2021 Year End Review: Best Viewings

Compared to my movie-watching totals from last year, I really was slacking off! In 2020, I clocked in 422 titles! Not sure how I did that, but that really set the bar high for me from then on. But in 2021, I only got through 278 titles, but at least 160 of those were new viewings. My goal for this year is to hit at least 300, but we’ll see how that goes!

Below are the 10 films that I thought stood out amongst the rest and are definitely worth seeking out. These are listed in alphabetical order, and as always, these are all new viewings to me, so it doesn’t matter what year they actually came out. Enjoy!

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Book Review: When Dracula Met Frankenstein

When Dracula Met Frankenstein: My Years Making Drive-In Movies with Al Adamson
Published by Murania Press, 2021. 377 pages
By Sam Sherman

You can’t be a fan of exploitation cinema of the ‘60s and ‘70s and not know of Sam Sherman, either by name or the multitude of film titles that he had his fingers in. Sherman only has 28 credits as a producer, many of them for films directed by his good friend Al Adamson, but his mark on the film world is so much greater. He was an ad man who could come up with some of the best titles, promotional ideas, gimmicks, and all the other ballyhoo so memorable, sometimes more than the films themselves!

He is also the man that was responsible for introducing Paul Naschy to the states, when his company, Independent International, picked up Naschy’s Mark of the Wolfman when they were looking for a Frankenstein picture that they had already promised distributors. It featured two wolfmen and two vampires, but definitely no Frankenstein or his creature. But somehow, due to the creative genius of Sherman, Mark of the Wolfman now became Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror. If you don’t know the whole story already, then you’ll have to buy the book to find out!

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Sam Sherman Speaks!

I am shocked and amazed that I am just hearing about this new book and am eternally thankful to my friend Gavin Schmitt for putting it on my radar, which I quickly ordered!

So … not sure who Sam Sherman is? If you’ve ever seen any of the classic Al Adamson flicks, like Satan’s Sadist, Dracula vs Frankenstein, Blood of Ghastly Horror, or the Blood Island movies from the Philippines, such as Mad Doctor of Blood Island or Beast of Blood, then you at least know the work of Mr. Sherman. Or should I say, a small part of Sherman’s work. In the world of low-budget filmmaking, Sherman was involved in pretty much all aspects, especially when it came to promoting and distributing. He would help come up with the lurid titles, help with the ad campaign, and so much more.

Now, thanks to Murania Press, you’ll get to read all the juicy bits from his career, working with Independent International Pictures, Al Adamson, and much more. In this 378 page trade paperback book, you’ll read along as Sherman “revisits those halcyon days and reveals the behind-the-scenes story of IIP’s rise and fall.” But he also goes into the entire drive-in era, having to deal with independent producers and distributors, trying not to get ripped off, and all the other fun things you had to do when you were working well below the major studios.

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John “Bud” Cardos – Rest in Peace

We lost a great hero of independent cinema today, which unfortunately most fans don’t know. John “Bud” Cardos started his career in the film business back in the ’40s with Hal Roach’s Our Gang, and continued on from there, working in just about every part of the industry. He worked in the stunt department, acting, directing, and so much more. As an actor, he worked a lot with Al Adamson, appearing in films like Blood on Dracula’s Castle and Satan’s Sadist (both in 1969), Five Bloody Graves and Horror of the Blood Monsters (both in 1970), and as a director, he gave us Kingdom of the Spiders (1977), The Dark (1979), and Mutant (1984).

In April of 2005, Cardos was a guest at Cinema Wasteland, and along with Gary Kent, Greydon Clark, and William Smith, had some of the best stories of the industry. Cardos told the captive audience about the day he worked on a western film one day, falling off a horse about a dozen different times for different parts of the film, as different characters. Never got hurt. Then when he gets home, all he wants to do is just soak in the tub and relax, and end up slipping in the tub and breaking his arm!

Being a fan of some of the lower budgeted films and the people behind it, like Al Adamson, it really shows you how talented and creative some of these people were, that really don’t get the credit. If you’re not familiar with Cardos or his work, do yourself a favor check out some of his work.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. Gone, but never to be forgotten.

Movie Review: Blood & Flesh – The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson

Blood & Flesh banner 1

Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (2019)
Directed by David Gregory
Starring Al Adamson, Stevee Ashlock, John Bloom, Bud Cardos, Robert Dix, Tim Ferrante, Marilyn Joi, Gary Kent, Fred Olen Ray, Sam Sherman, Russ Tamblyn, Vilmos Zsigmond

Al Adamson’s films are really the epitome of what I consider a Turkey. It might not be well made, but it is usually entertaining. At the end of the day, that is all you can hope for in a movie. The more I had read and learned about Adamson, the more of his titles that I saw, like a few other low budget filmmakers, like Larry Buchanan, I discovered that I admired them more than their movies. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the wacky titles they would put out, but knowing a little history behind the production and the people that made it, it made me appreciate it for what it was, and not what it wasn’t. That is one of the reasons that I think this new documentary is just fantastic. It gives newer fans a better perspective of this man and his work, showing a method to the madness, as the saying goes. And even for older fans that maybe wrote Adamson and his work off, it will give them a little more insight that might change the way they see them now. Continue reading

Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection

AlAdamsonBoxNo questions asked, I am a fan of Al Adamson and his films.

No, I won’t argue that they are quality made films.

I will argue that they… well, most of them… are high quality entertainment!

Adamson is one of those filmmakers that I admire the shit out of because of what he accomplished with what he had, when it came to time, budget, actors, and everything else needed to make a movie. He used what he had, he got them made, and out into the world. And they made money, or at least enough for him to continue doing it. So no matter how ‘bad’ some of them might be considered, I still give him a lot of credit. So a huge thanks to David Gregory at Severin for helping keep Adamson’s films and legacy alive and well for fans to remember and enjoy for years to come.

Now thanks to Severin Films, you can have your own Bu-ray copies of 31 of his films in one massive box set. PLUS, you get the new award-winning documentary Blood and Flesh: The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson, where you will learn more than you ever thought you could on the amazing life and tragic death of this true independent filmmaker. Continue reading

Blood & Flesh: The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson

Flesh & Blood - Adamson documentaryI’ve been a long time fan of the work of Al Adamson. I know, some say that would be on par with being a fan of Larry Buchanan, but as I’ve said many times before, if you’re entertained by their work, then they can’t be bad movies! And I still stand by that statement! Adamson made some of the best in low budget horror and exploitation films, such as titles like Satan’s Sadist (1969), Horror of the Blood Monsters (1970), Brain of Blood (1971), Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971), The Naughty Stewardesses (1975) and Blazing Stewardesses (1975), and so many more. But Adamson’s ending was right out of one of his movies.

Now thanks to David Gregory and Severin Films, you’ll be able to learn more about this man than you ever thought possible. Maybe afterwards you’ll have a little more respect for this underrated filmmaker.

We don’t have a release date yet, but the documentary will be making its debut at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Stay tuned for more information.

Hemisphere Horrors!

Hemisphere HorrorsOnce again, Severin comes through in delivering the goods! After wetting fan’s appetite with the Blood Island box set, now you can experience more that Hemisphere Pictures released back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, all collected together in great little box set. Here are the films you get:

The Blood Drinkers (1964)
Curse of the Vampires (1966)
Brain of Blood (1971)
The Black Cat (1966)
The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967)

While the first 3 titles will be available separately, the last two are only available in the box set, which will retails at $59.99. Not a bad deal when you consider you’re getting 5 features, all been given 2K and 4K scans from vault film elements. These are probably going to look the best they ever have!

I remember back in the early days of me collecting films, trying to find some of these films were tricky because they sometimes would go under several different names. The distributors would change the names and release them over and over again, hoping the public wouldn’t notice that they might have seen this picture already! That is why Curse of the Vampires is also known as both Creatures of Evil and Blood of the Vampires.

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Vilmos Zsigmond – Rest in Peace

Zsigmond-RIPOscar winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond has passed away at the age of 85. While most of Hollywood know him from his work on films such as Deliverence (1972), The Deer Hunter (1978), The Rose (1979), and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Blow Out (1981), we here at the Krypt remember him for his earlier work, on some of the low budget films that we cherish as much as those classic pieces of cinema. Okay…maybe not as much, but we still enjoy them!

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Turkey Day 2011

t-day2011-1Welcome to our latest installment for our Turkey Day Marathon recap.  For our 9th year holding this little festival, it has grown quite a bit over the last few years.  At one point during the marathon, we had 8 people here, all eyes glued to the amazing film that was coming our of the TV.  Well, maybe not amazing, but definitely entertaining.  In fact, not one of the 7 films that we got through this year was one of those that we were just waiting for the end to come.  So that really was a first for our T-Day viewing party.  Usually there is at least one title that makes us just hate life in general.  Not to say we didn’t have our fill of Turkeys.  We had quite a few gems in here.

But before we get to the films, lets get to the victims.  As always, Dr. AC (aka Aaron Christensen), my Turkey Day co-pilot since 2005 was there.  As well as Craig Clark, making another long journey to take part in the marathon.  Last year, Joe Wallace and his girlfriend Jen had stopped by near the end.  But this year, they were here right from the start.  And our newest victim was another Chicago horror regular, Jason Coffman.  He is no stranger to movie marathons, so we knew he was a would have no problem joining our cinematic shindig.  My son Nick had to work for most of the day, but was back in time to catch the last couple of flicks.  And while not in the kitchen making copious amount of food for the gang, my wife Dawn came down for a couple of the films as well.  I mean, she’s married to me, so it can’t be too much of a surprise for her to see these kind of flicks….just saying!  But let’s get on to this years movies.

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