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A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by goregirl

I reviewed quite a few Roger Corman creature flicks for a feature I did last year called Eisenhower & the Horror Movies. You can not avoid Corman whilst covering horror films from the Eisenhower era, he directed a ton and produced a ton more. I’ve enjoyed every last directorial effort Corman made through the 50s and 60s. Granted some I have enjoyed because they are campy and ridiculous beyond belief like Creature from the Haunted Sea and Attack of the Giant Leeches. Corman’s directorial masterpieces were certainly his 60s Vincent Price/Edgar Allan Poe entries. There is however one other masterpiece in his resume I think also deserves special attention; the 1959 horror-comedy A Bucket of Blood. Made on the cheap, this riff on Beatnik culture tickles me every time I watch it. A Bucket of Blood is one of those films you find in dump bins for $1.99. In fact, that is exactly where I scored my copy of this immensely entertaining film. But wait! You can watch A Bucket of Blood on IMDB for free! It is definitely worth the price of admission! If you haven’t seen A Bucket of Blood go watch it right now here!

Socially awkward Walter Paisley is a busboy at a Bohemian joint called The Yellow Door Cafe. Misguided Walter desperately wants to be accepted by the artsy fartsy types who frequent the establishment; particularly the lovely Carla. He decides to buy some molding clay and try his hand at sculpting, but quickly becomes frustrated. It seems acceptance is out of his grasp until he accidently kills his landlady’s cat and decides to cover it in clay. Quicker than you can say dead cat, Walter becomes a minor star of the local art scene. In the art world however you are only as good as your next piece and staying on top can really be murder!

The goofy bunch of characters in A Bucket of Blood are all a riot! Beatnik poet Maxwell H. Brock recites some of the most hilariously outrageous nonsense! “Life in an obscure hobo bumming a ride on the omnibus of art. Burn Gas Buggies and whip your sour cream of circumstance and hope. Go ahead and sleep your bloody head off. Creation is, and all else is not. What is not creation is graham cracker. Let it all crumble to feed the creators.” Great stuff! There is a charming love interest named Carla, an art groupie named Naolia, a duo of dopey beatnik hangers-about, a nosy landlady and a couple of undercover cops. My favourite character by far (besides Walter of course!) is Leonard de Santis owner of The Yellow Door Cafe. Leonard de Santis is played by Corman regular Antony Carbone. I love this guy! His expressions are fucking priceless! Leonard figures out Walter’s deception when he discovers some fur sticking out of his dead cat sculpture. His initial reaction is to rat out Walter but after he is offered $500 he gets over it. Leonard’s reaction when he sees Walter’s first human project really slays me! The seriously underappreciated Dick Miller is superb as Walter Paisley. He is certainly not the sharpest pencil and you can’t help but feel sorry for the guy. He is painfully awkward and a little bit sad but it makes the whole scenario that much more plausible. Well, as plausible as you are going to get in a film about a busboy turned murdering pseudo-sculptor. It probably should have been questioned more seriously when the busboy produces a full sized human sculpture in a period of mere hours. But what fun would that have been?

Besides the initial (and amusing) accidental cat death early in the film A Bucket of Blood’s intentions are clear. It is no surprise that Walter’s next project takes human form. The basic idea behind the film had been explored in 1933’s Mystery of the Wax Museum and 1953’s House of Wax but Roger Corman makes this completely and utterly his own! A Bucket of Blood is comedy of the first order, but it does have a mild grotesqueness about it also. The “sculptures” Walter creates are actually pretty morbid. Especially his first human form…love the cracked skull! His first human form, like dead cat, could also be considered an accident, but nonetheless each death gets progressively grimmer.

Maxwell H. Brock says “I refuse to say anything twice. Repetition is death”, but I think telling you A Bucket of Blood is an immensely entertaining film warrants repeating. A Bucket of Blood is only an hour-ish long and just flies by; it has a jazzy soundtrack that fits perfectly, crazy beatnik poetry, outrageous characters, tons of laughs and a touch of grim that makes it the perfect re-watchable horror-comedy classic! Highest of Recommendations!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Roger Corman

Starring: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, John Brinkley, John Herman Shaner, Judy Bamber, Myrtle Vail, Bert Convy, Jhean Burton, Bruno VeSota, Lynn Storey

ATTACK OF THE GIANT LEECHES (1959) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 25, 2011 by goregirl



Attack of the Giant Leeches is a super cheapie produced by Gene and Roger Corman. Roger Corman contributed an insane amount of low-budget classics (and NOT SO Classic) horror films through the 50s, 60s and 70s, some of which he directed, others he only produced. Corman ceased directing in the 70s but did return for an encore directing stint in 1990 with Frankenstein Unbound. Corman has produced 100s (I stopped counting at 213) of films and many of them are horror. He is producing up a storm to this day and in fact shows six films in “pre-production” for 2012. So many of these giant monster flicks have terrible ratings on IMDB. Attack of the Giant Leeches may not be a masterpiece but it is certainly unfair in my opinion to fail this film! Sure, there is some sketchy acting, the lead actor/hero is about as dynamic as a brick and the monster is pretty damn cheesy. Attack of the Giant Leeches may not be perfect but it certainly kept me entertained.

The town drunkard claims to have seen a monstrous creature. No one believes him until he along with a few other local yokels goes missing. Victims are found drained of all their blood and covered in sucker like marks. What could possibly be responsible for such horrifying deaths??!!

Giant Blood-sucking leeches! I think that the leech is a great creature to make “giant”. The creature is the size of a tall man which may not sound too intimidating. These however are leeches which even in their normal state freak people out; so just imagine the menace man-sized! Okay, the leeches are far more amusing than terrifying. Despite the monster’s cheesiness the filmmakers manage to pull of some effectively creepy scenes. The best of the bunch takes place inside the leech’s watery cave. An air pocket has provided a dry perch inside the cave. This particular perch is packed with people prey writhing about as the leeches suck the last of their life’s blood.

The characters are a real mixed bag of nuts. We have Liz Walker the philandering wife of the local country store/bar owner Dave Walker. Liz is having an affair with Cal, one of her hubby’s regular customers. One night hubby follows his wife and catches her in the act with Cal. He forces the two into the lake/swamp and is horrified when a hideous creature emerges from the depths pulling the couple below. Then we have the local police who don’t appreciate some nosy wildlife warden poking his nose in their business. And finally we have wildlife warden Steve Benton, his girlfriend Nan Greyson and her father Doc Greyson. Yvette Vickers is definitely the highlight here as the naughty wife Liz Walker. Vickers pours it on thick and whether she is hissing at her husband, flirting with Cal or walking into a room of men whilst brushing her teeth in her negligee she always leaves an impression. The steamy drama of lust and betrayal is considerably more fun than Warden “buzz kill” Benton and his woman Nan. These two are so awkward together but the real issue is with the Warden character played by Ken Clark, and his uninspired delivery. Movies like this always have a straight man but they don’t usually use every opportunity possible to show the straight man without his shirt on. The acting definitely ranges but there are a few stand out performances and really the dialog and story isn’t half bad.

Attack of the Giant Leeches short runtime and spirited pace made the film fly by. The sound effects are slurpy and squishy fun. The bizarre and way quirky soundtrack by Alexander Laszlo is pure brilliance. I absolutely must add this soundtrack to my collection! A decent story and dialog with a banner B-Movie performance by Yvette Vickers that is worth the price of admission. The creature is cheesy; no denying it, but it isn’t without its charms. There are some well conceived scenes that manage to be creepy and overall the film looks pretty good. Attack of the Giant Leeches is not perfect but it is a perfectly enjoyable way to spend just a smidge over 60 minutes! Recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 3/5

Directed By: Bernard L. Kowalski

Starring: Ken Clark, Yvette Vickers, Jan Shepard, Michael Emmet, Tyler McVey, Bruno VeSota, Gene Roth, Dan White, George Cisar