A Bucket of Blood – USA, 1995 – reviews

‘Murder is his masterpiece’

A Bucket of Blood aka The Death Artist is a 1995 American comedy-horror feature film about a busboy that becomes a celebrated artist using models that he has secretly killed.

Directed by Michael McDonald from a screenplay co-written with Brendan Broderick (House of the Damned), based upon the original screenplay of the 1959 movie of the same name by Charles B. Griffith. The New Horizons production stars Anthony Michael Hall, Justine Bateman, Shadoe Stevens, Sam Lloyd and Jesse D. Goins.

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“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. 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.” Absolute Horror

“Despite overplaying both Walter’s pathetic self-pity and his murderous aggression, Hall is not too bad in the role! Justine Bateman’s take on Carla, however, is a little weird! She chooses to do some kind of Eastern European accent and wear art-doyenne glasses, which pointlessly changes her character from the girl-next-door she was in the original!” Ha ha, It’s Burl!

” …a treat to watch, and while not holding a candle to the original, its different enough to justify your time. My only misgivings were the characterization of Walter, who has a far meaner streak in Anthony Michael Hall. It’s still a solid performance but doesn’t draw the same sympathy that you want in a black comedy about an inept killer.” Geoffrey Broomer, Letterboxd

“Unfortunately, it isn’t very good. The thought of taking A Bucket of Blood, pumping up the comedy, and modernizing it was a good idea. However, the satirical art people are so overbearing caricatured it makes the whole movie feel like a mean spirited and cynical jaunt.” Rowan Smith, Letterboxd

Choice dialogue:

Art: “You don’t even remember your own poems – that’s so… Goethe.”

Maxwell: “Life is nothing but a homeless traveller on the RTD of art.”

Older Man: “Do you think I look like a beatnik?”
Older Woman: “Darling, you reek of bohemia!”

Mayolia: “Look at Walter down the bubbly. Drunks make great lovers. They try harder.”

Cast and characters:

  • Anthony Michael Hall … Walter
  • Justine Bateman … Carla
  • Shadoe Stevens … Maxwell
  • Sam Lloyd … Leonard
  • Jesse D. Goins … Art
  • Kin Shriner … Lou
  • Sheila Travis … Mayolia
  • David Cross … Charlie
  • Victor Wilson … Cuff
  • Patrick Bristow … Link
  • Paul Bartel … Older Man
  • Mink Stole … Older Woman
  • Julianna McCarthy … Mrs Swicker
  • Will Ferrell … Young Man
  • Alan Sues … Art Buyer
  • Darcy DeMoss … Alice
  • Jennifer Coolidge … Stupid Girl
  • Stephen Burrows … Carpenter
  • Jim Jackson … Art Critic
  • Jennifer Joyce … Woman at Show (as Jennifer Judith Joyce)
  • Michael McDonald … Dancer (as Michael James McDonald)
  • Jim Wise … Guitar Player / Singer
  • Tracy Grundland … Art Dealer
  • Scott P. Levy … Sleazy Agent #1
  • Brendan Broderick … Sleazy Agent #2
  • Deena Casiano … Violinist
  • Markus Reinhardt … Cellist

Trivia:

The film features a brief appearance by Will Ferrell in one of his first on-screen roles.

Related:

A Bucket of Blood (1959) – 4K remaster Blu-ray release

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