“Cheap-‘n’-cheesy” Hollywood film director Al Adamson spent the better part of his life producing low or no budget features for the drive-in movie market. Getting his start filming westerns, his career wouldn’t take off until the 1960s when he partnered with Sam Sherman to form Independent-International Pictures.
Together the pair would release films in genres across the board including exploitation films, westerns, biker movies, and even a musical, but the ones the outfit would be remembered for were their trashy horror and sci-fi flicks. With titles such as Horror of the Blood Monsters and Dracula vs. Frankenstein, some of the movies IIP produced remain cult favorites to this day.
Adamson often had little money to produce these B or lower grade films and most of the cast would be comprised of his own wife, as well as other struggling actors. But Adamson also had a knack for roping in well-known, yet fading, actors to draw people to the movie. This is what kept the business going for many years.
By 1980, Adamson had all but retired from the film industry, and while Adamson may not be among the ranks of directors such as Scorsese or Tarantino, the cheesy budget movie business was enough to live comfortably on. Adamson lived a quiet life of obscurity outside of Los Angeles until 1995, when he was discovered to have been brutally murdered. Some would say it’s rather ironic that a man whose career was built on bringing stories of murder and mayhem to life on the big screen would die in a similar fashion and, as rumor had it, the murder had been ripped from one of his own movie scripts.
In June of 1995, Adamson’s brother had reported that the aging movie director had been missing. After five weeks of searching, it was discovered that Adamson had been murdered. According to the reports, Adamson had been bludgeoned to death and entombed in cement, before being buried under terracotta tiles where his Jacuzzi once sat.
After several anonymous tips, police had arrested Adamson’s live-in contractor Fred Fulford. Adamson had allowed Fulford to stay in his home as it underwent renovations. Adamson’s brother testified that the former film director had suspected Fulford of stealing money and when he discovered that Fulford had run up $4,000 in various bills, Adamson was done with the independent contractor. It is believed that when Adamson confronted Fulford with the allegations that Fulford killed him and buried him underneath his own home.
In 1999, after a six-week trial, the jury found Fred Fulford guilty of first-degree murder. Fulford is currently serving out his sentence of 25-years to life in prison.