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ROGER CORMAN'S 'A BUCKET OF BLOOD' STARS DICK MILLER

Dick Miller and Judy Bamber in A Bucket of Blood YEAR: 1959
This is a classic and timeless Roger Corman film about a tortured yet contentedly hollow busboy at a coffee shop, Walter Paisley, who quotes the pretentious "house poet" (Maxwell H. Brock), and, guided by memorized verse, isn't yet qualified to reveal his own talents...

This is the iconic Dick Miller at his very best; especially since he'd become a staple side-character or cameo and, as he got older, a consummate tough guy after his square jaw turned to blue-collar steel: Yet here in his vulnerable youth, he shapes perfectly into the put-upon, simpleminded zero who accidentally "finds himself" as A BUCKET OF BLOOD is a dark comedy way ahead of its time: saying something about wannabe artists who live their lives worshiping other so-called geniuses...

Dick Miller as Walter Paisley in A Bucket of Blood
Perhaps the covering of dead bodies in clay, which becomes Walter's forte, represents those who COVER (or critique?) others without trying to create for themselves...

But it's more than symbolism driving Roger Corman's low-budget i.e. inexpensive but not cheap-looking gem, and, while given a surreal jazz score befitting a claustrophobic, psychotic mind, is liken to a body count horror flick that, while not scary or formidable, pays off in random, angst-driven murders... from a cat to a mouthy blonde bombshell... each strategic and important within the tight story-line that never meanders: successfully altering the viewer's suspense into deliciously wicked anticipation. Especially since the people losing their lives for Walter Paisley's sculptures pretty much deserve it...

Dick Miller wearing his b-movie crown RATING: ****
Ironically, the deserving-to-die antagonist (Walter's bullying boss) technically becomes the good guy: Corman regular Anthony Carbone is both effective and hilarious as he, halfway through, catches onto Walter's deadly methods, and reacts surreptitiously against and alongside our anti-hero's new-found niche fame (meanwhile, the goading poet gets the "It was beauty that killed the beast" style proverbial last-word on Walter's fate)...

Mostly taking place in a brooding coffee shop years before they ruled our culture, The Green Door is one of those locations that's a "character in itself," and full of colorful-in-B&W characters also including a pair of stoned and spontaneous, dimwit beatniks; a snoopy, doomed narc (Bert Convy); a beautiful waitress without enough screen-time (Lynn Storey); and an intellectual ingenue (Barboura Morris) who becomes a predictable 11th hour target the audience can care about in a movie that, in itself, really only cares about the string of "artistic slayings." Unlike other early Roger Corman directed (as opposed to later-produced) features, A BUCKET OF BLOOD has creative camera maneuvers, and doesn't seem made just to get finished.
Joint owner Anthony Carbone and narcs Bert Convy (as Burt Convy) and Ed Nelson
Roger Corman starlet Lynn Storey A BUCKET OF BLOOD with Dick Miller
Lynn Storey in A Bucket of Blood w/ Maxwell H. Block, Anthony Carbone, Barboura Morris & Dick Miller
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