“The artist is; all others are not.”
During the Beatnik era, a nebbishy busboy (Dick Miller) longs to become a great artist. When he accidentally kills his landlady’s cat, he is inspired to cover it in clay and call it art — and when his “Dead Cat” is well-received, he soon moves on to killing and “sculpting” human subjects.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Aspiring Stars
- Black Comedy
- Dick Miller Films
- Roger Corman Films
- Serial Killers
This surprisingly effective low-budget thriller — directed by Roger Corman and scripted by Charles B. Griffith — is, along with Little Shop of Horrors (1960), proof of Corman’s ability to churn out entertaining movies with bare-bones budgets and minimal shooting schedules. While some of the production values in A Bucket of Blood are laughably bad (the newly-killed cat Miller pulls out of his wall is as stiff as a board), others — such as the atmospherically-shot climactic chase scene — are impressive. Perhaps most memorable, however, is the way in which Corman and Griffith deliciously satirize both Beatniks and artists, who are portrayed as pretentious, exclusionary, and not-just-a-little nutty. No wonder there are murders going on!
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Yes. This cult film is a surprisingly enjoyable low-budget thriller. It’s listed as both a Camp Classic and a Cult Movie in the back of Peary’s book.
- Cult Movie
- Important Director