Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson is a 2019 documentary produced & directed by David Gregory (Master of Dark Shadows, Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau, Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The Shocking Truth, What’s in the Basket?, The Theatre Bizarre, & Plague Town). David Gregory has produced & directed some of the best bonus material of all time when it comes to the home video market. He’s done a variety of documentaries besides his shorts or interviews which includes Living in Darkness, The Godfathers of Mondo, Portrait: The Making of ‘Henry’, The Spaghetti West, Ban the Sadist Videos! 1/2, Forget Everything You Have Ever Seen: The World of Santa Sangre, Super Mario Bros: This Ain’t No Video Game, Bonded by Blood, & The VanBebber Family. ‘’Horror Film Director Found Slain, Buried Under Floor’’ screamed the 1995 headlines read around the world. The truth behind the wild life of Al Adamson including the production of such low budget classics as Satan’s Sadists, Horror of the Blood Monsters, Black Samurai, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, The Naughty Stewardesses, Blood of Ghastly Horror, Blood of Dracula’s Castle, & Carnival Magic.
His gruesome death reveals perhaps the most bizarre career in Hollywood history. Over 40 interviews, recollections, & stories from a variety of people connected to the cult director. Everything from friends, family, colleagues, & historians plus archive interviews with Al Adamson himself. Familiar faces like Fred Olen Ray (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers), John ‘Bud’ Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders), Russ Tamblyn (Twin Peaks), Gary Kent (Schoolgirls in Chains), Vilmos Zsigmond (Close Encounters of the Third Kind), Worth Keeter (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers), Marilyn Joi (Ilsa, Harem Keeper of the Oil Sheiks), Robert Dix (Young Jesse James), & Samuel M. Sherman (Nurse Sherri). Are you ready to experience one of cinema’s most unknown stories plus a dash of true crime thrown in the mix???? This documentary covers chronicle of bikers, go-go dancers, porn stars, aging actors, freak-out girls, Charles Manson, Colonel Sanders, alien conspiracies, low budget film making, & homicidal contractors in one full feature length film.
Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson is the best documentary that I’ve seen or reviewed in a long time! David Gregory manages to make you appreciate the low budget director even more after seeing his story. Blood & Flesh is actually better than any movie that Al Adamson directed himself. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to insult the cult director Al Adamson at all because he honestly made some really fun & entertaining features during his time. He made the most out of his very low budgets. He was a such hustler that he convinced most of his crew to work for free on all these productions just to get the experience in the film industry. He told some of them that they would do something special someday because of it & they would thank him for the opportunity. He was actually right about that, lots of moved on to bigger & better things after working with the veteran film maker. Vilmos Zsigmond ended up winning an Oscar years later after learning his craft with Adamson. He tells a story about the director leaving a few hours from the set to deliver newspapers so he could pay what he owed to the cinematographer right on the spot. They joke that Al wasn’t really good at anything when it came to making films but he was very passionate about his work. They go over him getting inspired by his director & actor father Denver Dixon when it came to film business. They chat about how creative he was when it came to selling his movies to distribution & the public.
He would go on to re-title & re-cut several of his productions just to sell them again as something different. They talk about him being smart when it came to casting his independent features by bringing in an old movie star that’s past his prime like J. Carrol Naish, Lon Chaney Jr., John Carradine, Scott Brady, Broderick Crawford, & Kent Taylor to get more attention for his work. They chat about drive ins losing their popularity towards the end of the 70’s & the major studios really took over everything after that. They talk about it being hard to finance, produce, & make his style of films after that so he went on to other business after the big change in cinema. They bring up him meeting actress Regina Carrol & falling in love with her. They say he went through hell when she got cancer & he tried everything to save his wife’s life. They go over Al Adamson meeting & working with contractor Fred Fulford. They say he started to have problems with him plus money was stolen but he told them he could handle everything. He went missing & no one knew where he went for awhile. They made a grisly discovery that he was buried in his house. They go over the investigation & case for the murder. This documentary has everything in it, this is beyond entertaining & interesting. I’ve seen a decent amount of Al Adamson’s work but this makes me want to check out everything that he did during his time. Luckily, the great folks at Severin Films are releasing a massive box set “Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection” that includes almost all of his work (32 movies!!!!) plus all kinds of extras. Don’t sleep on it because it’s already sold out a few locations including the official Severin Films store but it still can be bought at a few locations at a great price for now but it won’t last long so buy it ASAP! This is already one of my favorite releases this year, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Severin Films! This documentary has different shifts of quality when it comes to the video especially the Al Adamson footage but most of it looks very clean & it’s shot in HD. This 1080p (1.78:1 & 1.33:1) transfer looks great for the most part besides the archive material included in Blood & Flesh. You have two audio options which includes DTS-HD English 5.1 & DTS-HD Stereo English 2.0 on this disc. Everything sounds good & clear here. It has English SDH, Spanish, French, & Portuguese subtitles. This is one of the better technical releases from Severin Films over the years, both picture & sound are very impressive.
Let’s discuss the special features from Severin Films! It has a little over 20 minutes of “Outtakes” which includes The Cowboy Life of Denver Dixon, Russ Tamblyn’s melted TV, Screaming Angels Becomes Angel’s Wild Women, & The Prophetic Screenplay Makes Gary Kent Testify. This is all additional footage & interviews that didn’t make the final cut but they are definitely worth checking out. It has an “Al Adamson poster gallery” with 61 images. It has the little over 3 minute “Beyond this Earth Promo Reel”. It has a “Trailer” for Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson. This all the extras it has when it comes to the documentary but there’s a separate bonus material section which includes the full length 1971 film directed by Al Adamson called “The Female Bunch” with Russ Tamblyn & Lon Chaney Jr! The 1080p (1.66:1) transfer was scanned & restored from several 35mm release prints of varying physical condition. The negative is believed to be lost. This is a great bonus to have with this amazing documentary but I will warn you that the transfer is very rough (check out the screenshot below) but it’s nice to have this included on this blu ray release.
The audio options include DTS-HD mono English, Dolby Digital mono Spanish & Dolby Digital mono German. It has English SDH subtitles. The Female Bunch is very entertaining with some nice nudity & action, you can definitely tell it’s an Al Adamson flick. It has some additional extras to go with the bonus feature. It has 2 “Trailers” for the film. It has a little over 2 minutes of “Extended Scenes” from The Female Bunch. It has the little over 15 minute “The Bunch Speaks Out” featuring interviews with Russ Tamblyn, Leslie McRay, Sharyn Wynters, John ‘Bud’ Cardos, R. Michael Stringer, & Michael Ferris. Leslie McRay chats about being used on the “A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin” poster & promotional run without her permission. They chat about their experience on this low budget production. They tell a few stories about it. They bring up working with the legendary Lon Chaney Jr. They praise his work but they mention that had a bad drinking problem on the set. They bring up that Quentin Tarantino is a huge fan of The Female Bunch & he played it at one of his grindhouse film festivals. One of the actresses tells a hilarious of her seeing it the first time with her son there. Al Adamson used a body double for a nude scene & never told her about it. She was shocked as it was shown on the screen & turned to her son saying “That’s not my breasts!”. They bring up that this movie was filmed on the Spahn Movie Ranch. They go over their experience with Charles Manson & his family during the time. This release is available everywhere right now including most streaming services, CHECK IT OUT!!!!