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500 Five-Star: A Bucket of Blood (1959)

December 9, 2012

A Bucket of Blood is a funny one; funny both in a ‘ha-ha’ type of way, and in a ‘what the hell kind of events transpired to leave me watching this on a Friday night?’.  I didn’t expect much of it, and was left pleasantly surprised by just how much it entertained me, but I really can’t help but wonder what sort of madness was involved in producing it.  Billed a horror-comedy, the film stars Dick Miller as Walter Paisley, a talentless artist working as a waiter in an damn-near unbearable Bohemian cafe.  A crazy turn of events leads to Walter, who is desperate to be noticed and acclaimed by those who frequent the cafe, accidentally killing a cat, covering it in plaster, and ultimately being hailed as a sculptor of genius proportions.  Finally receiving the adoration and attention he has craved for so long, Walter basks in the glory…but soon realises that he must resort to even wilder methods in order to keep up this new found image.  It’s a ridiculous premise, but then it’s supposed to be, as the film is essentially taking the pee out of the underground art scene of the day and the pretentious fools who fill it.  This is most amusingly realised in the character of Maxwell, a poet whose words-spoken with such gravitas-are about on a par with the literary work of Pippa Middleton; it is a role played marvellously by Julian Burton, and well worth watching the film for on its own.  However, Burton isn’t the only success story.  Not only are the performances across-the-board excellent, but A Bucket of Blood as a whole is a very endearing and enjoyable way to spend an hour.  Madness, it may be, but it’s calculated madness with very clear purpose: to amuse, gently mock, and, most importantly, entertain.


Low budget, slightly demented, a little disturbing…but made with a lot of care, and never less than tremendous fun.  I can’t quite bring myself to raise it to the glory bestowed by Empire, but I recommend it wholeheartedly anyway (and you can watch the whole thing on Youtube, by the way, should you wish)…



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