Al Adamson: Auteur, Schlockmeister, and Indie Film Pioneer

October 12, 2020 | By

So, of course the question you’re asking is, Where have the reviews been for the past month?

It’s a combination of re-integrating into a sort-of normal work schedule after the lockdown, CERB, and the emotional wallop many of us are experiencing as the world is trapped in a weird state. Some have written off 2020 as a dumpster fire, a total disaster, a nightmare, and a massive social & psychological disrupter after COVID-19, that POS virus, wreaked hell on lives, livelihoods, and the social structure of our respective societies.

On the upside, there’s a side gig I’m working on which I’ll launch in early 2021 (more details to follow), but as is typical of the gremlins that inhabit Mark’s World, the motherboard on my writing machine had its PS/2 and main USB ports fried for no reason.

After trying everything possible to single out the exact issue and find a workaround – a wasted week – I had fun (not) re-acquainting myself with the legacy O/S, floppy drives, and the ancient BIOS that becomes impenetrable when you don’t have a functional PS/2 keyboard port.



So… as we return to normal posting, first off is a review of the first of many Severin releases resting on the desk: Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (2019), David Gregory’s superb documentary on schlockmeister Al Adamson, best-known for Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971), and sadly, for being murdered by a creepy handyman.

Also reviewed in detail is the bonus feature The Female Bunch (1971) which, quite frankly, is far more fun than anyone familiar with Dracula vs. Frankenstein would ever expect. It is a bit rough – Severin no doubt faced a major challenge in restoring a complete uncut version using the best possible pieces from surviving grindhouse era prints – but it’s not a leap to guess that had he lived into the era of Blu-ray restorations, Adamson, like his partner Sam Sherman, would be enjoying some extra retirement funds, and glowing in the adulation that’s deservedly being heaped upon genuine schlockmeisters.

Was Adamson a capable filmmaker? Even colleagues in Gregory’s doc have polarizing views, but his works are genuine grindhouse chum for connoisseurs, featuring tall, well-endowed women with long manes, dollops of stage blood, faded Hollywood icons, and some genuine weirdness.

I will go through the films in Severin’s laudable, gorgeous, and ballsy 31-film, 14 disc Al Adamson Masterpiece Collection – I caved and bought the very OOP set – but selectively, because I want to track down some of the original European films Sherman & Adamson imported and recut with new material, such as Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1965), a very expensive German production shot in 70mm, which I reviewed several years ago. The film’s been since released on Blu in Germany, and I’d like to compare the original – itself trimmed from a much longer cut – to the much shorter Adamson creature, showcased in Severin’s set.

Thanks for your patience, and hopefully the ‘new’ old motherboard replacement will arrive in one piece, and (fingers crossed) I’ll be able to just slap it into the case, add the core peripherals, and voila! – a dino-puter returns from the dead for another decade of use, and torment.

And if you’re wondering Why bother with legacy gear? the answer’s simple: I’m used to this particular dino-puter, but more importantly, the machine also houses an older version of Sound Forge I use for editing podcasts, and none of the custom filter settings I’ve created over 10+ years can be imported into a newly installed version.

Coming next: a book review of Cult Epics’ gorgeous Women of the Sun: Bunny Yeager in Mexico (2020) + The Claire Sinclair Show (2014) on Blu-ray. Also: reviews of Severin’s Cruel Jaws (1995), Bruno Mattei’s weirdly late-term Jaws rip-off + Mako: The Jaws of Death (1976), previously released on DVD by Retro Media, and co-starring The Female Bunch‘s Jennifer Bishop.

Thanks for reading,



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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