Tag Archives: Al Adamson


Supplement your reading of Giles Edwards‘ full-length reviews of The Deeper You Dig, Vivarium, Dreamland, and Come to Daddy with this digest of “everything else” from week one.

Montréal 2019

It could have been a century ago: I descended from the subterranean locomotive to make a rendezvous with a Frenchman at a café to gain access to my base of operations.

7/11: Sadako

Flowing from a deep well of tedium, this J-Horror Ringu “re-boot” made me nostalgic for a film I haven’t actually seen. (Shame, shame.) Over the course of one-hundred long minutes, I was challenged to feel sympathy for young hospital psychologist, Mayu (Elaiza Ikeda), find her insufferable brother, Kazuma (Hiroya Shimizu), endearing, and be remotely crept out by the “mysterious girl” (Himeka Himejima). It failed on all counts. The director of the original franchise, Hideo Nakata, was at the helm and managed to drain whatever life was present in the original to present an over-lit, under-developed story which only managed to elicit an enthusiastic response from the audience on two occasions. The first was from a direct nod to the video of “girl-with-hair-emerging-from-well”; the second was a raucous laugh at the discovery of a victim that reminded me of nothing else so much as Martin Prince’s contorted corpse reveal in The Simpson’s “Nightmare on Evergreen Terrace”.

7/12: Little Monsters

Little Monsters StillDirector Abe Forsythe accomplishes what I had thought impossible: wringing another blood droplet from parched Zombie Movie cloth. (Bad metaphor: forgive me, it’s early.) Little Monsters opens with an hilarious montage of a couple constantly bickering while the credits run, setting things up nicely for dead-beat, former musician Dave (Alexander England) to hit rock bottom and crash at his sister’s place. While there, he connects with his nephew, and ultimately meets the nephew’s kindergarten teacher, Miss Clementine (Lupita Nyong’o, playing her as a cross between a schoolmarm and a manic pixie dream girl). What follows is a field-trip to a local zoo, which happens to be situated right next to an American military research facility. (Forsythe knows well that he’s re-treading the zombie thing; when troops are called in there’s the exchange, “Zombies? Again?” –Yeah. “Fast ones, or slow ones?” –Slow ones. “Thank God it’s the slow ones.”)

The movie is not only an odd mishmash of rom-com and zombie horror, but also plays like an R-rated version of a G-rated movie: if it Continue reading 2019 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL: OMNIBUS FIELD REPORT #1


After the success of 1968’s The Conqueror Worm (AKA The Witchfinder General, with a deliciously evil ), director was assigned dual films: The Oblong Box and Scream and Scream Again. Unfortunately, shortly after pre-production work on The Oblong Box , Reeves died at the age of 25 from an accidental, lethal mix of alcohol and barbiturates, putting an end to a promising career. The film must have seemed cursed, because scripter Lawrence Huntington also died. Gordon Hessler replaced Reeves and Christopher Wicking replaced Huntington. Given Reeves’ high critical standing, Hessler was immediately criticized as being unable to fill the late director’s shoes. While there’s little doubt that Reeves’  idiosyncratic style would be impossible to imitate, he was unenthusiastic about the assignment to begin with. Thus, whether he could have made a better film is pure speculation. Despite starring Vincent Price and The Oblong Box can hardly compete with ‘s AIP Poe series, but it does have an ambitious, somber, gothic style of its own and is well photographed by John Coquillon.

Of more interest is a genuine oddity in the AIP canon: Scream and Scream Again, which also starred both Price and Lee along with (in what amounts to a cameo) and the same writing/directing team of Wicking and Hessler. Released in the U.K in 1969 and stateside 1970, Scream and Scream Again is one of the queerest horror science fiction extravaganzas committed to celluloid, which may explain why proclaimed it among his favorite films. Wicking’s screenplay is an ambitiously brazen adaptation of Peter Saxon’s “The Disoriented Man.” Given that Hessler is a minor cult filmmaker, Scream and Scream Again is, likewise, a film with a minor cult reputation, one that deserves a broader audience. Although imperfect, it is creepy and perverse enough to be of interest to weird movie lovers who crave a challenge.

Still fromScream and Scream Again (1969)The fragmented plot (one of several) opens with a jogger in the park, keeling over from what appears to be a heart attack. He wakes up in a hospital bed to a nurse who won’t speak to him. After she leaves, the jogger finds that his leg has been amputated. He screams.

The corpse of a rape victim is discovered with two puncture wounds on her wrist.

In an unnamed European totalitarian state, a humanoid Gestapo soldier (a lurid Marshall Jones) murders his superior by squeezing his shoulder.

The jogger wakes up to find his second leg amputated. He screams again.

Inspector Bellever (Alfred Marks) of Scotland Yard sets up a sting to Continue reading 1969 EXPLOITATION TRIPLE FEATURE: SCREAM AND SCREAM AGAIN, IT’S ALIVE, AND SATAN’S SADISTS


The son of “Z” grade western director Victor Adamson, exploitation horror director Al Adamson came by his credentials honestly. Tragically, Adamson also unintentionally secured his own cult status, in a lurid example of life imitating art, when he was brutally murdered by a contractor. Several weeks later, the director’s body was discovered buried under freshly laid cement and bathroom tile. It could have been a scene culled from one of Adamson’s movies, and has the makings of a cult film in itself.

Like his father, Al Adamson was a hack, and never put on the pretense of being anything more than that. His formula for low-grade trash was female udders and genre actors well past their tether. Adamson’s wife Regina Carrol, his version of Chesty Morgan, usually supplied the udders. Similar to the partnerships between and or and , Adamson had aged horror icon for two films: The Female Bunch (1971, part of which was shot on Charles Manson’s Spahn Ranch) and Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971). Both films were actually a smorgasbord of faded  “B” celebrities. In Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Adamson also cast J. Carrol Naish, who had once co-starred opposite Chaney in the Universal monster mash House Of Frankenstein (1944). Vs. turned out to be the last film for both actors, and neither were more frightening than they were here, albeit not intentionally. Chaney does yet another mute Lenny variation (he barely rasped his few lines in The Female Bunch as Adamson filmed the actor happily downing vodka). Bloated, splotchy, yellowed with jaundice, and dying of throat cancer (like his father), Chaney was too ill to speak by the time of Dracula vs. Frankenstein. In contrast, Naish is wheelchair-bound and frighteningly emaciated. Two-foot dwarf (from Freaks), (from West Side Story) Jim Davis (best known for his later role as Jock Ewing in the ‘Dallas’ TV series) and “Famous Monsters Of Filmland” founder Forrest J. Ackerman makeup the remaining cast of debatably familiar faces.

Still from Dracula vs. Frankestein (1971)However, it is newcomer Zandor Vorkov as a Dracula-with-an-afro that one remembers the most. He has been called the “worst Dracula in cinema,” and considering the competition, that is quite an accomplishment. Unfortunately, Vorkov only made one other film, also in 1971, also for Adamson: Brain Of Blood, another “all-star extravaganza” that cast the actor as “Mohammed,” opposite Rossito and The Incredible Shrinking Man‘s Grant Williams. Although Vorkov is still living, he reportedly went into seclusion, founded a religious Continue reading AL ADAMSON’S DRACULA VS. FRANKENSTEIN (1971)