They also habitually cast has-been actors such as John Carradine, Lon Chaney, Jr and Russ Tamblyn in their films, as well as helping to establish the careers of cinematographers such as László Kovács, Gary Graver and Vilmos Zsigmond. According to several sources, there wasn’t a lot of money in working for Adamson (think “cheapskate”), but he mentored his crew to become filmmakers in their own right. Sadly, after losing a wife to cancer and pursuing a career in real estate, the director went missing one day, only to himself become exploited as fodder for true crime television documentaries.
“…you’re fully engaged in the story from beginning to end, eager to see what happens next…”
Amazingly, Gregory has made the life of a Z-grade director as exciting and memorable as his films. Together with the editing team of Michael Capone and Mark Hartley, they’ve successfully crafted that documentary you’re always wanting to see – the one where you’re fully engaged in the story from beginning to end, eager to see what happens next and heartbroken at the futility of the final outcome. Al Adamson may have been a lot of things, but there isn’t a single person on record (in this film, at least) willing to indicate in the slightest way that he somehow deserved his ultimate end. Rather, we’re told a story about a kind guy who loved his craft and, while he could be tight with money, used his status to set his employees on their own paths.
If you’re old enough to remember when local television stations ran really crappy (or awesome, depending on your viewpoint) movies during the day and at night (LA’s pre-UPN channel 13 comes to mind), chances are you’ve seen an Al Adamson picture, whether you meant to or not. Well, here’s the story of the man who made those films and all their grime, glamour and glory.
Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson screened at the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.
"…they ran the gamut of exploitation: horror, bikers, Westerns, blaxploitation, sex comedies..."