In a jumpin' java joint, filled to the brim with kooky beatniks, poets and hipsters, an artist wannabe discovers he has a talent for modern art...and murder. Dripping with blood, social satire and "sick, sick comedy" (The ... more »Film Daily) this film, according to critic Leonard Maltin, "nicely captures the spirit of the beatnik era" and zips along with vibes of counterculture creepiness.Walter (Dick Miller) is a busboy overly impressed with the cool cats who hang out at The Yellow Doorcoffee house, and he wonders how to become "hip." When he accidentally kills his landlady's pet cat, Walter panics and covers it with clay. His prayers are answered, and before he knows it he's the "cat's meow" of the art world. His talent develops and - surprise! - he can sculpt humans the same way too. Like so many artists, his real talent won't be discovered - until he's dead.« less
"Walter (Character actor and Veteran Roger Corman regular Dick Smith) ,a nerdish painter who waits tables at a beatnik cafe, is jealous of the popularity of its various artistic regulars. He kills his landlady's cat by accident . Then he glosses the body in plaster to hide the missing cat. Many acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor. Many so called friends/enemies want to see more of his work.. Walter has to resort to similar methods to produce new pieces with mixed results .
Directed on a low budget by Roger Corman, it works and has a sense of humor with its horror. Its satire sit bites 48 years later. It does a bloodless horror that still thrills
This film is similar to House of Wax and the future Corman film, the cult classic, The Little Shop of Horrors. The beatnik reference makes this movie a cult classic of the early 1960's (made in 1959-GAWD it is as old as I am) as well as "Horror", but it was not as well received
so get it and enjoy this campy horror film
Bennet Pomerantz, AUDIOWORLD"
Will YOU join his human museum?
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 02/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dick Miller, one of the more popular character actors in Hollywood, whom I remember most from such movies as Gremlins (1984), Matinee (1993), and Demon Knight (1995) stars in this Roger Corman classic from 1959.
Miller is Walter Paisley, a simple-minded man with high aspirations who works in a beatnik coffee shop, The Yellow Door, as a busboy. He desperately wants to fit in, but finds himself usually the butt of jokes from some of the more pretentious bohemian crowd. The main reason for Walter's desire to be in the 'in crowd' is Carla, played by Barboura Morris, who I just saw in another Corman movie, The Wasp Woman (1960). Carla also works at The Yellow Door, and is really the only one that treats Walter with respect and kindness. One night while at home, Walter is struggling with some clay, trying to create a bust of Carla, but his efforts are in vain. After accidentally killing his landlord's cat with a knife, Walter tries to hide what he did by covering the cat, and the protruding knife, with clay and inadvertently creates his first work of art, aptly titled 'Dead Cat'. Walter soon gains acclaim for his sculpture, and his career as an artist is born. The pressure of coming up with new pieces leads him to use human models creating grisly, realistic, highly detailed sculptures of figures in death throes. Soon Walter becomes the talk of the community, with fame and fortune sure to follow...or does it?
I really enjoyed this movie, which is basically an update of one of my favorite movies, House of Wax (1953) starring Vincent Price. The beatnik angle played nicely off the more gruesome elements of the movie, providing levity in this dark psuedo comedy. What I really liked was the beatniks were shown in different fashion, some being played for comedic effect, while others being played a little more seriously. There wasn't a sense of trivializing the movement, but more of poking a little fun at it. Some other actors I recognized were Ed Nelson, whom I recently saw in Night of the Blood Beast (1958) and perennial 70's TV favorite and host of many a game show, Bert Convy, looking so very young I almost didn't recognize him. Along with Dick Miller's performance, I also really enjoyed the barrel-chested beat poet character Maxwell H. Brock, played by Julian Burton. He delivers some truly interesting poetry in eloquent fashion.
The film has a short run time, at 66 minutes, which tended to keep the pacing snappy. Corman really shows why, even though his movie may have been made cheaply, they didn't always have to look cheap, with his professional direction and ability to keep things interesting by drawing out great performances from his actors. The case does mention a trailer for A Bucket of Blood included, but I found none. What I did find was an excellent copy of the film on this DVD, well worth getting if you enjoy black humor.
Little Bucket Shop Of Blood Horrors
Mike King | Taunton, MA United States | 10/03/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"After watching "A Bucket Of Blood" (1959), I have come to the conclusion that it is an earlier, bloodier variation of the movie "The Little Shop Of Horrors" (1960). Both movies were written by Charles B. Griffith. Both movies were directed by Roger Corman. In addition, several of the actors appear in both films. For example, John Shaner appeared as a beatnik named Oscar in "A Bucket Of Blood," and played the dentist Dr. Phoebus Farb in "The Little Shop Of Horrors." In "A Bucket Of Blood," Dick Miller plays Walter Paisley, a nerdish waiter at a Bohemian cafe. In "The Little Shop Of Horrors," Jonathan Haze plays Seymour Krelboyne, a nerdish worker at a flower shop. After accidentally killing his landlady's cat and covering the body in plaster, Walter is acclaimed as a brilliant sculptor. After cross breeding flowers, and accidentally creating a hybrid plant, Seymour is acclaimed as a brilliant horticulturalist. Lacking any artistic talent whatsoever, Walter has to kill people and cover them in clay to create new statues. Because the plant is a carnivore, Seymour accidentally kills people and feeds them to his plant, making the plant grow to gargantuan size. Walter's boss finds out about what's going on, but doesn't tell the police, because of the money and notoriety it generates for the coffee house. Seymour's boss finds out about what's going on but doesn't tell the police, because of the money and notoriety it generates for the flower shop. After everyone realizes what's really going on, the police chase Walter. The movie ends when Walter hangs himself before the police catch and arrest him. After everyone realizes what's really going on, the police chase Seymour. The movie ends when Seymour is devoured by the giant plant before the police catch and arrest him. Because the violence is deliberate and the ending shocking and depressing, "A Bucket Of Blood" is one of the more obscure Roger Corman movies. Because the violence is accidental and the ending is played for laughs, "The Little Shop Of Horrors" is fondly remembered as one of Roger Corman's best movies."
GET THE MGM VERSION - ALL OTHERS NOT WORTH IT
Eric Huffstutler | Richmond, VA United States | 04/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""A Bucket of Blood" is not one of my favorite Roger Corman films and it has been passed around to various public domain companies for years. The MGM version is the one to get and an official release with the best picture quality. Don't be discouraged if it isn't widescreen as seen on TCM. This was filmed in 1.37 to be played in 1.66 ratio. What you get here is an open matte version meaning you see the entire scene shot by the camera before a mask is added to make it widescreen cutting the top and bottom for theater screen showings. This is NOT the same as Pan & Scan v. Widescreen. In fact, some releases done this way will find microphone booms at the top of the screen which would be hidden with the mask later on. You actually get more picture here rather than less :-)
The MGM DVD is still available so there is no reason to buy cheaper quality versions especially if you are a Corman fan.
Razor-sharp DVD of Corman's sick humor classic
Surfink | Racine, WI | 11/18/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although its 'companion' film, Little Shop of Horrors, gets lots more attention, this terrific "sick humor" gem has always been my favorite of the two. For me, it's funnier, scarier, and more plausible, and benefits tremendously from the beatnik/doper/coffeehouse milieu in which it's set. Dick Miller, in his mightiest role, perfectly personifies everynebbish busboy Walter Paisley, who finds a disturbing way to gain some cred with his hipster peers. Julian Burton as a grandiose beatnik, Antony Carbone (handling some great deadpan comedy as he begins to suspect the truth behind Walter's creations), and John Brinkley and John Shaner, as a couple of 'comedy-relief' junkies, stand out in a generally fine cast. I remember seeing this for the first time when I was about 12 on some late night horror show, and the bleak, icky feeling generated by the 'cat in the wall' scene was my first inkling that there was something uniquely twisted about American International pictures (vs. the old Universal classics I had cut my teeth on). Check out the set decoration in Walter's apartment: Yecch! There's also something strangely pleasing about Walter splitting Bert Convy's head open with a cast iron griddle. One of Corman's least farcical, most 'straight' (and satisfying) films. Highly recommended to fans of "beat noir," "sick" humor, cheap horror, Lenny Bruce, etc., etc.
MGM Home Video's DVD presentation is bare bones (the trailer promised on the box is nowhere in sight) but the source print used is simply spectacular. The shadow/highlight detail, brightness, contrast, sharpness, and tonal values are uniformly excellent, and there is only some extremely light, sporadic speckling/spotting. Comparing it to the VHS copy I had made me want to cry. Too bad they didn't line up Dick Miller for a commentary, that would've been a five-star disc, rather than the really-excellent-but-not-quite-ultimate edition we get here. And, unfortunately, MGM's making us pay a premium price for this title because of its cult status rather than the blowout list of their Midnite Movies series; but don't let a few bucks stop you from adding this demented classic to your library."