Director: Al Adamson
EI Independent Cinema

Always trying to milk a film for all it was worth during the drive-in/grindhouse heyday, Independent International Pictures had this film in circulation for years under different titles (most notably BLACK HEAT, GIRL'S HOTEL and THE MURDER GANG). Under the BLACK HEAT title, it was obviously meant to cash in on the then-hot blaxploitation craze. The lead actor, Timothy Brown, had previously starred in (and was much better in) another Adamson film called THE DYNAMITE BROTHERS. When BLACK HEAT was first released, the ads hyped him as the current star of Robert Altman's NASHVILLE.

Brown plays a Las Vegas detective named "Kicks" Carter who has a white partner (Geoffrey Land, DOCTOR DRACULA) who perishes when his car is ran off the road. Trying to avenge the partner's death, Carter faces a gang of weapons dealing criminals lead by bald Guido (Adamson favorite J.C. Wells). Russ Tamblyn (in his fourth and final Adamson film) steals the show as a slime bucket named Ziggy. See Russ (sporting some very dated flowery shirts) take a mallet, bash some poor guy's car windows, bash him in the jimmy, and then drive over his legs! Tanya Boyd (also in Greydon Clark's BLACK SHAMPOO) is a reporter who carries around a heavy movie camera, Al's wife Regina Carrol is a cocktail lounge singer wearing cleavage-complimenting dresses, and Jana Bellan is an obsessive gambler who has to pay up bigtime with her body.

Though not as entertaining as Al's THE DYNAMITE BROTHERS or BLACK SAMSON for that matter, BLACK HEAT is a passable time waster for fans of dated 70s action films. What makes the disc a real treat is the number of rare supplements at hand. Included is a deleted lovemaking scene between Geoffrey Land and Jana Bellan, a scene of bedroom and shower shenanigans shot for the version known as GIRL'S HOTEL, and the alternative title sequence for THE MURDER GANG. Uncredited producer Sam Sherman gives a 40+ minute commentary and discusses the film and tosses out some interesting stories, including how some of the cast and crew were held at gunpoint by the police who thought they were committing a crime! A trailer for the film as BLACK HEAT, and one for it as MURDER GANG is included, as well as bunch of other Adamson trailers. Great liner notes (with quotes from Sam Sherman) by Chris Poggiali and David Konow are in a booklet that also contains the original pressbook.

The transfer is presented full frame, and looks pretty good despite it being the same source used for Xenon's previous VHS release. The framing doesn't look too off, and colors are accurate despite some grain and other minor print damage. The mono audio isn't the greatest but it's passable for a low budget film of this nature. (George R. Reis)