• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

A Bucket Of Blood

TITLE: A Bucket Of Blood

YEAR: 1959

GENRE: Horror and Comedy

When one hears that a full-length production costs a whopping $50,000 to produce and the entire production schedule was five days long most cinema fans would dodge that movie like the plague. In the case of producer/director Roger Corman, this was the norm for many of his productions, and some of them are downright fantastic. For example, the original Little Shop Of Horrors only cost $30,000 and was shot in two days using sets from a previous production, and the film is a classic that launched the career of future Academy-Award winning actor Jack Nicholson. Another one of these cheapie drive-in classics was A Bucket Of Blood, a quality horror offering that also happens to be one of the greatest parodies of art culture ever created.

Walter Paisley (played by Dick Miller), a socially dysfunctional and not-so-bright young man, serves as a busboy at a beatnik club where freestyle poet Maxwell Brock (Julian Burton) performs nightly. Walter is inspired by Maxwell and decides that he wants to be part of the artistic culture that surrounds him at work. While attempting to make artwork out of clay at his skuzzy apartment Walter accidentally kills his landlady’s cat, and to cover the slip-up he plasters the cat with clay and claims it is a sculpture of his doing called “Dead Cat”. He takes the sculpture to the club, where he is considered an instant hit and is acclaimed by the patrons as a brilliant sculpture. Walter unwittingly brings home some heroin from a stoned patron of the club and is followed home by undercover cop Lou Raby (Bert Convy) who attempts to arrest him. Walter clubs Lou with a pan and turns him into his next sculpture, “Murdered Man”. The demand for Walter’s work continues to increase as well as Walter’s popularity and good fortune with women. Walter starts to slip into a surreal world and knows that his future as a world famous artist relies on an endless supply of bodies in which for him to mold in his own image.

A Bucket Of Blood may be a quickly produced cheapie, but it is an inspired piece of dark art that delivers on several levels. In terms of acting, this is Miller’s masterpiece as he is utterly fantastic as the creepy yet nerdy lead that starts hearing voices in his head. In addition, Burton is also quite good as the snobbish beatnik poet who only wishes to associate with true artists who are “aware”. The script, which is masterfully written by Charles B. Griffith (Death Race 2000, Little Shop Of Horrors, Not Of This Earth), is multi-dimensional and serves several purposes over and above delivering an above average horror film. A Bucket Of Blood acts as a parody of the beatnik art culture and shows its absurdities throughout the film, such as when Walter goes from an unwanted schmuck to the most popular in the club over a simple sculpture. The scene where a party is thrown in Walter’s honor complete with Walter on a throne with a paper crown, toilet plunger as a scepter and a goblet of champagne shows absolute absurdities within an art world that honors a literal overnight sensation. The story is also a morality play of sorts that shows a desperate young man that is willing to do anything including murder for simple societal acceptance plus shows the errors of an entertainment at any costs society that honors individuals who may entertain the culture yet are rotten to the core. In addition, the music throughout the film is also used to foreshadow various events in the movie, such as the guitarist singing about the death of a murderer, and are well placed, inventive, and fit well into the culture of the finished product. A Bucket Of Blood delivers limited scares, but the film is so well written and offers a multi-dimensional approach that the viewer quickly forgets to look for the killer in the shadows and becomes engulfed in a quality story.

Convy moved on and became a world famous game show host on such shows as “Password”, “What’s My Line”, and “Win, Lose Or Draw”. Miller became famous for the Walter Paisley role and played the role in-name only in several films including Chopping Mall, Twilight Zone: The Movie, and The Howling. There were many horror films made for the drive-in circuit in the late 1950’s, and A Bucket Of Blood is one of the most memorable films of the era as it is still featured at horror film festivals periodically. It is a testament to the fact that an amazing story and subsequent script can supersede a quick production and low budget. Independent film producers should watch A Bucket Of Blood and take notes on the storyline and do their best to create unique and challenging productions such as A Bucket Of Blood. This film should be required viewing at all film schools as the perfect example of low budget art. Highly recommended.

* * * * *

–Mark

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