Fred Katz

A Bucket of Blood (1959, Roger Corman)

Until the unfortunate deus ex machina finish, A Bucket of Blood is a small wonder. Even with the finish, the film manages to succeed; the performances are just too strong.

Dick Miller plays a simple, well-meaning bus boy–who also takes drink orders, apparently for no tips–at an art café. The beatnik patrons condescend to him, his boss is a jerk, the only one nice to him is his female coworker.

Every performance–boss, beatnik, girl–is fantastic. Miller’s great in the lead too, with Corman and writer Charles B. Griffith giving him the time to show how his character becomes a spree killer. It’s okay because he’s turning the bodies into art, after all. While Griffith and Corman have a lot of fun at the beatnik culture’s expense, they don’t shortchange Miller. His transformation is serious… even when the results are funny.

As the girl, Barboura Morris doesn’t get a lot to do until the end but then Griffith and Corman give her one amazing scene. It probably only lasts a couple minutes, but it seems so much longer thanks to Morris. One can just watch the thoughts on her face, in her measured reactions.

Antony Carbone is good as Miller’s boss, who sort of understands his responsibility in the situation. Julian Burton is awesome as the intellectual beatnik who takes Miller under his wing. John Brinkley and John Herman Shaner are hilarious as the stoned beatniks who offer uninvited commentary.

Blood is an excellent little picture.



Produced and directed by Roger Corman; written by Charles B. Griffith; director of photography, Jacques R. Marquette; edited by Anthony Carras; music by Fred Katz; released by American International Pictures.

Starring Dick Miller (Walter Paisley), Barboura Morris (Carla), Antony Carbone (Leonard de Santis), Julian Burton (Maxwell H. Brock), Ed Nelson (Art Lacroix), John Brinkley (Will), John Herman Shaner (Oscar), Judy Bamber (Alice), Myrtle Vail (Mrs. Swickert), Bert Convy (Lou Raby), Jhean Burton (Naolia), Bruno VeSota (Art Collector) and Lynn Storey (Sylvia).

Ski Troop Attack (1960, Roger Corman)

The best thing in Ski Troop Attack is a forty or fifty second conversation between two characters about mortality. Writer Charles B. Griffith has a few other good observations in the dialogue, but they don’t resonate. Nothing in Ski resonates except that one conversation. And the acting isn’t even good. I guess Wally Campo isn’t terrible, but Richard Sinatra’s redneck is awful.

Corman and Griffith give Sinatra a lot to do; the joke is he’s smart but he’s a redneck. It’s not funny the first time–Sinatra’s terrible–and it’s not funny the thirtieth time either.

There’s not much else good about Ski. Some of the shots are good, but only because Corman’s shooting it on a snow covered mountain. There’s bound to be some good shots. Anthony Carras’s editing ruins most of the action scenes, though it’s probably not all his fault. The budget’s probably responsible for a lot.

Not the acting though. Michael Forest plays the lieutenant, Frank Wolff plays the sergeant. From the first or second scene, there’s bickering about who knows better, regular army or the officers. The resolution to that argument’s interesting if only because it comes as a complete surprise. Corman and Griffith don’t build to it at all.

Wolff’s not terrible. He can’t hold up the picture, but he’s not awful. Forest is awful. Not as bad as Sinatra, but bad.

Wait, I was wrong–there is something else good about Ski. Fred Katz’s music.

Otherwise, Ski’s a very long, very boring hour.



Produced and directed by Roger Corman; written by Charles B. Griffith; director of photography, Andrew M. Costikyan; edited by Anthony Carras; music by Fred Katz; released by The Filmgroup.

Starring Michael Forest (Lt. Factor), Frank Wolff (Sgt. Potter), Wally Campo (Pvt. Ed Ciccola), Richard Sinatra (Pvt. Herman Grammelsbacher), Paul Rapp (Pvt. Roost) and Sheila Noonan (Frau Heinsdorf).

Scroll to Top