son of a silent screen cowboy, through the production of some thirty lurid, low budget exploitation pictures including Satan’s Sadists, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Brain of Blood and The Naughty Stewardesses, to his bizarre and grim demise, the story of filmmaker Al Adamson is told through first-person recollection from colleagues, friends, family and archival material of Adamson himself.

Go-Go dancers, ageing Hollywood actors on their way out, bikers, Sinema stars, Charles Manson, and an alien being all cross Al’s path before he himself becomes the doomed centrepiece of a true crime story and manhunt…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …Blood & Flesh is much more than the story of a moviemaking life most unusual. It beautifully captures the worlds of outsider filmmaker communities that existed in California in the ’70s, and the weird ways they intersected with Hollywood mainstream and union indies.” Mitch Davis, Fantasia

” …Gregory must be credited for the choices made in focus and pacing. This is fundamentally a documentary about independent filmmaking and that stubborn auteur spirit of putting the film above all else, including personal and financial well-being […] A fascinating watch for any fan of exploitation films or filmmaking docs…” Brian Tull, Horror Buzz

a superb, exhaustive documentary […] It’s a fascinating, enlightening documentary and both Mr Gregory and his co-producer Heather Buckley are to be praised for going the extra mile (in fact several marathons) to get some of the info presented here…” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema

“The bulk of the film depends on clips and talking heads relating to the movies – with a wide range of collaborators, enthusiasts and critics – but the last third pulls in witnesses, investigators and true crime folks to rake over a gruesome mystery that in retrospect fits Adamson – who was otherwise not as peculiar personally as, say, Milligan or Mikels…” The Kim Newman Web Site

“A genuine labour of love, the film tracks his career as a filmmaker through the eyes of those who worked with him – still disgruntled or amused about never being paid, mostly chuckling at the sheer audacity of the Adamson working method […] The audience I saw it with – clearly not familiar with Adamson at all for the most part – laughed, gasped and otherwise cried out loud as the strange story unfolded, which seems a pretty good sign of a movie working.” David Flint, The Reprobate

” …[Adamson’s] methods and experiences provide a wealth of entertainment, and his unfortunate end, unconnected (despite what those sensationalist headlines strove to suggest) to his film work, makes for moving drama as well.” Michael Gingold, Rue Morgue

“The thing about a great documentary is that the viewer shouldn’t need to be invested in the topic ahead of time to be engaged with it by the end of the film. If the storytelling is good, the doc will draw you in, whether the subject was something you care about or not. Gregory’s Blood & Flesh is one of those documentaries…” J Hurtado, Screen Anarchy

“There are the usual deals gone bad and onset hardship stories that go with this kind of film making. But there are so many unique stories Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson stays interesting. Hearing Roger Engel, aka Zandor Vorkov tells how he got his stage name and the decisions that made Dracula vs. Frankenstein the insane gem it is are fascinating.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

Related:

Nurse Sherri – USA, 1978 – reviews

Brain of Blood – USA, 1971 – reviews

Dracula vs. Frankenstein – USA, 1971 – reviews

Horror of the Blood Monsters – USA, 1970 – reviews

Blood of Dracula’s Castle – USA, 1969 – reviews

Trivia:

The promotional title uses two ampersands, thus: Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson

 

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