Five Bloody Graves (1970)

DVD Cover (Retro-Shock-O-Rama)
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Overall Rating 33%
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Ranked #7,438
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A former Civil War soldier returns to take revenge from a Yaqui chief who killed his wife in the marriage night. Death plays with both men, plus gun-runners and gold-runners, as her emissaries on Earth, to do a large harvest of souls. --IMDb
Robert Dix
Robert Dix
Scott Brady
Scott Brady
Jim Davis
Jim Davis
John Carradine
John Carradine
Paula Raymond
Paula Raymond
Review by Chad
Added: May 20, 2007
Westerns aren't my thing, and it may or may not surprise you readers to learn that I haven't seen a whole lot of them. Well, I've seen a handful of modern "hybrid" westerns (ie, horror movies set in a western environment) and I also shed a tear or two over those lovable gay cowboys, but honest-to-goodness John Wayne and Clint Eastwood westerns? They're simply not my cup of tea, and as such, I'm not familiar with the classics. However, what I am familiar with is Al Adamson, the director of this little slice of westernploitation. Adamson is best known for making bad movies, but much like Ed Wood before him, his movies were always entertaining; granted, the acting may have been atrocious, the storylines may have been impossible to follow, and the editing of these films may have been laughable (watch as a house burns down in under ten seconds for a shining example of this), but whenever you see "directed by Al Adamson" scroll across your screen before the feature presentation, you know that you're going to get about eighty minutes of cheesy entertainment.

Narrated by Death (Gene Raymond) himself, Five Bloody Graves tells the tale of Ben Thompson (Robert Dix), an outlaw whose wife was murdered by Setago (John Cardos), the leader of the Yaqui Indians. Now, Ben travels through the desert wilderness with nothing but his horse and his rifle to keep him company, and although he knows that Death is always breathing down his neck, he hopes that he'll be able to gain an order of vengeance on Setago before his time comes. Along the way, he encounters a group of people who have been attacked by these Indians, and they all band together in an effort to make it out alive. Sleazy gambler Jim Wade (Scott Brady) and preacher Boone Hawkins (John Carradine) are but two of these survivors, and they'll definitely need to keep their wits about them to avoid the scalping blades of these savage Indians.

So, as mentioned, I'm not exactly an expert on the western genre, and therefore, I couldn't tell you how this one compares to the greats. However, I will say that - being someone who generally hates these films - finding one that can keep me relatively interested from start to finish is a rarity, and although there were a couple of times that I found myself tempted to fast-forward a bit, I enjoyed the vast majority of this offering. There's some solid action to be found, the performances range from "acceptable" up to "Hey, he's pretty good", and although there were a few holes in the story, I nonetheless enjoyed it. Besides, the main emphasis of these movies is cowboys versus Indians, and that is something that we get in spades - who needs good acting and breathtaking storylines when you have that?

Retro-Shock-O-Rama has done a damned fine job with this double feature release, with Nurse Sherri being the other film found in the two-disc set. Both films are presented alongside vintage drive-in theatre promo spots urging us to "head over to the concession stand" in order to "grab a big bag of popcorn and a refreshing Coke." It's nothing terribly exciting on its own, granted, but it's definitely a nice touch from a company who truly loves the good ol' days of film and has the DVD library to prove it.

Getting back on subject here, Five Bloody Graves will probably never be known as a western classic and it certainly stands far outside of the horror genre (contrary to what the DVD case would lead you to believe), but it's still a solid offering and kept me entertained throughout the running time. For that, I'm going with a 7/10.
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 05/20/2007, 01:33 PM
This one is a classic. I remember seeing this back in high school for the first time. I absolutely love Westerns and this is one of the better underground Westerns from the 1970's -- one that I assure you will get remade some time soon. Al Adamson has an eclectic resume and this is probably the highlight of it. 8/10.
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