In the 15th Century, the Duke of York, Mr. Ed, decided that if the devil was alive on this clay mound, it would probably be in the body of a little, bitey, teeny kitty cat (which makes sense, with those creepy cat’s eyes and all). So, he ordered the townspeople to gather all the pussy cats he could find, and… well, let’s just say it wasn’t gay purrrreeeee for a while. They say cats have nine lives, and maybe (just maybe) the Duke did as well, being reincarnated in little ol’ Walter Paisley, the wimpy, weak, whiney anti-hero from the Roger Corman classic A Bucket of Blood.
I am going to say one thing and you can come after me, post below how much you hate me, or run me out of town if you want (as long as you don’t tar and feather me). Are you ready? Here it is… I hate cats (that’s right, I said it)! With this being said, I understand why the mangy mouser bothered Walter. They claw, they scratch, and they treat your beautiful houseplants like a cheap bag of Meow Mix. These fury chappies seemed to also annoy Edgar Allan Poe as well, whose source material inspired a little bit of the story. Filmed a quick five days for $50,000, Corman is at the peak of his game, not only in cheapness but in having fun with the art of cinema. This film is one of the first examples of a true comedy/horror film, inspiring classic films like An American Werewolf in London, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, and Hobgoblins (hey, if you knew what the film was, then shut up, cause you watched it!).
Landing on all fours in a slim 65 minutes, and written by common Corman collaborator Charles B. Griffith, this black and white moggy Drive-in classic was the first film of Corman’s to star the great (sadly late) Dick Miller, who went on to star in classics like Gremlins, The Terminator, and Tales from the Crypt Presents Demon Night. Walter Paisley, perfectly played by Miller, works as a lonely waiter at a local art beatnik bar, where he sees great artists and dreams of being among the greats. One day while trying to sculpt, a nasty little black cat interrupts his stride and he (accidentally) kills it. How does he hide the evidence? By encasing the cat in a clay sculpture. When he forgets to rid of it, some of his artistic acquaintances want to see more and ol’ Walter needs to find more than the common household pet to feed his artistic cravings!
Like a priceless painting, this beauty is truly the cat’s meow! I know being in the public domain means the artists get nothing in the long run, but thanks to this little copyright issue, you can find A Bucket of Blood pretty much anywhere streaming, but also is available on thousands of PD DVD formats, but I recommend the special edition Blu-Ray by Olive Films. Funny fact, a few years back Corman teamed up with Showtime Network and remade this starring Anthony Micheal Hall and a pre-SNL Will Ferrill, but maybe that one can stay in the little box. So before you watch the movie go to your local gas station for a $1.27 cup of coffee, warm up a heaping mound of clay for your idle hands, and remember, be like ol’ Walter and make your art with some heart!
You can watch the full movie here: