Remembering The Underrated Dick Miller Masterpiece “A Bucket of Blood”

Filmed for $50,000 over the course of five days, the underrated Roger Corman classic A Bucket of Blood stars the great Dick Miller (best known as Mr. Futterman in Gremlins) as a coffeehouse busboy who dreams of being an artist. After accidentally killing a cat and covering it in clay, he becomes a sensation when he shows his “sculpture” to the pretentious poets and painters that he so admires. Desperate to keep the respect of his peers, he continues to create more works by killing people, including hip policeman Bert Convy. Eventually, Miller’s secret is revealed and he is so consumed by madness that he hangs himself.

An effective skewering of modern art and the beatnik counterculture, this is a breezy comedy highlighted by Miller’s performance as a hapless schlub antihero. (Miller would later reprise his role of Walter Paisley in the schlocky gem Chopping Mall). When production on this film wrapped, Corman reused the sets to film another tale of a nebbish who gains fame through murder–The Little Shop of Horrors. Why there isn’t yet an off-Broadway musical version of A Bucket of Blood is anyone’s guess. Since its running time is a brief 66 minutes, this one makes a perfect warm up to a great movie night. If you’ve never checked it out before, what are you waiting for?

We originally published this post in 2016 and are reprinting it today in tribute to the great Dick Miller, who died today at the age of 90. He was one of the best, and we will have a full tribute to his life and work tomorrow.