Roger Corman strikes again, bringing us an updated version of one of his earliest films, A BUCKET OF BLOOD. This 1995 re-telling features an all-star cast of B-listers, including Anthony Michael Hall, Justine Bateman (forgot how cute she was), and many others. In terms of horror, it’s a rather slight affair – focusing instead on getting laughs by mocking the self-conciously arty. But in doing so I have to admit I enjoyed myself – it was short, quick, and entertaining. Could have used a little more buckets of blood, but otherwise, I can’t complain.
Hall, smack dab in his awkward phase between his early years as a Brat-Packer and his later years as star of THE DEAD ZONE, plays Walter, the bus-boy at a performance art club frequented by the most pretentious people on earth. From spoken word poetry to naked classical music, everything and anything shows up at this club – and after each performance the patrons sip their coffee and debate whether or not the other really “got what the artist was trying to do.” Walter yearns to be a part of this art crowd, but of course, is shunned by them all.
After a cat is killed and plastered by Walter, he finds himself suddenly being admired for his artistry. Of course, it’s not going to end with a cat, and before long more and more bodies are getting plastered for arts sake – and the pretentious club-goers eat it up. None of them realize, however, that there is a real person behind all that plaster. They just think Walter is an uncommonly talented artist. That’s really the sum of the plot – needless to say at a certain point someone gets onto him and it leads to its inevitable climax.
The plot is really secondary here. It’s essentially a black comedy with a very un-subtle satire of self-consciously arty folks. The original was set in the beatnik era in the 50s – this is updated for the Gen X artsy-ness of the 90s, and it still feels right. My favorite was the spoken word poet played by DJ Shadoe Stevens. When Walter approaches him about one of his poems, he replies that he forgot what he said. “Repitition is death,” he proclaims and his fans eat it up (watch for David Cross as one of his adoring admirers).
In fact, there are lots of little cameos, from Paul Bartel to Will Ferrell (before he was anyone) in the background. Roger Corman clearly blasted out this movie in a few days, and it’s a little trifle with very little horror to it. But I got a few chuckles out of it and it zipped along in no time. Fun stuff.
RATING: *** (out of four)