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Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review (Part Four Of Seven)

    Ian Jane

  • Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review (Part Four Of Seven)

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: June 2nd, 2020.
    Director: Al Adamson
    Cast: Gary Kent, Russ Tamblyn, Jackie Taylor, Regina Carrol, Evelyn Frank, Scott Brady, Ross Hagen, Kent Taylor, Preston Pierce, William Bonner, Robert Livingston, Connie Hoffman, Richard Smedley, Donna Young, Marilyn Joy, Sandy Carey, Yvonne De Carlo, Don 'Red' Barry
    Year: 1969/1971/1974/1975
    Purchase From Amazon

    Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection - Movie Reviews:

    Thirty-two movies! That's right, there are thirty-two movies in Severin Film's Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection boxed set, and so we're going to split this review up over a week, two discs per day, so that I don't shit my pants and start drooling.

    You can read coverage of discs one and two here.
    You can read coverage of discs three and four here.
    You can read coverage of discs five and six here.

    Here's a look at discs six and seven of this ridiculous boxed set.

    Disc Seven - Satan's Sadists/Angels' Wild Women:

    First up, a biker-trash epic in the form of Angels' Wild Women, a late period entry that isn't quite as entertaining as the second feature on this disc but which works on many of the same levels. When the movie opens, two dirt bags are chasing a foxy black woman (Magie Bembry) dubbed 'Cool Chick' through a field. When they catch up to her, she's raped.

    What the rapists didn't necessarily realize is that Cool Chick was part of a super tough gang of female bikers. Led by Margo (Regina Carrol), they're not pleased at all about what's happened to Cool Chick and they decide to take it upon themselves to get revenge.

    The girls learn that their respective men are meeting up with another gang and that they don't want any female distractions along for the ride. They then decide to take their hogs out for a trip and wind up hanging out at a farm in the middle of nowhere. Here they come across a farm boy who is a bit of a simpleton and, well, they rape him. From here, the girls cruise around on their bikes and get into trouble, starting fights, getting wasted and the like. This kinda-sorta crosses over into a plot where the girls get mixed up with a cult leader named King (William Bonner) uses his cult leader abilities to coerce the owner of a ranch named Parker (Kent Taylor) to basically let him do all the evil stuff he wants to do. A guy named Speed (Ross Hagen) shows up to try and save the day.

    The story is a bit of a mess but large chunks of the movie were, interestingly enough given the subject matter, shot in and around the Spahn Ranch where the Manson Family infamously hung out. Hardly a story for the feminist crowd even if it does portray some strong female characters, the movie, like the first feature, does feature some grisly rape and some pretty strong violence. It also features lots of footage of people riding motorcycles, which can start to get old after a while. Still, this is pretty entertaining. It's a good part for Carrol, who makes the most of it, and Bonner is pretty fun to watch as the cult leader.

    Oh, and you get to see one guy pee on another guy, so that's something.

    Up next, 1969's biker trash 'classic,' Satan's Sadists, a movie made fast and cheap over eight days that proved to be quite the box office hit for then fledgling Independent International Pictures. When the movie begins, a young couple is enjoying the great outdoors with a little make-out session only to be interrupted by Satan's Sadists, the roughest and toughest biker gang around, led by psycho Anchor (Russ Tamblyn). The poor guy if grabbed and beaten and, somewhat predictably, his poor girlfriend is raped by the bikers. When they're done, they put the two lovebirds in their car, trap them inside, set the car on fire and then push it off a cliff (cars fall off of cliffs a lot in Adamson movies it seems)!

    Elsewhere, a fine upstanding American Marine named Johnny (Gary Kent) has just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam. He hitches a ride from Charles Baldwin (Scott Brady), a cop, and his wife Nora (Evelyn Frank), a kindly couple on vacation willing to help him out with a lift. They stop at a diner along the way, run by Lew (Kent Taylor) and Tracy (Jackie Taylor), only to have their lovely meal interrupted by the arrival of Satan's Sadists. One of the female members, Gina (Regina Carrol), gets up and does a go-go dance on the table and the gang starts to get pretty rowdy until Lou steps up to try and put them in their place. They're not having any of that and a fight breaks out and when Anchor gets ahold of Charles' gun, they get the upper hand.

    The bikers take Charles, Nora and Lew outside to rough them up while Johnny and Tracy tend to one of the wounded bikers. After Anchor rapes Nora he shoots all three of them dead while Johnny and Tracy escape the gang and run off in her dune buggy -but the bikers are hot on their tails and won't be too happy at all when they catch up with them.

    A trashy, nasty and violent exploitation picture, Satan's Sadist kicks pretty hard. Tamblyn is a real kick in the lead, clearly having a great time playing the psychopath and really throwing himself into the part. There's some obvious enthusiasm on his part here, and his speech to Charles before he kills him, a rant about how cops come down on the longhairs, which was improvised during the shoot, is a pretty classic moment. Gary Kent is pretty decent as the lead, he's got the right look for the part and does a fine job here. Jackie Taylor doesn't have much range but she looks great and handles the material just fine. Supporting work from Brady, Frank, Taylor and Carrol is also more than decent and hey, look out for Greydon Clark, John 'Bud'Cardos and Robert Dix - Adamson regulars all - to appear in the movie.

    The movie is quick in its pace and makes good use of some California locations. The violence is quite a bit stronger than in most of Adamson's other work and it carries a bit of impact when it's used. The movie also features a really cool theme song, and a few other tracks, from Harley Hatcher on the soundtrack that are used to good effect. Oh, and you get to see someone killed in a toilet bowl too, which definitely counts for something.

    Disc Eight - The Naughty Stewardesses/Blazing Stewardesses:

    Released in 1974, The Naughty Stewardesses was clearly meant to cash in on the craze firmly established by directed Al Silliman Jr.'s 1969 hit, The Stewardesses. Additionally, Hemisphere Pictures had recently imported and very successfully released Irwin C. Dietrich's The Swinging Stewardesses (a.k.a. Die Stewardessen a.k.a. Stewardesses Report), so why not get in on this through Sherman's own Independent International Productions?

    The storyline opens when Debbie (Connie Hoffman) arrives in California and meets her stewardess roommates: Margie (Donna Desmond a.k.a Donna Young), Barbara (Marilyn Joi) and Jane (Sydney Jordan). It doesn't take straight-laced Debbie long to figure to figure out that these three are a little more advanced in the ways of physical love than she. In fact, the first night that Debbie is in her new digs with her new pals, she witnesses a debauched party complete with a nude man covered in whipped cream wheeled out on a gurney!

    Before long, Debbie has found herself involved with a handsome young photographer named Cal (Richard Smedley) but when she finds out he's got some odd and eerie habits, she takes solace in the arms of the much older, and much wealthier, man about town Ben Brewster (Robert Livingston). Ben puts on the appearance of having pure intentions but we know that isn't the case, and soon enough Debbie does too - but at the same time, the randy behavior of her roommates seems to have started rubbing off on our small town girl to the point where maybe she doesn't mind so much. Eventually Cal gets the bright idea of holding the girls as hostages in hopes that rich boy Ben will pony up a cool fifty grand for their return, but his plan doesn't exactly work out like he had hoped it would.

    Not nearly as racy as you might expect given the title, The Naughty Stewardesses is a pretty entertaining little sexploitation picture that makes good use of an attractive cast of ladies. It's more playful than it is anything else, although the rape scene in the film definitely hasn't aged well! Political correctness wasn't a concern when this was made, however, and it is what it is, best to not overthink it. There's a good bit of T&A scattered throughout the movie, with the requisite shower scene included as well as a few scenes of nudity-laden lovemaking and a weird scene where a pilot and a stewardess get it on in the plane while a little kid peeps in on them. There's some pretty ridiculous dialogue scattered throughout the scene, most of which relates to Debbie's sexual awakening ("I feel so free... perhaps by taking off my clothes I took my mask off too!" being the best of the bunch!) and there's a weird subplot involving and underground porno movie ring in here too!

    As far as the cast goes, Connie Hoffman, who also appeared in The Van for Crown International as well as this movie's follow up (more on that below), is a great choice for the lead here. Not only is she simply gorgeous but she's got the right sort of vibe to make this part work. She's very likable here, and does a fine job bringing her character out of her initial naivety into a more promiscuous demeanor. Supporting work from the always reliable Marilyn Joi is appreciated, and Donna Desmond and Sydney Jordan are both a lot of fun to watch here as well. Livingston feels a bit out of place given that he is noticeable much older than everyone else but he doesn't do a bad job in the part and really and truly does seem to be enjoying himself.

    Made a year later after the success of The Naughty Stewardesses, 1975's Blazing Stewardesses is definitely not what you'd expect from a 'sequel' to the first picture. And really, it isn't much of a sequel at all, despite two returning characters in the shapely forms of Debbie (Connie Hoffman) and Barbara (Marilyn Joi, who is amusingly credited here as T.A. King!). They join forces with fellow stewardess Lori (Regina Carroll) to enjoy a little rest and relaxation at The Lucky Dollar Ranch, run by Debbie's pal Ben Brewster (Robert Livingston).

    They are shocked and saddened when, shortly after their arrival, they learn that Ben is being terrorized by a gang of masked men on horseback led by Mike Trask (Don 'Red' Berry). Eventually they decide to hang out at a nearby brothel run by Honey Morgan (Yvonne De Carlo) while Harry and Jimmy Ritz, two goofball old timey comedians who would have been right at home performing at the Holiday Inn (though they did make quite a few movies and TV appearances and reportedly did a stint on stage in Las Vegas, provide terrible comedic relief throughout the picture.

    This one is a mess. Not that The Naughty Stewardesses was a masterpiece or anything but getting through this follow will prove to be a chore for some viewers. The nudity is turned down quite a bit (though we do get a toe sucking scene and some upside down/against the wall sex!) and there's way too much Ritz Brothers comedy in here for anyone's good (they do a coordinated dance number on a patio at one point if that's your thing). The whole thing feels very padded. We get footage of a parade, footage of a rodeo - and yeah, fine, a lot of Adamson's films were obviously padded but this one takes it to the next level.

    As to the cast? Hoffman is still super cute and likable here and Marilyn Joi is as well. Carrol plays the airhead role to the hilt, to the point that she's actually kind of annoying in this one, but she looks good all dolled up in the picture and, as she was married to the director, she gets just as much, if not more, screen time then the other two actresses. Yvonne De Carlo, whose career would start to slide downhill from here but hit much lower depths than this turkey in just a few years, does seem to be having fun with the project and it's amusing to see her 'sing' in the movie. The rivalry between Berry and Livingston does feel like something out of an old cowboy movie, but clearly that's the intention. But at ninety-five-minutes, this thing just feels about twenty-five-minutes longer than it really needed to be.

    The film was originally meant to be titled The Jet Set and was also re-released as Texas Layover, Cathouse Cowgirls and The Great Truck Robbery.

    Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection - Blu-ray Review:

    Angels' Wild Women is framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and takes up just over 23GBs of space while Satan's Sadists is framed at 1.33.1 and takes up just under 24GBs of space on the same 50GB disc. Both of these transfers look really nice. There's the expected amount of natural film grain, as there should be, but surprisingly little in terms of actual print damage to bitch about. Colors are reproduced beautifully in both films, they look very bright and bold while still coming across as natural and never overly boosted. Black levels are quite strong here as well. Detail is impressive throughout the duration of both pictures, blowing away the old DVD releases in a big way. There are no problems with any compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction problems either, everything looks very filmic here.

    The Naughty Stewardesses is framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and gets just over 18GBs of space while Blazing Stewardesses, also framed at 1.85.1 widescreen, gets just over 25GBs of space. Both of these movies look quite good. There is some minor print damage in the form of the odd scratch and speck now and then but it's small stuff, never irritating or distracting. Colors look great, flesh tones appear lifelike and we get nice strong black levels too. Again, no issues with noise reduction, edge enhancement or compression artifacts and very impressive detail throughout.

    All for films on discs seven and eight get 16-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks with subtitles provided in English only. The movies sound fine. There aren't really any problems with any hiss or distortion at all and the levels are properly balanced on both pictures. Dialogue stays clean and easily discernible throughout. No problems here at all, and there's even a bit of depth to the music used in both pictures.

    Extras for discs seven and eight are as follows:

    Disc Seven - Satan's Sadists/Angels' Wild Women:

    Angel's Wild Women includes an archival commentary with Sherman that, like all of his other tracks, is a seriously interesting look back at the making of the movie. He talks about how Adamson directed and produced the film and how it isn't as well-known as his horror pictures despite doing well theatrically. He then talks about how everything in the film industry is influenced by something else, how he and Adamson made movies to take advantage of trends in the drive-in market, how Satan's Sadists' success inspired this one, the influence of Easy Rider, how they used the 'war' footage from another movie in this picture, Adamson's cameo and his dog's appearance as well, casting the picture, how the film started in one direction and changed completely as it was being made and started as a picture called Screaming Angels, how the creation of New World Pictures had an impact on this movie, how Jackie Mason ties into this, casting the film and how some of the Adamson stock players once again wound up here, the impact that the Manson murders had on the movie, tweaks that were made in post-production, working with Adamson and lots more.

    Aside from that we get a trailer, a TV spot and some radio spots.

    Extras for Satan's Sadists start off with another archival commentary with Sherman. He speaks about how this was the first movie made specifically for IIP, how they made this to cash in on the motorcycle craze and how the rape scene was edited to get the picture an R-rating. He talks a bit about the marketing of the film, dealing with the MPAA and how they use the rating system against the independent companies, how the big studies have since been able to take over, how Harley Hatcher's music wound up being used in the film and the success of the soundtrack LP, how Greydon Clark is an uncredited writer on the script, how they intentionally loaded the film with as much sex and violence as they could, Shermans' experiences working for Hemisphere Pictures, the creation of Very Strange Video, the importance of casting Tamblyn in the film and the quality of his improvised speech, the quality of the camerawork, Adamson and Carrol's relationship, shooting almost entirely on location and lots more.

    Also on the disc is a nine-minute collection of outtakes from the film, presented without sound (but which include some bonus nudity!). Additionally, be on the lookout for some TV and radio spots and two trailers for the feature (on of which touts the film as “a rebellion of human garbage!”).

    Disc Eight - The Naughty Stewardesses/Blazing Stewardesses:

    The Naughty Stewardesses features an archival audio commentary with producer/distributor Samuel M. Sherman. In this track he covers how most of the films that he and Adamson did for featured some interesting animated titles, some of the work he did at Hemisphere, the importance of casting the film with the right actresses, how Sydney Jordan had a music career as well as an acting career, shooting the interiors in a flight simulator, Regina Carrol's involvement in the film and how she and Adamson were living in Palm Springs at the time, how the cast and crew used the main house in the film to live in during the shoot, shooting the whipped cream scene, how the use of a studio fell through leaving him in a tricky situation, where some of the ideas for certain scenes came from and having to consult with an actual doctor to get the heart attack scene right, distributing the film independently, using Adamson's two homes for locations and plenty more. He also talks about bringing aging western movie star Livingston into the fold for this production. Like all the Sherman commentary tracks, it's a veritable history lesson in the making of this picture and a great reminiscence of the time he and Adamson spent working together.

    The disc also includes a featurette called Fly Girls: The Stewardess As Lifestyle Icon In The Golden Age Of Exploitation. Here, over the span of fourteen-minutes, we learn, thanks to narration from Kier-La Janisse (who also wrote and edited the piece) how the 'jet age' of the sixties made flying glamorous and fun and how stewardesses where a big part of that, some airlines subjecting them to regular weight checks! We also learn about the advent of the Boeing 747 with its large lounges and how eventually stewardesses became an attraction to air travel. Filmmakers eventually decided to cash in on this, and the featurette provides a bit of a primer on that starting with films like Come Fly With Me and Boeing Boeing and then later 1969's The Stewardesses, originally rated X. This was a huge hit and let to a lot of knock offs, including, but not limited to, the two features included on this disc. Erin C. Dietrich's entries are also covered as are films like The Ghost Of Flight 401, Corman's entries like Fly Me and quite a bit more.

    Rounding out the extras is a TV spot, some radio spots and a combo theatrical trailer that pairs the film with Blazing Stewardesses. He talks about not wanting to make another stewardess movie right after Naughty Stewardesses, but he got coerced into doing it by his backers and buyers because it was quite successful. He talks again about Bob LaBar's animated titles, lifting ideas from The Swinging Stewardesses a bit and using the L.A. Zoo as a location based on Adamson's suggestion, casting the film and getting Regina Carrol back for the movie, Sherman's desire to shoot at a real dude ranch, how the film isn't another sexploitation picture and strives to be completely different movie. He talks about the influence of different classic westerns, getting influence from the success of Blazing Saddles, working with Harry and Jimmy Ritz, trying to get the Three Stooges to appear in the film and a whole lot more.

    Blazing Stewardesses' special features also start off with an archival commentary track from Sherman.

    The disc also contains an alternate title sequence for The Great Truck Robbery, a trailer, a TV spot, a combo TV spot, some radio spots and all of the footage that Adamson directed from Bedroom Stewardesses. This last bit is comprised of eighteen-minutes' worth of material, only the footage from the film that Adamson was responsible for, and it is presented in high definition and in pretty nice shape as well.

    Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection - The Final Word:

    Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection disc seven is a really solid biker-trash double feature, presenting both films in nice shape and with fine audio. The extra are solid too, especially the commentary tracks. Disc eight does a great job breathing new life into the Stewardess movies, even if Blazing Stewardesses is awful!

    Click on the images below for full sized Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection Disc Seven Blu-ray screen caps!

    Click on the images below for full sized Al Adamson: The Masterpiece Collection Disc Eight Blu-ray screen caps!

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