Bucket of Blood, A [1959]

The great Roger Corman produced and directed this cheerfully gory skewering of beatniks and the arts community. Dick Miller plays Walter Paisley, a no-talent busboy who idolizes the artsy types who frequent the coffeehouse where he works. When Walter accidentally kills his landlady's cat, he tries to hide the crime by covering the kitty in clay, and is soon hailed as a sculpting genius. Sure enough, the fickle arts community begins clamoring for some larger work. As a horror movie, A Bucket of Blood is merely okay, but it's great as a little black comedy. Corman works in some nice gruesome touches, such as backing up Walter's Big Emotional Moment with a steady drizzle of blood from a victim's arm. Most of the jokes aimed at the artists' pretensions still seem fresh: When offering Walter some breakfast, Maxwell announces that they're having "soy and wheat-germ pancakes, organic guava nectar, calcium lactate and tomato juice and garbanzo omelettes sprinkled with smoked yeast." The free-verse parodies are also very funny. Don't expect Bucket of Blood to keep you up with nightmares, but do sit back and prepare to enjoy a refreshingly sick sense of humor. --Ali Davis

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