Movie Review: A Bucket of Blood (1959)

Synopsis: A dimwitted busboy, Walter, finds success as an artist when he accidentally kills his landlady's cat, covers it in clay and convinces people it is a sculpture. Determined to win the heart of the woman he secretly loves, Walter decides to repeat the process. Only, this time, he is using people.

Who's in it? The movie stars Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Ed Nelson and Judy Bamber.

Review: I was running ahead of schedule this morning and had plenty of time before I needed to head to the office. Rather than risk waking everyone else up by pacing the floor, I looked for a movie to watch and picked this one solely because of the relatively-short runtime (66 minutes).

To be honest, I wasn't really sure if I would like this movie, mostly because the premise reminded me too much of  House of Wax. Also, when I first started watching the film, I wasn't sure if it was going to be a horror movie, comedy or social comentary about the beatnik culture. However, after seeing the movie, I do have to say I enjoyed it a lot more than expected.

I think the thing that really sold me on this film was Walter (Miller) himself. At first, he seemed kind of meek and not at all threatening but, as the film progressed and he became more unstable and unpredictable, the movie became intriguing to watch. I was especially interested to see what would happen with his landlady, who seemed to have a habit of popping in on him when it wasn't convenient.

Another character I was intrigued by was the cafe owner, Leonard (Carbone). Once he figured out Walter's secret, he became a major wildcard in the movie and it wasn't clear whether he would turn Walter in, would just try to stop him quietly, or if he would decide to encourage Walter's "art" because of the potential to make a significant amount of money. 

In fact, probably my only major complaint about this low-budget film is I wish it would have done a better job of explaining Walter's relationship with Leonard. Were they best friends at one point or did he just feel sorry for Walter? Despite him being somewhat mean to Walter in the beginning of the film, his efforts later on show there was likely something more between them than just him being Walter's boss.

Final Opinion: This is a low-budget film that doesn't have enough runtime to properly fill out the characters but, overall, I thought it was an entertaining and memorable horror movie. I'd recmmend taking the time to watch it.

My Grade: B


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