Film Review: Bucket of Blood (1959)

Release Date: October 1959
Directed by: Roger Corman
Written by: Charles B. Griffith
Music by: Fred Katz
Cast: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Anthony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, John Brinkley

AltaVista, American International Pictures, 66 Minutes 


“I didn’t mean to hurt you, Lou. But if you’d have shot me, you’d be moppin’ up my blood now.” – Walter Paisley

Roger Corman’s Bucket of Blood by highbrow critics’ standards is probably really frowned upon, especially back in 1959 if critics even bothered with it. They typically ignored these sort of pictures because not acknowledging them somehow made them nonexistent.

However, as time has passed, this is a film that many have come to love and appreciate. I wouldn’t say that it was ahead of its time, as House of Wax treads very similar territory and it predates this by a few years and it is also a remake of Mystery of the Wax Museum from 1933, which itself is based on a short story by Charles S. Belden, published a year prior to that.

The main difference between the films’ narratives is that instead of wax our artist here uses clay. And instead of being a great artist that lost the use of his hands, Bucket of Blood features a beatnik busboy with no talent using clay to cover up his accidental killings and eventually, his premeditated murders.

Bucket of Blood is a pretty short film being only 66 minutes. This was typical for the Corman pictures of the time. Little Shop of HorrorsCreature From the Haunted Sea and others had very short running times. Still, a lot happens in the film. It also moves at a good speed.

The cast of characters in this picture are great.

The film stars Dick Miller, who was one of Corman’s (and later Joe Dante’s) favorite actors to use. He plays Walter Paisley, the busboy turned artistic killer. Miller is stupendous as the bumbling and wimpy Walter. He starts out pretty innocent but evolves into a killer due to his accidental killings bringing him some fame within his small beatnik scene.

The rest of the movie is made up with several interesting and bizarre beatnik characters. The guy who plays the really pretentious pseudo-intellectual poet is pretty fantastic.

Bucket of Blood is far from flawless but it is still a movie worth its weight in buckets of blood. It is pretty tame on the horror and is more of a black comedy with very little blood. Most of the killing is artistically implied. It was well thought out and well executed for the time and for the fact that it was made for the price of a pair of shoes.

Rating: 7.5/10

Film Review: Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961)

Release Date: June 1961
Directed by: Roger Corman
Written by: Charles B. Griffith
Music by: Fred Katz
Cast: Anthony Carbone, Betsy Jones-Moreland, Edward Wain

Filmgroup, 75 Minutes 


Creature From the Haunted Sea is famous for having one of the most hokey monsters in cinema history. As a kid, I saw several late night horror shows that featured a clip of the monster in their credits sequence. He was also used in a lot of other stuff too, always to be made fun of.

The film itself has an abysmal 3.4 rating on IMDb. While it is a bad film, that’s a bit harsh and maybe goes to show that this is the sort of film that only appeals to old school horror lovers that can see beyond the flaws of the era and this film’s budgetary constraints, appreciating the whole picture for what it is, a lot of friggin’ fun.

Directed by Roger Corman, it is safe to assume that this was shot in an afternoon on a budget that could only afford snacks for the cast and a a pair of googly eyes for the creature that was essentially just a big dude wrapped in a sheet of dark wool. Corman was famous for being able to film an hour of footage in a fifteen minute shoot. While I am being facetious, if anyone could bend the laws of space and time like that, it would be Roger Corman.

This film has a great sense of humor and maybe that is lost on modern audiences. Although, it does go a bit overboard and becomes bizarre, at times. There is a character that is a complete moron and he mostly speaks in animal impersonations. He meets a Puerto Rican island woman who does the same thing and they fall in love. Her name is Porcina and it is really fitting.

The story is fairly interesting at its core. A criminal lot makes a deal with a Cuban general to steal a bunch of gold to fund a counterrevolution, as this takes place just after Fidel Castro gained power. The criminals plan to double cross the Cubans and fake an attack by a sea creature, sinking the gold to the bottom of the ocean, only to be procured at a later date, once the Cubans are picked off. Except, there really is a monster.

The final shot of the movie is one of my all-time favorites as it shows the creature, picking his teeth at the bottom of the sea, while sitting on the trunk of gold.

Creature From the Haunted Sea is a delight, if you have an appreciation for the work of Roger Corman. It teamed him up with long-time collaborator Charles B. Griffith, who wrote a ton of his earlier films.

Rating: 5/10