All poor shnook Walter Paisley really wants is, like, a little respect as a cool cat and an artist but that's hard to find because he's only a busboy at the coffeehouse and all the beatniks and hip chicks and beardo-weirdos and poseurs, even the narcs fer chrissake, treat him like a human ashtray. So he's moping in his beat-out crib when the landlady's cat gets stuck between the walls and the poor schlub accidentally stabs the kitty with the knife he was using to free it. And then Walter gets an idea ...
It could have been the premise for a great novel or an opera or even a sitcom, but instead, A Bucket of Blood takes its rightful place as one of Roger Corman's legendary made-for-zilch "horror" flicks, a 1959 quickie parody of beatnik culture disguised as a black comedy of casual murder and terminal pretentiousness. Starring as Walter is the immortal Dick Miller, immortal because he didn't rest on his laurels -- he went on to act in more than a hundred movies and TV shows, most of them amiable junk, including Gremlins, The Terminator, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Attack of the 5 Ft. 2 Women, and Crazy Mama -- and he's still working. Meanwhile, Bucket went into the culture as a monolith of lowbrow entertainment from the days when cheap movies could be made and marketed cheaply. All of which endeared it to the hearts of programmers like Will "The Thrill" Viharo, the fez-bedecked retro kingpin of Oakland's Parkway Theater. "The Beat culture/lifestyle I celebrate regularly in Thrillville isn't derived from Kerouac and Ginsberg so much as it is from Maynard G. Krebs and Edd 'Kookie' Byrnes," Viharo explains. "I dig the bastardized pop culture image of barefoot, beignet-eatin', beret-wearin', bongo-playin' deadbeats that some poetry purists hate. But I skew everything through my grindhouse prism, whether it pisses people off or not."
We can see it now -- neo-boho poets picketing the Parkway when A Bucket of Blood screens Thursday night (9:15), backed by live music and a poetry reading. PicturePubPizza.com
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