Posted: January 18, 2006 in Reviews Archive

for file 23 Magazine


Here’s an odd one…this was one of a three-film experiment by Roger Corman to knock out a film in less than a week and also a part of a horror/comedy trio of films he was obviously trying to have fun with at the same time.

Little Shop Of Horrors would follow this and I hope Hollywood never takes a mind to do to A Bucket Of Blood what they did with Little Shop and turn it into a musical. But knowing Hollywood they probably have the Jamie Kennedy/Eddie Griffin remake in post-production as I write this.

Regardless, while Little Shop Of Horrors is the one everyone remembers, I personally like this one better. Dick Miller stars as Walter Paisley, a busboy in a beatnik(this is a 1958 film) coffeehouse where several “ne’er-do-well? types of assorted bohemians loiter and spout pretentious drivel about ?life is a cardboard roller coaster?.

Slow-witted Walter wants to be an artist and win the admiration of the coffeehouse patrons, but he has no real talent. One night he accidentally kills a cat, covers it with clay
and passes it off as a statue the next day at the coffeehouse. Everyone is amazed at his newly discovered talent, especially his boss who sells the cat for $500 and gives Walter $50.

During the course of the film, Walter begins killing people and using them as a base for his “statues? which give him his fifteen minutes of fame until his secret is discovered.

There’s not much more to it plot wise than that. If ever a film looked as if the scriptwriter was sitting off-camera writing as they went along, this is it. There are a lot of vegetarian jokes
and every other one is a real groaner. Nonetheless, this is a clever film considering it was made in three days, and I really like some of the jabs they take at the art world, some of which are pretty timeless.

Dick Miller proves as usual that he can give a better performance than any script demands. Look for the late Burt Convy as an undercover narc who becomes one of Walters’s statues.

I’ve seen this on DVD on three different labels; I advise the MGM version because they’ve done an excellent job of remastering the old black and white print and beefed up the sound, too. Alas, another bootleg VHS goes on the curb!



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