A Bucket of Blood
Movie Review by Siobahn Harris
I found A Bucket of Blood at my local Goodwill… wow, that sounds weird. Anyway! While I came across many different classic horror movies there, I was thrilled with this one. The second I read what the movie was about, I knew I was going to love it, because it was such a simple yet interesting idea.
The story follows Walter Paisley, played by the one and only Dick Miller, a man I’ve seen everywhere but I know him best from his role in Gremlins. Walter works at The Yellow Door, small coffee shop that is often populated with pretentious beatniks. And for those little ones who have no idea what a beatnik is, they are the hipsters of the 50’s. Everyone who hangs out at The Yellow Door seems to be involved in the art movement or follow someone who is. Which, works out great for Walter because he wants to be an artist. Unfortunately, Walter is a bit simple minded, which leaves him open to ridicule. And everyone except for a small few take shots at him.
After a popular poet, Maxwell Brock shares a powerful poem about art, Walter is moved to go home and sculpt. Unfortunately, he has never sculpted before and finds it harder than he thought it would be. He quickly gave up in a fit, during which, he realized that his landlord’s cat was stuck in his wall. In an attempt to save the cat, he accidentally killed it, which left him pretty defeated. But, with the words from Maxwell’s poem still in his head, he decided to turn the cat into a piece of art.
Bring on the multitudes with a multitude of fishes: feed them with the fishes for liver oil to nourish the Artist, stretch their skin upon an easel to give him canvas, crush their bones into a paste that he might mold them. Let them die, and by their miserable deaths become the clay within his hands that he might form an ashtray or an ark.
Everyone loved his work. They were blown away that he, of all people, created such a beautiful and creative piece of work. And Walter ate up the attention. While it wasn’t his best idea, he did find the silver lining in a crummy situation. Unfortunately, much like any industry, once you make something great, the public will demand more like it. Therefore, Walter needed to produce more work, and he did. The more they loved his work, the more work he had to produce, and the more they all loved him. And he needed that love. That attention. It was something they never gave him before. But the only way to keep that love and attention was to continue his deadly works of art. Unfortunately, Walter soon finds himself painted into a corner he may not be able to escape from.
A Bucket of Blood was beautifully done. I have never considered myself to be someone who enjoyed old movies, but in this case, I did. Something I really loved about it was the lighting. I thought they did a great job playing with the shadows throughout the film. It added a dramatic flair to the film and was almost like having two actors in a scene where there was only one. I often found myself watching the shadows to see how or if they would play into the scene.
For a movie from 1959, I was very impressed with their ability to pull reactions from me. Normally, I watch a horror movie in silence and barely react on the outside. A Bucket of Blood was different. I felt sad when the cat died, I openly complained about how Walter was treated, and I jumped when one of his sculptures fell.
Surprisingly, yes. Walter grabbed me from the beginning and I couldn’t help but to empathize with him throughout. When he was scared, happy, or nervous, I felt the same. I really loved A Bucket of Blood. It was a fun and interesting movie and I highly recommend any horror fan to watch it.