Shudder Spotlight: Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson
Shudder Spotlight #1
Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (2019, d. David Gregory)
The Shudder Spotlight is a regular look at the hidden (or not so hidden) gems that are, at the time of writing, available to watch on Shudder - the streaming horror service. Details as where to find the film outside of Shudder will be given as possible, and it should be noted that neither the writer, nor The Spookeasy, have been given any consideration or means-to-influence by Shudder.
In the pantheon of horror/exploitation directors, Al Adamson falls somewhere between Roger Corman and Ed Wood; a workman director whose large output showed both creativity and thrift, but also trafficked in the trashy and blatantly exploitative. Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson spares its subject no honesty, but also shows him as a genuinely nice and well-liked human being, with many of his past collaborators saying that they’d happily work with him again for no or little pay. This would most likely have been the case, if this were possible, but, sadly, as this compelling documentary shows, Adamson was murdered in a scene straight out of one of his gore pictures, only was a real-life horror show, and a sad one at that.
Blood and Flesh, directed by David Gregory and released through Severin Films, features stories and reflections from some of Adamson’s past collaborators, including exploitation legends Sam Sherman and John “Bud" Cardos, Al Adamson’s brother, Ken, and also features archival interview footage with Adamson himself, as well as many clips from his filmography. The documentary is compelling throughout its length, and is a welcome look into the life and tragic death of one of the more prolific American exploitation directors. Fans of Al Adamson’s work, which ranges from the motorcycle flick Satan’s Sadists to the truly demented monster romp Dracula vs Frankenstein, will not be disappointed, but fans of exploitation cinema, horror flicks, true crime, or filmmaking general will all find something to like in this captivating documentary. Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson comes highly recommended.
And speaking of highly recommended, Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson pairs very well with Scarlet Lane Brewing’s Sammy Terry Kolsch — a citra hopped kolsch made with a touch of flesh and blood (that’s dragonfruit flesh and “blood,” but who wants to split hairs over a beverage this tasty).