Although it's very unlikely that his admittedly cheap-'n'-cheesy films will ever be acknowledged as true works of cinematic art, director/producer/screenwriter Al Adamson did nonetheless make a slew of entertainingly trashy low-budget exploitation features for the drive-in market throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
He was born on July 25, 1929, in Hollywood, California, the son of actress Dolores Booth and actor/director Victor Adamson, who appropriately enough specialized in shoddy "B"-grade--and lower--westerns in the 1920s and 1930s, both as an actor and especially as a director. Al's first foray into filmmaking was helping his father as director and producer on the movie Halfway to Hell (1953). In the mid-'60s Al founded the prolific grindhouse outfit Independent-International Pictures with producer/distributor Sam Sherman. Adamson cranked out flicks in every conceivable genre: scuzzy biker items (Satan's Sadists (1969), Hell's Bloody Devils (1970), Angels' Wild Women (1972)), grungy westerns (Five Bloody Graves (1969), Jessi's Girls (1975)), smarmy softcore sex comedies (The Naughty Stewardesses (1974), Blazing Stewardesses (1975)), funky blaxploitation (Mean Mother (1974), Black Heat (1976)), ridiculous science-fiction dross (the gloriously ghastly Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970)), two Jim Kelly martial arts action outings (Black Samurai (1976), Death Dimension (1978)), lurid horror fare (Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971), Brain of Blood (1971), Nurse Sherri (1978)) and even a tongue-in-cheek softcore science-fiction musical (Cinderella 2000 (1977)). Moreover, Adamson served as a producer for both the exciting Fred Williamson blaxploitation vehicle Hammer (1972) and the acclaimed made-for-TV drama Cry Rape (1973). The casts of Adamson's movies were made up of oddball but enthusiastic amateurs and faded professional thespians whose career was on the wane, including Kent Taylor, Russ Tamblyn, Lon Chaney Jr. and the ubiquitous John Carradine. Al frequently gave his wife Regina Carrol sizable parts in his films. Moreover, Adamson was a mentor for future schlock-feature directors Greydon Clark and John 'Bud' Cardos. He was also instrumental in launching the career of ace cinematographer Gary Graver. In addition, Adamson kept fellow top cinematographers László Kovács and Vilmos Zsigmond employed in their early days.
Al Adamson's life came to a brutal and untimely end at age 66 when he was murdered by live-in contractor Fred Fulford on August 2, 1995.
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