Archive for ed nelson

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 CRAB MONSTERS (1957) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2012 by goregirl

It is not easy to avoid Roger Corman when watching horror films from the Eisenhower years. I believe this is the fourth Corman flick I have reviewed during this feature. Corman is on as director in Attack of the Crab Monsters. Attack of the Crab Monsters is a lot of fun with its outrageous premise and hokey effects. But the film also has some genuinely admirable qualities and some decent performances too. Most importantly though, it has what you came for; giant crabs! And not just any giant crabs, but giant crabs that enjoy snacking on delicious human brains!

I usually write my own plot summary but the words that appear on screen at the beginning of Attack of the Crab Monsters says it so well…

“You are about to land in a lonely zone of terror..on an uncharted atoll in the Pacific. You are part of the second scientific expedition dispatched to this mysterious bit of coral reef and volcanic rock. The first group disappeared without a trace! Your job is to find out why! There have been rumors about this strange atoll..frightening rumors about happenings way out beyond the laws of nature…”

They are WAY out beyond the laws of nature alright! It goes without saying there is a radiation theme here but I’m not going to spoil all the fun for you. I can not however get away with not discussing the films crab monsters when I am reviewing a film called Attack of the Crab Monsters! Crabs plus radiation obvious equals trouble! But these particular radiated crabs possess an extra special ability. These crabs can incorporate a human being’s personality and thoughts! There is an array of peculiar little details that come along with this that I will not spoiler for you! Prepare yourself for science fiction chaos as the crab monsters pick off characters one by one! As is often the case, the giant monsters move in a most unnatural way, but it is really the eyes that give this particular monster its touch of hokey. At least the creature does look like a crab, which puts it ahead of some of its peers. There is no disputing the cheesiness of these creatures but they are nonetheless a shitload of fun.

Despite its cheesier qualities Attack of the Crab Monsters manages to maintain a sense of dread. Several people are killed before the team of scientists even gets settled in on the “strange atoll”! One man even gets decapitated! The Island is frighteningly quiet, and seems completely devoid of even animal life (with the exception of an abundance of normal sized land crabs). And if that isn’t enough, the island they are on is getting smaller and smaller! Corman keeps things pretty lively throughout. There are even a few well executed suspense scenes. The crab monsters are their most active at night. The night settings add atmosphere to the proceedings and helped to camouflage the films lesser qualities.

The team of scientists consists of nuclear physicist Dr. Karl Weigand, geologist Dr. James Carson, Botanist Jules Deveroux, and biologists Martha Hunter and Dale Brewer. Also along for the trip is technician and handyman Hank Chapman. The cast are actually pretty good and they give genuine performances despite the material. I was particularly fond of Dr. Karl Weigand who almost made me believe his bizarre theory. Fun fact (you can add this to that file in your brain that stores seemingly useless trivia); technician extraordinaire Hank Chapman is played by Russell Johnson who also starred in the sci-fi features This Island Earth and It Came from Outer Space but is best known as the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.

Attack of the Crab Monsters has it all! Hokey giant monsters, suspense, thrills and a few laughs for good measure! Attack of the Crab Monsters is downright entertaining. Recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 3.5/5

Directed By: Roger Corman

Starring: Richard Garland, Pamela Duncan, Russell Johnson, Leslie Bradley, Mel Welles, Richard H. Cutting, Beach Dickerson, Tony Miller, Ed Nelson, Maitland Stuart, Charles B. Griffith