Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection Blu-ray
Review by Lee Sobel
5 out of 5 stars
They say that streaming is killing physical media, but companies like Severin Films are going to save it in my opinion, on the basis of the incredible 14-disc set, Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection on blu-ray. Saying that this deluxe set delivers the goods is an understatement. It is lavishly designed and is loaded with extras, featurettes, commentaries, outtakes, and a lot more. It's no wonder that Amazon is now charging upwards of $600 to buy this incredible deluxe set and that collectors are having bidding wars on Ebay to try to win this thing. It's simply a must have. The jewel in the crown is the 2019 documentary feature, Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson, directed by David Gregory who also directed the equally outstanding Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of
Richard Stanley's Island of Dr. Moreau (2014). The hook in the Adamson doc is not just the incredible array of film clips and interviews with people who worked in front of and behind the camera with the famed low budget director, but the mystery surrounding his murder. As you watch the doc, you try to figure out the motive for such a crime and it makes watching the film a heightened experience.
Adamson made at least one great film, the 1969 biker movie Satan's Sadists starring Russ (West Side Story) Tamblyn. It's like Easy Rider with balls. In the Blood & Flesh doc, Tamblyn talks about how he rewrote his lines in the script, including a nihilistic monologue that when he met Quentin Tarantino, the auteur director spoke it to him, word for word. In my opinion, Satan's Sadists is every bit as good, if not better, than Roger Corman's The Wild Angels starring Peter Fonda. As for the rest of Adamson's oeuvre, it's hit-or-miss because sometimes these movies would be released, not find an audience, more footage would be shot, titles would change, etc. and the films would feel like cinematic Frankensteins lumbering around in circles. Take The Female Bunch -- it's fun but it doesn't hold a candle to Russ Meyer's Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! That said, it's hard to knock a filmmaker who could make movies on fifty grand and have major name actors in them like Lon Changey, Jr., John Carradine, Scott Brady, etc. I marvel at what Adamson could put on screen - well I guess it helped that he routinely ripped off his crew people who went with the flow anyway because they were learning their craft. Hence, Adamson gave starts to such cinematographers as Vilmos Zsigmond who later won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Gary Graver who also worked with Orson Welles.
I could go on and on about how much I love this collection, but I hope the major studios or at least other independent companies get hold of this deluxe set and study it because Severin Films really knows how to deliver the goods. It even includes a very well produced book called The Blood and Flesh Files by Bill Ackerman & Amanda Reyes. Not a booklet -- a 120 page book! So, jump on Ebay and watch the auctions for this set because it's only going to go up in price and if you love genre movies, you will definitely want to own this baby!