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October 5, 2010

Flicks: The Female Bunch (1969)

The Female Bunch (1969)
Spahn Ranch 1969: The story for this film was the set and not the actors.

Shot on location at Spahn Ranch in the Summer of 1969, the infamous adopted home of the Manson family from 1968-1969, The Female Bunch was released the same month that California authorities raided the Ranch for Manson and his followers on suspicion of murder in October of 1969[0].

The Female Bunch features a worn down Creighton "Lon" Chaney Jr. fresh from his role in Jack Hill's cult classic Spider-Baby (1968) as the drug dealing Monti in his one of Creighton's last film roles [1].

The rest of the cast includes the inscrutable Russ Tamblyn who co-starred in High School Confidential! w/the sensational Mamie Van Doren with a bevy of underemployed part-time actresses and aspiring models including Jennifer Bishop as gang leader Grace and Nesa Renet as Sandy.

Al Adamson's Female Bunch are a collection of tough cookies who live by themselves on Spahn Ranch and proudly boast that they are completely independent of men - while also hiding out from a group of them from across the deadly desert of Death Valley.

Director Al Adamson made many, many other B-movie "classics" such as Psycho A Go-Go (1965), Black Samurai (1977), Blazing Stewardesses (1975) and Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971).

All did not end well with Al Adamson who, in 1995, was bludgeoned to death by a handyman by the name of Fred Fulford. Fulford buried his body under fresh cement and tile in Adamson's own Indio, California bathroom. Fulford then posed as the 66-year-old former director even using Adamson's clothing and credit cards at a hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida while on the run. Eventually Fulford was apprehended, convicted and sentenced in 2000 to 25 years to life.

Notes:
[0] = In the 1960's George Spahn was no stranger to having film crews pay for usage of his small ranch. "Spahn's Movie Ranch" was the setting for several biker movies including Angels From Hell (1968), Hell's Angel's '69 (1969) and Angels Wild Women (1972).

[1] = Creighton Chaney's final film role was in 1971 with the truly unwatchable Dracula v. Frankenstein as Groton the Henchman. Coincidentally, this was also co-star J. Carrol Naish's (House of Frankenstein (1944)) final film role as well.




References:
IMDB, The Female Bunch (1969)
IMDB, Al Adamson
Wikipedia, Al Adamson
Monster Movie Muzak, Drakenstein vs Frankula
e-Armenia, Theatrical Trailer
University of Missouri, Manson/Spahn Ranch Crime Photos
Brian's Drive-In, Lon Chaney Jr.
LMZ Blog, Spider-Baby
Grindhaus Database, The Female Bunch
Spider-Baby On-line, The "Official Web Site"


The Female Bunch is available at:
Amazon

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