A Bucket of Blood is the kind of film that makes you love Roger Corman. Shot in 5 days using leftover AIP film sets, the movie was the definition of a rush job. So much that star Dick Miller lamented the film that could have been. But, that would have ruined it.
Later sampled heavily for the far superior Little Shop of Horrors, Corman and writer Charles Griffith were obsessed with making a movie about losers driven to homicide. While later critics would regard the film as Corman’s first truly great release, I feel that undersells Five Guns West. Nobody saw that movie, so I guess the mob wins.
Dick Miller is the ideal Corman actor. Playing somewhere between stock schlub and working man hero, it’s easy to buy into Dick Miller’s adventures through these cheap outings. He’s got the face of a bowling alley manager mixed with the guy who steals change out of your car at Jiffy Lube. You trust him enough, but it’s not like you can remember his name on the first or second try. In that sense, Dick Miller is believable as a homicidal outsider artist.
The Olive Signature Edition Blu-ray plays darker than I expected. While that’s true of most of the late 1950s Corman movies, the transfer leaves me wondering something. Is it over or under mastered? After years of Blue TT movies and CG looking restorations on titles like Predator, it keeps me on my toes. Newly mastered from a 4K scan, this disc takes a different approach than the recent Film Detective release. That release chose to find an older 35mm print and restore from an accessible source.
Mining the elements owned by MGM reveals something to me. These movies almost need a steward. Scorsese and MOMA can’t be everywhere, so what about America’s proud Drive-In heritage that is being left to rot? Also, that brings up by two favorite special features on the disc.
The super rare prologue from the German release of the film is included. It was an attempt to bill the movie as a sequel to House of Wax. Sure, Corman didn’t own it but I guess it was easy to make a connection for West German audiences. Plus, there’s a Super 8 version of the movie included. If you’re a presentation snob, this might rub you raw.
But, a part of me truly enjoys seeing all available elements for a film like this. While I felt the shadows dominated the A/V Quality too much, the Olive Signature releases shine with their treasure chests full of special features that shine a new light on these movies. I’d recommend a purchase.