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When I was a student designer in college, one of my required classes was sculpting. As a young illustrator I went in a bit cocky thinking that I could create the next masterpiece simply by closing my eyes and molding the clay into a work of perfection. Or maybe I could be like Patrick Swayze in the movie “Ghost” and show my lady my sensual fruit bowl making skills except without the whole getting shot and being stuck with Whoopi Golburg as my post-death translator. My sculptures actually looked a bit more like a deranged Gumby or a Mr. Bill on a good day (after he got ran over by the steamroller.) But I persevered in a sort of horrifying dedication to congealed mud expressionism. The only perk you’d get was the occassional female nude models that would pose for the class. You’d think that would be a great opportunity for us horny college guys to gawk at some of the finest female figures higher education has to offer. Well, these ladies were getting paid student rates so at best you got a large burly women who believes in the “all natural” look. Something a economy tub of Nare will barely make a dent into. I learned quickly that I was no Michelangelo and my sculptures would take a turn for the worst in not studying the delicate features of Lumber Jack Janice. My sad attempt at fine art turned out to be more of unintentional abstract expressionism. “You see the one leg is longer that the other to represent woman’s plight in societal oppression…errr.” “Uhhh…note how the face is lopsided…an obvious portrayal of humanities self reflection of it’s own inner turmoil…” I never did end up wearing a beret or swilling wine at the latest art gallery opening but I did learn that clay is hard to clean out from under your fingernails and that if you’re going to get paid to be nude it better be at a bar with a 2 drink minimum.
Walter Paisley (Dick Miller) knows what it means to be a struggling artist. He works days as a bus boy at a beatnik bar/art gallery then at night likes to work a bit on his art career. He’s not the sharpest tool in tool shed though when he inadvertently stabs his land lady’s dimwitted cat who got stuck in his wall again. Consumed with a lack of talent and a deep hatred of PETA, he slaps some clay on the carcus and calls it art hoping to impress his beatnik peers. The owner of the gallery and fellow beatniks love his new masterpiece hailing him a genius and throwing him a party where they dress him up like a king and write him poems. It’s like his own personal Renaissance fair. Everyone is excited to see his next piece completely unaware of it’s ghoulish creamy nugget center, so Walter starts offing people left and right to put together a quick exhibition. Also a benefit of becoming a murderous psychotic artist is you can finally wear that beret and gay neck scarf you’ve had your eye on. Walter’s sculpture range from “Undercover Police Guy I hit with frying pan” to “Naked bimbo I invited over and then choked the life out of her.” But probably his best piece is “Some dude working on a table saw in the alley that I decapitated.” It was not only his best piece but the easiest to transport and makes an excellent table center piece.
The gallery’s owner soon discovers Walter’s little secret but wimps out in not calling the police and instead just acts akward around Walter and sweats a lot. The big art exhibition starts off well until the guests start fiddling with the sculptures discovering the grisly secret under their surface. Did somebody forgot to put out the do not touch signs the night before? Meanwhile Walter has confessed his love for one of the beatnick chicks, Carla, and nothing says love more than involuntary taxidermy, but she “ain’t into that scene can you dig?” so Walter ends up chasing Carla and a angry mob ends up chasing Walter. Carla must have been training for a triathlon because Walter gives up the chase and tries to hide in his apartment…nobody will EVER think of looking for him there. The tragic and ironic ending only emphasis the evils of play-dough but is also a testament to incompetent gallery owners everywhere.
Roger Corman wrote and directed this 50’s flick. The man is a machine whose been turning out films since the dawn of celluloid and truly is the king of b-movies. One of his tammer and shorter films but surprisingly entertaining with a bit of a hitchcock flavor to it. Retroman Steve says check it out and be sure to bring your pottery wheel.
-1 frying pan to the head
-1 chick chokin’
– Extreme neck scarves
– Orson Wells beatnik poets
– Corpse drop ceilings
– Beatnik civil war actors
– Play-dough of death
– Table saw decapitation
rated 7.3 out of 10 for the movie
“No clay was harmed in the filming of this movie. Well maybe except for Clay Aikens.”
Check out the trailer for A Bucket of Blood.