A while back, we covered Satan’s Sadists, the movie that was Al Adamson’s initial big hit. Psycho-A-Go-Go is where he got started.
Adamson was the son of silent film stars Denver Dixon and Dolores Booth. After working on some of his father’s later films, he started his own production company with Sam Sherman called Independent-International Pictures.
From tinting a Filipino horror movie neon hues and releasing it as a movie shot in Spectrum X — Horror of the Blood Monsters — to filming two movies at Spahn Ranch and making two softcore stewardess movies in one year (1975’s The Naughty Stewardesses and Blazing Stewardesses, which actually had parts written by the elderly Three Stooges who were unable to appear), Adamson’s movies are all over the map. His films Dracula vs. Frankenstein and Carnival Magic are both shockingly inept and amazingly transcendent, sometimes at the very same time. Yeah, I get the incongruity of this statement.
This movie was to be a straight action picture, back when it had the title Echo of Terror. But soon, it turned into a vehicle for Adamson to promote Tacey Robbins’ singing amidst a plot where a murderous jewel thief stalks a woman and her child after jewels are hidden inside the girl’s Christie Minstrel doll. Yes, a singing black baby doll that sings old slave songs, 1965 grindhouse fare ain’t the place to find woke storylines. I’d imagine that this plot point was cribbed from The Night of the Hunter.
Amazingly, Adamson would resurrect this movie numerous times over the next several years, turning it into a veritable zombie of a film. In 1969, it was completely re-edited, with John Carradine as a mad scientist added after the fact, and re-released as The Fiend with the Electronic Brain.
Two years after that, Adamson added even more footage to the film, including scenes with his wife Regina Carrol, and created an entirely new version called Blood of Ghastly Horror. The fact that three different movies are vying for one coherent narrative probably didn’t matter to Adamson. All of this was released one more time as a fourth version of the film, The Man With the Synthetic Brain. I can only imagine the confusion of some viewers who had to be sure they’d seen this movie before, as the main villain’s motivations go from being simply villainous to being experimented on by an evil doctor to dying early in the third and fourth versions of the film before his father brings a zombie to gain revenge on the family of the evil doctor. Imagine a movie being a sequel to itself but never telling you! Talk about confusing!
Adamson would end up with a rough end to his life, with his wife dying from cancer and then being murdered by his live-in contractor and buried in the concrete for his new pool.