Sunday, June 22, 2014

A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959) movie review

Bucket of Blood, A (1959) d. Roger Corman (USA)

Step right in, Daddy-O, for the coolest combo of comedy and horror to make the scene. At once parody and time capsule, director/producer Corman and screenwriter Charles B. Griffith simultaneously slam and celebrate the “Beat” generation and its penchant for kooky poetry, groovy jazz, hipster slang, and the search for “the next big thing.”

The film boasts a sensational roster of faux-cool characters, ranging from beret-wearing hepcats, self-appointed poetry gods, stuck-up models, nosy landladies, and wholesome heroines. Character actor Dick Miller appears in a rare leading role as sad sack Walter Paisley, frustrated sculptor and busboy at the ultra-hip Yellow Door club, and Julian Burton is perfection as the ultra-mannered wordsmith Maxwell, spouting immortal lines of freaky-deaky like “deep down inside my piranha.” 70s TV staple Bert Convy also makes his screen debut in a small role as an unfortunate vice cop.

The zippy affair evolves quickly into a cheap and funny send-up of Mystery of the Wax Museum, when Walter begins covering his victims (beginning with his landlady’s cat!) in clay and passing them off as works of art to earn his place in the pantheon of in-crowd “artistes.” Goofy-great (snap, snap) clever-cool script by Griffith, backed by Fred Katz’s terrific jazz score with Paul Horn’s fiery sax solos tearing up the joint.

Miller’s “Walter Paisley” moniker would surface again and again throughout his career, on display in such films as The Howling, Twilight Zone: The Movie, and Chopping Mall.

Re-made for Showtime in 1995 with Anthony Michael Hall, Justine Bateman, radio personality Shaddoe Stevens, and a young David Cross.

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