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AL’S MURDER REALLY MAKES THE STORY UNIVERSAL, ABOUT THE DEATH OF A KIND OF FILMMAKING, THE DEATH OF THE DRIVE-IN. THAT’S WHAT MAKES IT


BIGGER THAN JUST THE STORY OF AL. – MICHAEL CAPONE, EDITOR


documentary – yet ultimately, it’s on you if you keep on working with someone you’re not hap- py about working with, you know what I mean? Sure enough, he and Vilmos were like, ‘Okay, I’m done! I’m moving on!’ But that also made it inter- esting, because you can really capture multiple perspectives on somebody’s career that way.” “There was a real division between people who romanticized Al and people who went the other way, and have become more critical of him as time has gone on,” Capone says. “It’s split, and the people who revere him have very strong feelings.”


“There might have been a twinge of jealousy as well, like, ‘Why are you making a documenta- ry about him?’” Gregory laughs.


The reason, as he notes above, is the terri- ble end Adamson came to, and Blood & Flesh examines that part of the director’s story in just as much depth as his career. This was where Buckley’s investigative skills were truly put to the test.


“We had to figure out who the detectives were, who the judges were, how to deal with Indio County [where Adamson lived and died], because they were not used to LA producers or Hollywood people,” she explains. “They don’t have the infrastructure, when you call them, to figure out where everything is. We had to go through the system, trying to determine how to


R M 24


contact people, where to leave messages – and I was doing it from Jersey City, so I wasn’t local.” The breakthrough, she says, was “stumbling upon Enrique Tira, the detective who arrested Fred in Florida, and then I talked to David about hiring him to reach out to other people. Because I could find, in various strange ways, all the talent from Al’s movies, but the detectives – their num- bers aren’t around, their images aren’t around. I would leave messages at the main station and nothing would ever go forward, until Enrique got involved and was able to contact those people.” Another key figure in this portion of the film is Guadalupe Garcia, Adamson’s housekeep- er. Amidst all the lawmen who helped track his killer down, “She’s the heart of the show,” Gregory says, “and I felt it was essential to get her, because she was talked about in the court documents and anything else I read about the case. She


was the one who essentially led the police to where the Jacuzzi had been filled in. And hers is a very common name in California, so she wasn’t easy to find.”


“The thing was,” Buckley notes, “none of us


were true-crime producers, so it was almost like asking the unknowable stuff. It was like we’d re- alize, ‘We should get court transcripts,’ or, ‘Do you have any evidence?’ And then they’d say, ‘We have all this evidence!’”


"


Among this material were footage and photo- graphs that the Blood & Flesh team knew had to be handled delicately in the doc: video of the police digging through the concrete encasing Adamson in his home, and im- ages of his body in the morgue. “I really struggled with that,” Capone remembers, “as I was working with the police evi- dence and the autopsy stuff. When you edit something like this, you spend so much time with these people, you really get to know them. You feel like you know them more than they know themselves, and seeing Al and hearing his voice all the time, it was really rough to see him in that state. When I put it together, I blurred it, and when


David got to it, he pixelated it, so it has a differ- ent effect, and that was a very good decision.” There was one more person the team want- ed to get on the record to make this part of the story complete: Fulford himself, currently serv-


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