A Bucket Of Blood (1959)

AUGUST 17, 2007


"Smokey says, only YOU can prevent Roger Corman." - Mike Nelson

You gotta love Corman though. Who else would make not one but TWO movies that are about nerdy guys accidentally killing someone and finding fame, only to continue doing it more and more? Seeing that he would often write a film just to use up remaining time on a set, it shouldn't come as no surprise that Little Shop Of Horrors, which came a year or so after A Bucket Of Blood, had similar themes. Bless him.

Any movie with Dick Miller can't be altogether bad, but this is the rare film that actually STARS the beloved character actor. He plays the worst kind of person in the world: one who aspires to be a hipster (back in the 50s, they were called beatniks). And he's a whiny bastard. But it's Miller, so all is forgiven. Plus, the audible sight of hearing a guy refer to Dick Miller as 'kid' is worth the price of admission alone (which, since this was on the budget pack, was precisely 40 cents).

You also gotta love a movie that is only 65 minutes long and yet still has padding. There's a guy who they cut to singing a folk song every 10 minutes or so, and perhaps his songs are commenting on the story, like Dead & Breakfast, but the audio is so bad I can't understand a goddamn word he is saying. This is in stark contrast to the beginning of the film, where the lyrics/dialogue are simply drowned out by the score itself. The film also features the hippie version of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern; two guys who are seemingly always around, occasionally helping propel the plot forward and often just sort of waxing rhapsodic about things like vitamins. Whether Gary Oldman and Tim Roth will star in a spinoff that focuses entirely on these guys remains to be seen.

Naturally, the intended scares of the film are totally dwarfed by the terrifying sight and sound of a room full of hippies saying nonsense like "Life is an obscure hobo, bumming a ride on the omnibus of art." and doing spoken word poetry. The scene where Miller finally 'becomes' an artist is also horrifying, as he dons a french artist's hat, long cigarette, and all black clothing. Dammit hippies, leave Mr. Futterman alone!!!

The short running time means some things are left unresolved: How did the cat get into the wall? How does a cop managed to get killed via frying pan when he has his attacker at gunpoint? Why is there a guy hanging out in a fireplace?

No matter, this one's pretty damn good for a Corman movie. And it was remade with Anthony Michael Hall. He was the first famous person I met when I came to LA. So... there's something?

What say you?


  1. I loved this movie. Dick Miller actually does a great acting job here--all with facial tics and gestures--so you know his character before he even says a word. It's a shame he didn't get more lead roles.

    And the hipsters/beatniks just show you that obnoxiously pretentious self-important young folks have been pretty much the same crowd throughout history. The comic relief with the two beantnik sidekicks is classic.

    This is also one of the first movies the Duke and I reviewed on our movie essay site, inspired in part by HMAD. If you're interested, BC. (Though I don't quote you in this one. :) )

  2. I loved watching C-Grade horror movies in high school. Great concept and kudos for keeping up your schedule.

  3. What a grim title... must see this sometime if just for that!
    Can I link to you?
    I'm gonna review 1408 for my local rag soon - I'll stick a copy on my blog too...

  4. Link Away! Hope you liked 1408....


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