Saturday, October 27, 2007
A BUCKET OF BLOOD is a great Halloween treat! This 1959 black comedy from Roger Corman is 66 minutes of delight - similar in theme to LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, but different enough to entertain.
The story involves a shy, clumsy busboy named Walter (Dick Miller) who works at a beatnik coffeehouse where poets, folk singers and modern artists routinely abuse and insult him. He is smitten by his coworker Carla, but she doesn't feel the same. Longing to belong, Walter attempts to create some art - but his landlady's cat is distracting him by getting trapped inside the apartment wall. Huh?
Walter attempts to rescue the cat by stabbing into the wall with a carving knife. Ooops! So now Walter has one dead cat and a big box of molding clay on his hands. Quickly Walter comes up with an idea similar to the old "you've got your chocolate in my peanut butter" ad campaign and...voila - presenting his first piece entitled "Dead Cat!"
When the hipster snobs at the cafe see the sculpture they suddenly dub Walter a genius- and at last his life starts to turn around. One beatnik chick is so impressed with his artistic talent that she gives him a vial of heroin! Huh? Um, thanks beatnik chick, I think.
Undercover narc Burt Convy (long before he grew his TATTLETALES "jewfro") tries to arrest Walter for the drugs, but ends up as the subject of Walter's next piece - "Murdered Man", thanks to a frying pan on the noggin.
Meanwhile, Walter's boss Leonard discovers that there's a real dead cat inside the sculpture - which is now becoming a highly-sought after object d'art. Bitchy bad girl barfly Alice still doesn't believe that Walter is talented and continues to verbally harass him. Walter then asks her to model for him. Later, at Walter's apartment, Alice strips and poses for him, then he strangles her! Goodnight, Alice.
The next day, he reveals his latest work - and good girl Carla plants a big kiss on him. He's really made it now! Leonard grows continually concerned about Walter and suggests that he try other subjects. After a wild night of partying, Walter stumbles home, realizing he has to create more art - so he randomly attacks a factory worker with a buzz-saw to create a bust. Busted!
When news of the decapitation spreads the next day, Leonard realizes that Walter is out of control and beyond help. At an art exhibit of his work, Walter later professes his love to Carla proposes to her - but she rejects him because doesn't love him, just his art. Walter then offers to do a sculpture of her! Uh oh...
Carla accidentally finds a chip in the Alice sculpture, which reveals a real finger and fingernail!!! When Carla tells Walter that there's a real body in one of the sculptures, he doesn't deny it but exclaims that he "made them immortal," and that he will make her immortal too! Um, no thanks, Walter...I gotta go now...
So Carla runs like the wind, and Walter follows as his secret is revealed to the rest of the beatniks and they all chase after them. The chase goes from a lumberyard to Walter's apartment - where the angry mob opens the door to find...
I'm not saying.
Snappy, biting dialogue and a great cast distinguish this satirical thriller that rates a big 10 out of 10 on my chart. My only complaint is that there's actually no BUCKET OF BLOOD anywhere in the film...just a saucepan with a few drops in Walter's kitchen, but I guess SAUCEPAN WITH A FEW DROPS OF BLOOD wouldn't sell many tickets.