Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hell's Bloody Devils

In typical Independent-International fashion, producers Sam Sherman and Al Adamson cobbled this biker flick together using footage from a previously shot but unreleasable thriller called THE FAKERS. Not one to waste anything, the producers used the animated opening titles and theme song created for THE FAKERS, which are pretty good, but have nothing to do with a biker film called HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS. Note: the song is co-credited to the great Nelson Riddle (BATMAN), who had nothing to do with this film. Sherman and Adamson merely bought the rights to a pre-existing Riddle cue and used it in the titles.

Most of the cast would be surprised to learn they were even in a film called HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS. Adamson directed stars Broderick Crawford (ALL THE KING’S MEN), Scott Brady (HE WALKED BY NIGHT), Kent Taylor (TV’s Boston Blackie), Keith Andes (THIS MAN DAWSON), and John Gabriel (RYAN’S HOPE) in a story about the FBI investigating Nazi counterfeiters. Long after their scenes were completed, Robert Dix (BLOOD OF DRACULA’S CASTLE) came aboard as Cunk, leader of the Bloody Devils biker gang, who were now in the employ of war criminal Otto von Delberg (Taylor, who doesn’t bother with a German accent).

Because Taylor had completed his scenes two years earlier, Adamson brought back Vicki Volante (HORROR OF THE BLOOD MONSTERS), playing von Delberg’s lover, to connect the two shoots as the liaison between the Nazis and the bikers. Not that Adamson bothered to keep her wardrobe and hairstyles consistent, resulting in the most blatant continuity errors you’ve ever seen. Of course, since Adamson hired William Bonner (BLACK SHAMPOO) to play different roles in both shoots, he must have figured anyone watching would be either too dumb or too stoned to pay attention.

Gabriel hasn’t the billing, but has the starring role of Mark Adams, an FBI agent undercover within the Syndicate organization of Las Vegas mob boss Joe Brimante (Andes). He and Rocky (FIRST BLOOD’s Jack Starrett) are sent to broker a deal for counterfeit $20 bills between Brimante and von Delberg, who needs the Syndicate to circulate the phony dough and the cash payment to fund the Nazi Party’s return to glory in Germany. What Cunk and his gang are doing for von Delberg isn’t really explained, just that they show up for periodic payments from Volante.

In the most hilariously dumb scene in a film filled with them, Adams shows up at a dress shop to invite a young woman (Erin O’Donnell) to lunch. Cut to the two sitting in a Kentucky Fried Chicken with a full (!) bucket of chicken on the table and Colonel Sanders himself stopping by to ask if that isn’t “the most wonderful chicken you ever ate.” Besides the obvious incongruity of it, the 30-second scene serves no purpose except as a paid commercial, and I hope the actors were properly embarrassed.

Top-billed stars Crawford and Brady hang around the FBI’s chintziest office giving orders to new recruit Jill Harmon (bikini-clad Emily Banks), John Carradine (THE GRAPES OF WRATH) has a scene in a pet shop with the twins from “I, Mudd,” and Playmate Anne Randall (STACEY) goes topless as jailbait hot for Adams. Strangely, THE FAKERS, in its original form, appears to have been a decent film. Not good, of course — no Al Adamson film is — but it seems as though it may have been coherent with a good performance by Gabriel. However, HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS is a bait-and-switch mess. By virtue of its fast pace, though, it isn’t boring and is one of Adamson’s most watchable films. By 1971, HELL’S BLOODY DEVILS was playing double bills with another I-I biker film, SATAN’S SADISTS.

1 comment:

Grant said...

I know it's a "cherished" idea so maybe I shouldn't pick on it, but it seems like there's nothing a suspense movie WON'T do to bring fugitive Nazis / neo-Nazis into the story. In fact, when it comes to squeezing them edgewise into a story the MOST, I'll bet this movie even doesn't deserve to be that high on the list.