Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Bucket of Blood

In 1959 a newspaper ad claimed that if you brought a bucket of blood to Roger Corman’sA Bucket of Blood” you would get a free admission. Today, if you tried the same thing, you’d just get arrested. Besides after the river of blood scene from “The Shining”, one bucket of blood doesn’t seem all that shocking. But in 1959!!!

…OK, it still wasn’t that shocking.

I think the plunger really sells the concept on this cover art.

“A Bucket of Blood” is actually a dark comedy about a guy named Walter Paisley who wants to be an “Artist” and get into the “in” crowd of local beat poets and artisans. And also to nail some hot chick. Can I say “nail some hot chick” in a blog and not get censored? If you‘re reading this, I guess I can.

Also, as its a dark comedy and not straight horror, its good for all you kids who aren't really into horror movies.

Now lets be clear, today’s review is about the original 1959 version of “A Bucket of Blood” directed by Roger Corman and written by Charles B. Griffith, not the 1995 version starring Anthony Michael Hall who is better known for his work in numerous 80’s movies as well as the psychic John Smith on the TV series “The Dead Zone”. No, this version of A Bucket of Blood stars the legendary Dick Miller, who’s acting career is longer than the shopping list of a family of 8. Dick’s most recognizable role was Murray Futterman in the 1984 movie “Gremlins”, but Miller has done just about everything. From 1950’s Westerns to the 1986 “hit” movie “Chopping Mall” to voice acting on the current cartoon version of “The Justice League”, Dick’s been just about everywhere in the industry.

Billy, I swear, the Gremilns did it! I swear they did it Billy!

Well except porn. Dick’s never been in porn. Nope, Dick is no where to be found in the porn industry. Anywhere.

Anyway, tiny little green monsters have nothing to do with this blood bucket, as Walter Paisley discovers his talent for sculpting after accidentally stabbing his landlady’s cat. He does try to rescue the cat, which somehow has become stuck in the small space between two walls. He does this by trying to cut a hole in the wall so that the cat can climb out.

Unfortunately for the cat, he tries this with a 12 inch kitchen knife.

While musing about all of the things one could do with a dead cat, Paisley decides to use the clay from his failed sculpting projects to cover up his little mishap. Once the clay hardens (without having to be fired in a kiln I might add) the little tabby becomes a modern work of art, complete with knife.

Man its so... lifelike. Especially how its standing up with a knife lodged in it like that.

This leads Paisley to some fame, and as a result he’s pressured to create more art. Predictably, the next work is a human sculpture. and it follows that Paisley amasses quite a collection. But just like a guy who wears a long overcoat but no pants, Paisley is caught during his first exhibition.

I call it, man with splitting headache.

What? Why are you all moaning? What?

If you think this sounds like a familiar setup, i.e. the loveable loser that no one paid attention to displays a talent that gets him fame, fortune and a shot at the woman of his dreams but makes him a murderer you’re right. Roger Corman and Charles B. Griffith were also responsible for the creation of “Little Shop of Horrors”. Again, the original 1962 version, not the remake from 1986. Corman and Griffith would also go on to produce one of my all time favorite bad movies, “Creature from the Haunted Sea”!

While the murder sequences lack the Hollywood shock comedy that we’ve all been accustomed to seeing, they are given a fairly creepy tone by Paisley’s growing acceptance and eventual eagerness to carry them out as the movie continues. Personally, my favorite scene is when Paisley decides to create “a bust” (the human head kind, not a female chest).

Also somewhat creepy on a personal note is the chase sequence at the end of the movie when Paisley runs through what appears very much like New Brunswick late at night while being pursued by both the police and the apparitions of his victims.

If you get a chance, check out A Bucket of Blood. It’s a classic old horror comedy that really delivers. Except for the bucket of blood part. Its actually more of roasting pan, suitable for chicken or other game, not a bucket at all. Remember kids, when you want a good quality roasting pan, make sure it distributes and reflects heat evenly and can be placed atop two adjacent burners for browning. Thanks to Alton Brown for that tip. But remember kids, a bucket full of blood is not Good Eats.


min said...

i have finally been able access your accursed movie review via IE. firefox remains stubborn.

it was still late. and i was extremely bored yesterday.

Spored_to_Death said...

Sorry, had the plauge for 5 days. I didn't get anything else done either.