A Bucket of Blood (1959)

Article #507 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-3-2002
Posting date: 12-27-2002

A simple-minded busboy with artistic ambitions is praised for his talent when he makes a statue of a cat which was in reality a cat he accidentally killed and covered with clay. This leads him on the road to murder in order to fulfill his artistic ambitions.

I had heard about this movie for years before I had ever seen it, and, being a great fan of the similar LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, I was extremely eager to see it. I was initially disappointed because the movie didn’t seem as funny as LITTLE SHOP, but then I wasn’t prepared for the fact that though the movies do share the same essential story, the one was a wild farce while this one was darkly satiric. I have a much greater appreciation for the movie now; it’s definitely a triumph for Charles B. Griffith (it’s one of his best scripts) and for Dick Miller, giving perhaps the best performance of his career. Roger Corman gives the movie solid direction, but it’s Griffith’s wonderful dialogue that captures the attention, particularly the pretentious beatnik poetry that Walter Paisley ends up taking to heart, mistaking its metaphor for literalness and seeing the messages as condoning his murderous activity. The characters are so well drawn, and the script unfolds so smoothly that I find myself drawn into the story. It makes a great companion piece to LITTLE SHOP, if for no other reason that it gives a complete course in how to take a story and reinvent it in radically different ways.


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