Ever see Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood? I just saw it myself after hearing about it for years, and really should have got to it sooner. It’s a comedic take on Mystery of the Wax Museum that stars character actor extroidinaire Dick Miller (Yep, Muray Futterman himself) in one of his few leading roles.
It’s amazing to see the Bronx native (Oh yes. You didn’t know that Dick Miller was my boy, too? I’ve got dozens.) acting here in his early 30s. He really doesn’t look or act any differently than the movies you grew up watching him in. He’s maybe a little more whiny in this role than you’re used to, but he’s still the shuffling outcast that we all know and love.
In it, he stars as Walter Paisley, a character name that would become an in-joke with his later films, as directors would name him the same in homage (See The Howling, Twilight Zone: The Movie, etc.)
Paisley is a strange little man, a busboy for a beatnick coffee shop where poets and artists abound. All he wants in life is acceptance, and after being shunned by the people he admires and the girl he loves (obsesses over, rather), he decides the only way to win their respect is to join them in art.
He heads home with a box of clay, all excited about his upcoming success and acceptance. Meanwhile, his landlady’s cat has somehow managed to climb into the wall of his apartment, and is meowing like crazy. He tries to ignore the creature and dives into his work.
After trying to sculpt the clay into a head for about 20 seconds Paisley gets pissed and gives up, yelling at the meowing cat. He heads over to the wall with a knife with the intention of freeing the cat from the wall, but unfortunately stabbing at the wall was not a good idea. Breaking the wall down he finds that the cat has not only been stabbed right through the side, but it’s also experienced rigor mortis. He feels upset for a couple of minutes he finally seeing it for the gift it is. After all, he’s got a ton of clay…
The next day, ‘Dead Cat’ becomes a sensation, and a star is born. But where could the emerging artist go next for inspiration? Well…. there’s plenty of people around town.
A Bucket of Blood really is a fun little movie, half comedy and half horror and full of Bohemians. The movie’s actually in the public domain and freely (and legally) available on the internet. If you’re having a boring day at work, check it out below courtesy of the Internet Archive-