Monstervision's Joe Bob Briggs Looks At

Bucket of Blood (1959)

(From Joe Bob's Ultimate B Movie Guide)

movie poster One of Roger Corman's all-time best pictures, better than the similarly-themed THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, starring Dick Miller as a schlemiel hanging around the Venice Beach beatnik scene, trying to impress girls by pretending to be an artist. When he accidentally kills a cat with his modeling knife, then covers the corpse with sculptor's clay, a work of art called "Dead Cat" results and a celebrated beat genius is born--but Miller can't control his need to find larger subjects for his "art." Shot for $50,000, Corman made this on a bet--that he could complete a film in only five days. He won the bet. It was also the first black comedy, mixing laughs and soft- core gore in a filmmaking tradition that would remain popular for the next forty years. Bucket Of Blood trailer
With Barboura Morris, Bert Convy, Anthony Carbone, Julian Burton, Ed Nelson, John Brantley. 4 stars

2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved. Not an AOL Time-Warner Company in this lifetime.

No relation to the 1934 movie Bucket Of Blood, which was based on The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The Death Artist (1996)

Joe Bob's Drive-In
for 11-17-96

I've been watching a bunch of hippie movies from around 1968 to 1973, and I've noticed that almost ALL of them have at least one scene of longhaired, bell-bottomed Disaffected Youths yelling like idiots at a public meeting.
It could be a meeting of Army generals, or a city council, or a corporate boardroom. And you'll have all these serious older people sitting around a table in suits, or uniforms, saying things like, "When was the last time you cut your hair, young man?"
And the hippies will hoot and holler and scream at the guy, "When was the last time you BRUSHED YOUR TEETH, old man!"
Or sometimes the Establishment guy will say something like, "We believe this is in the best interests of all law-abiding citizens."
And the hippie will scream: "You're so full of guilt-tripping lies that you can't relate, man! You're a dinosaur!"
Or the sensitive girl in a halter top and sandals will stand up and say: "I can feel your fear. I can feel that you fear us because you don't know us. You should check our scene, man. You should get down with us and get rid of your old worn-out fears."
Or sometimes the guys will just drop their pants and moon the city council.
Or sometimes they'll drown out the speaker by singing really bad folk songs about freedom and justice and LSD.
But whatever the hippies do, I've come to one conclusion: These people were OBNOXIOUS.
I know we're supposed to be on THEIR side when we watch these films, but they're so determined to do whatever's the MOST obnoxious thing they can think of that after a while you just go: "Jerks. They're all jerks."
But what's even harder to understand is that they're TRYING to be jerks.
And you know that there's nothing that the colonel, or the mayor, or the corporate president can say that will make them be even remotely polite, because...THE MAN IS WEARING A TIE!
In other words, the hippies were actually Nazis. They judged other people by their clothing. They refused to let other people be heard. They just generally nuked a whole generation by assuming that generation had nothing to contribute.
This is freedom?
You gotta watch these movies-you'll get what I'm talking about. This is what the whole hippie thing was about? Shouting louder than people who AREN'T LIKE YOU?
I don't get it. I really don't.

And speaking of pretentious, this week's flick is "The Death Artist," starring Anthony Michael Hall as a nerdy busboy in a performance-art cappuccino bar who dreams of one day becoming a great artist and winning the love of a Lina Wertmuller look-alike played by Justine Bateman.

Unfortunately, his sculptures look like Mr. Potato Heads made out of dog doo-doo. One night he hears the sound of a cat trapped behind a new plaster wall. He takes a knife, tries to rescue the cat by cutting the wall, and hears the horrible death cries of...
Wait a minute. Haven't I seen this somewhere before? It's a REMAKE of the 1960 drive-in classic "Bucket of Blood," starring the legendary Dick Miller and directed by the legendary Roger Corman.

The original was set in a beatnik coffeehouse in Venice, Calif., where pseudo-intellectuals entertained one another with bad poetry and cheap art. Today, of course, it's set in a CAPPUCCINO BAR in Venice where pseudo-intellectuals entertain one another with bad poetry and cheap art.

And the executive producer is none other than Roger Corman, who never lets a good movie go unmade. I think his record is five remakes in a period of 10 years. They don't call 'em exploitation films for nothin'.

Anyhow, they dusted off the old Charles Griffith script and gave it new life, with Shadoe Stevens as the showy street poet so committed to his art that he instantly forgets everything he says, because "Repetition is death," and Shelia Traviss as the "patron saint of anger" who works with a monkey puppet and rages across the stage in her black leotard.

At first they abuse the busboy as a poseur and wannabe, but as soon as he brings in his plaster sculpture, "Dead Cat," they acclaim his genius. The plot thickens when his next work, also in white plaster, is "Murdered Man."
They hardly changed the flick at all. It's the same goldurn movie.
My kinda sequel.

Four dead bodies.
One dead cat.
Four breasts.
Frying pan to the noggin.
Topless violinist.
Buzz-saw head-chopping.
Two-by-four head-smashing.

Drive-In Academy Award nominations for ...
Shadoe Stevens, as the poetic sage in dark sunglasses, who says, "Life is nothing but a homeless traveler on the RTD of art" and,
"Creation is-all else is not" and "All the rest are blind fish, swimming in the cave of aloneness."
Shelia Traviss, as the terminally hip, sexually frustrated performance poet who says, "Who can make the monkey laugh?" and "Drunks make great lovers-they try harder."
Jesse D. Goins, as the young hanger-on who says, "You don't even remember your own poems-that's so...Goethe."
Mink Stole, as the wealthy collector who refuses to buy a series of road-kill photographs because her friends are members of PETA, for saying, "Darling, you reek of bohemia."
Anthony Michael Hall, as the busboy-turned-sculptor-turned-serial-killer, for saying, "I know what it's like to be ignored."
Kin Shriner, as the gung-ho undercover narc who says, "You like chasing the dragon, Walter?"
Sam Lloyd, as the greedy owner of the Jabberjaws club, whose motto is "Coffee, Art and Personal Growth."
Darcy DeMoss, as the nude model and music-video star who says, "Are you nervous, Walter?"
And Michael James MacDonald, the director, co-writer and performance-art dancer, for staying true to the spirit of "Bucket of Blood" and doing things the drive-in way.
Four stars.
Joe Bob says check it out.

1997 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved.

Color Me Blood Red (1965)

Bloodier, gorier version of the story first filmed by Roger Corman in A BUCKET OF BLOOD, starring Don Joseph as the deranged painter who works only with blood-based paint and must seek out victims for his art. This final installment in the "gore trilogy" produced by David F. Friedman and directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis (the other two are BLOOD FEAST and 2,000 MANIACS) is the weakest of the three, but has one inspired gore sequence, in which Joseph strings up a young lovely, disembowels her, and milks her entrails like a cow, squeezing until gobs of blood plummet into a bowl. Eventually two couples find Joseph's dead blood-drained girlfriend on the beach--"Holy bananas!" a teenager cries out-- and they burst into the madman's studio, pepper his face with rifle fire, and watch as he falls face-down onto his canvas, creating a bloody self-portrait. Friedman and Lewis had a business disagreement involving Illinois drive-in king Stanford Kohlberg during the making of this film, and as a result they never worked together again. 3 stars

2000 Joe Bob Briggs. All Rights Reserved.


Dear Joe Bob
I'm 18 years old and I just wanted to say a few words to you. It's a shame to see you go from TNT, you were the real reason I ever really watched MonsterVision. I loved hearing your opening monolouge every week, and I loved the one you did about the remake of Night of the Living Dead. I have a bit of Trivia for you. Did You Know that the 1999 Guinness Book of World Records says that the original "Night of the Living Dead" Holds the record for the cheapest horror film ever made, made for just over $100,000? What do you think of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" I like it myself. One other thing, what do you think of Monty Python's Flying Circus? I think you are one of the funniest critics alive today.
Please keep up the good work.
thank you for your time
Brian Henegar

Dear Brian,
Thanks for the nice words, bud, but we've got to alert the Guinness people at once. That's absolutely not true about "Night of the Living Dead" being the cheapest budget for a horror film. There have been many made for less than $100,000. I know that "A Bucket of Blood" was made for less than $50,000, and the original "Little Shop of Horrors" for even less than that. There was a movie about witches, made in the sixties down on the Mexican border for $7,000. I'll try to find the title for you.

I think Regis Philbin is a genius. I don't think anyone knows HOW HARD THAT IS, to work with somebody like Kathie Lee for all those years and make her into an asset instead of a liability. And the Monty Python guys are idols, if not Eric Idles, of mine, especially John Cleese, although I'm told he's the least likeable in person.
All my best,
Joe Bob

For this and other movie reviews by the artist formerly known as the host of MonsterVision, go to Joe Bob

Note: Dick Miller of "Bucket Of Blood" was also in Gremlins
MonsterVision review & host segments for Gremlins

Back to Monstervision

Elvis has left the building, and he took Joe Bob with him.