CHRIS POGGIALI: Hi, I’m Chris Poggiali and I’ve been an Al Adamson fan for 22 years. [Laughs] Why do I feel like I’m at an AA meeting? Anyway, I’m here with David Konow, who literally wrote the book on Al Adamson (Schlock-O-Rama: The Films of Al Adamson), and we’re discussing two of Al’s most exciting films, FIVE BLOODY GRAVES (1970) and NURSE SHERRI (1978). Now, Dave, I understand that FIVE BLOODY GRAVES was shot before SATAN’S SADISTS but released after it?
DAVID KONOW: Yes. By 1970, Al had started a number of films that remained unfinished for financial reasons. FIVE BLOODY GRAVES was one of those movies, but once he hit it big with SATAN’S SADISTS, he was able to go back and finish all of the other movies. Gary Graver, who was one of Al’s main cinematographers, told me he often didn’t know what movie they were shooting pick-up shots for. One day, Robert Dix showed up wearing his cowboy outfit and Al said, “We’re going to shoot FIVE BLOODY GRAVES today.” Gary was like, “Oh? Okay.”
POGGIALI: I imagine the word “bloody” was worked into the title so Sam Sherman could play the movie in drive-ins with stuff like FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR and BLOOD OF GHASTLY HORROR, but Independent-International Pictures wasn’t even formed yet when this movie went into production. What drove Al Adamson to do a western when it seemed like 90% of the low-budget movies getting made were horror, sci-fi or biker flicks?
KONOW: When I was writing Schlock-O-Rama, someone told me that FIVE BLOODY GRAVES was kind of a send-off for Al’s father, Denver Dixon, who was a real cowboy from Australia and had been a big star in silent westerns. Basically, it was his last chance to play cowboys and Indians. Also, Al wasn’t thrilled with his first attempt at filmmaking, which had been a western called HALFWAY TO HELL, so he wanted to try another western.
POGGIALI: On the audio commentary for FIVE BLOODY GRAVES, Sam says that one of Al’s favorite movies was THE PROFESSIONALS, a western made only a year or two before FIVE BLOODY GRAVES. Al obviously had a love for the genre, because he returned to it several more times during the 1970’s. In fact, the one and only conversation I had with Al occurred soon after the release of BAD GIRLS (1994), which we both agreed was similar to his 1976 western JESSI’S GIRLS.
To read the rest of the liner notes by Chris Poggiali & David Konow, buy the FIVE BLOODY GRAVES / NURSE SHERRI double feature DVD from POP Cinema!