A Bucket Of Blood (1959)
By: Michael Helms on June 24, 2005  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
MRA (Australia). All Regions, PAL. 4:3. English 1.0. 65 minutes
The Movie
Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Anthony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, Burt Convy
Screenplay: Charles B. Griffith
Country: USA
Walter Paisely takes orders and clears tables at beatnik hangout the Yellow Door Gallery and Coffee House. He's the lowest of the low and as played by Dick Miller (Terminator) is almost retarded in the obsequious way he bows and scrapes to all patrons and staff.

Resident guru at the Yellow Door, Maxwell H.Brock (Julian Burton), kicks things off with an hilarious long form blast of free form poetry. "A creature, is a creature, or not". Then it's the life of Walter Schnedley err...Paisely brought into hard sharp focus. Many jokes are had at Walter's expense. Walt just wants to live large and have it all: art, bucks and chicks. Chronically inept at everything, nothing's happening for him. But late one desperate night, he stumbles upon his ticket to the A-list when he accidentally causes the death of his landlady's cat. To hide the corpse he coats it in modelling clay, as you do, and instantly has his first masterpiece: dead cat. Encouraged by the art-loving, coffee shop crew, Walter goes into mass production and develops a quick body count. Numerous friends and acquaintences of Walter truly die for art as he becomes the Andy Warhol of the Yellow Door. Before Walter can make his own supreme contribution to art he gets caught out by the gal he wants to marry. She runs and although he gives chase the voices in Walter's head explode and win the race. Leaving loveless and dejected he sees a black cat and goes home.

From jocular beginnings Bucket Of Blood is a joy to watch as it goes about transforming itself into a serious horror film. A decent horror comedy is a rare item and Bucket does it with skill and talent from the Charles B. Griffiths script (originally called the Yellow Door) and ace casting, down to tiny production design details (from Daniel Heller) such as the ridiculous headlines briefly glimpsed of the local daily that blare, "Read all about the guy chopped in half in factory!" Dialogue, especially used by the cops, who are portrayed as complete sleaze bags, is continuously hilarious unlike the Herschell Gordon Lewis attempt to emulate Bucket with Color Me Blood Red. One cop who rings in a report to his boss is told to, "Go home and get some sleep, ya fink'.
From a battered source to the hardly remastered transfer this black and white beauty deserves much more than what it gets here but at least it is here and wasn't colourised.
Serviceable mono sound that doesn't swallow the classic dialogue and lets the Fred Katz score breathe.
Extra Features
The Verdict
A product of the 50s Bucket still checks in with all the elements of exploitation firmly in place from modest nudity to the violence that features quantities of the title fluid but balances them all out like few others. A must-see in any condition.
Movie Score
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