Often casting his wife Regina Carrol and vet- erans such as John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr. and Robert Dix, Adamson also built a stock com- pany working both behind and in front of the camera, launching many careers in the process. Acclaimed cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond (Deliverance, Close Encounters of the Third Kind) and László Kovács (Ghostbusters, Easy Rider) racked up early credits on Adamson’s films, and some of his collaborators successfully transi- tioned to becoming directors themselves, among them Greydon Clark (Without Warning) and John “Bud” Cardos (Kingdom of the Spiders). Indeed, it’s not a stretch to say that we wouldn’t have Halloween – at least, as we know it – without Adamson, since he launched Clark, who in turn hired Dean Cundey as director of photography and Debra Hill as script supervisor for Satan’s Cheerleaders, where the two first met, and the rest is history.

Unfortunately, Adamson’s own history was fat- ed to have a tragic end that threatened to over- shadow the rest of his legacy. In July of 1995, his brother reported Adamson missing to po- lice, and his body was discovered the following month, entombed in concrete where a Jacuzzi had once been in his own home. Adamson’s live- in contractor Fred Fulford was arrested for the crime, and the headlines screamed variations on the same theme: horror-film director killed in a manner right out of one of his own movies. It was a cheap, cynical way to lay Adamson to rest in print.

Now, filmmaker David Gregory (Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau) has given him a more fitting fea- ture-length elegy – a documentary titled Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adam- son. A hugely entertaining celebration of Adam- son’s seat-of-your-pants aesthetic that becomes a thoroughly engrossing and moving study of the circumstances around his death, the movie per- sonalizes and humanizes a man known to some simply as a schlockmeister, via interviews with the many people who knew him and mourned his passing. The doc’s digital release in late Feb- ruary by Severin Films will be followed in late March by a massive Blu-ray boxed set of the di- rector’s work: more than 30 movies, plus Blood & Flesh, on fifteen discs – the biggest such col- lection ever devoted to a single filmmaker out- side of Criterion’s Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema. “There are a lot of stories like Al’s, of people in the trenches of low-budget filmmaking, that I find very interesting – and I’ve made a lot of documentaries, short and long, about that kind of thing,” Gregory tells Rue Morgue. “But when it came down to it, it was his murder, and how his memory had now been tied to being murdered, that made me want to delve deeper into Al’s life and work. It’s rough for a guy who did all of these movies, a lot of which are really fun, to only be remembered as this kind of grim punchline. That’s when I thought, ‘Okay, obviously we’re

B-Movie Baron: Al Adamson’s reputation in show biz was as divisive as his cinematic output. (From top) Adamson with frequent collaborator and wife Regina Carrol, and a glimpse at the lo-fi horrors from 1971’s Brain of Blood.

going to go into the murder,’ because I want to get details that weren’t gone into in the couple of TV shows that were done about it. But as we proposed it to everyone, we said we wanted to talk about the guy’s history and films as well.” “It’s interesting,” adds editor Michael Capone, who shared cutting duties with Mark Hartley (Not Quite Hollywood) and co-produced, “in the way that Al’s murder really makes the story univer- sal, about the death of a kind of filmmaking, the death of the drive-in. That’s what makes it big- ger than just the story of Al. It makes me think of the Manson family, and how that tied into the death of the free-love era.”

Gregory is a long-time fan of Adamson’s cin- ematic output, ever since his initial viewing of Dracula vs. Frankenstein.

“That was one of the first films my [Severin Films] partner Carl Daft and I saw on VHS, and we just thought it was fantastic,” he recalls. “We didn’t worry that it was rough around the edg-

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