September 14, 2019

A BUCKET OF BLOOD is a Fitting Eulogy
Starring Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, Bert Convy. Directed by Roger Corman. (66 min)

Review by Mr. Paws😸

Who didn't love Dick Miller? Not only did the guy appear in every movie ever made, he was the sole reason anyone knew what the hell a Kentucky Harvester was.

Everyone had to start somewhere and decades before he became Joe Dante's good luck charm, Miller was Roger Corman's go-to guy. The two made dozens of drive-in delights together and only Corman ever saw fit to cast him in lead roles. One such film was A Bucket of Blood.

Olive Films released a bare-bones DVD of the film in 2018. Dick Miller has-since passed away and I can’t think of a more appropriate eulogy than a Blu-ray restoration of his magnum opus, accompanied by a batch of charming, previously unseen bonus features dedicated mostly to him.

"I'm gonna need more clay for those."
A Bucket of Blood is a micro-budget horror comedy that features Miller as Walter Paisley, the dimwitted busboy of an ultra-hip coffee bar where artists and poets hang out. To them - as well as his boss, Leonard - he's a fool. But Walter wants to be an artist, too, mostly to impress co-corker Carla (Barboura Morris). When he accidentally kills a cat, Walter gets the idea to cover the animal in clay and claim it as his first sculpture, which he calls Dead Cat.

Dead Cat is a hit with the locals, who now praise Walter as a genius. So he continues making his "art," murdering several hapless folks and turning them into sculptures. Leonard soon discovers what Walter's been doing, but seeing potential profit, he decides to host an exhibit of the kid's work rather than turn him in.

Walter brings a frying pan to a gunfight.
A Bucket of Blood is typical Corman of the time. Shot cheaply and quickly, the film has a twisted sense of humor that helps the viewers overlook its technical shortcomings, making it sort-of a kindred spirit to the more legendary Little Shop of Horrors (which was shot on many of the same sets). Miller, of course, goes all-in with a wonderfully goofy performance.

But the main reason to pick this up is for the bonus features (outlined below), most of which pay affectionate tribute to Miller and the kitschy classic that gave him the rare opportunity carry an entire film. Throwing in a great 4K restoration and amusing cover art, this is a huge upgrade over the DVD release.

Rest in Peace Dick Miller. You’re already missed.

FEATURETTES - “Creation is. All Else is Not” (Producer/director Roger Corman discusses the film and Dick Miller’s role); “Call Me Paisley” (Miller and his wife, Laine, in a charming interview).
AUDIO INTERVIEW – With screenwriter Charles B. Griffith.
AUDIO COMMENTARY – By Elijah Drenner, who directed the documentary, That Guy, Dick Miller.
BITS OF BUCKET” - Video essay. Includes clips and text of unused scenes.
ESSAY – By Miller biographer Caelum Vatnsdal (the same essay is included in a supplemental booklet).
9 MINUTE GERMAN PROLOGUE – From 1962, where film was marketed as a sequel to House of Wax (subtitled).
SUPER 8 DIGEST VERSION – I remember these things...little 8 minute reels you could play on projectors at home.

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