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It’s 1959 in San Francisco’s low rent district. At the local beatnik hangout, Walter Paisley busses tables and pines for a comely hipster artist chick named Carla. He’s an outsider the hip kids make fun of and he can never seem to fit in. The place is full of beat poets who recite their self righteous, overly hip poetry to bongo drums. One night Walter is home trying to become a sculptor so he can impress Carla and accidentally kills his neighbor’s cat. He decides to cover the cat in clay and calls it “Dead Cat,” which Carla thinks is genius. This spurs him on to kill other living things and make sculptures out of them. This is the inspired plot of Roger Corman’s A Bucket of Blood, which was shot in its entirety in five days. Corman and writer Charles B. Griffith developed the basic plot and idea for this film in a single day. The sets would later be used for Corman’s next film, The Little Shop of Horrors, in 1960.

Last week Roger Corman received a long overdue honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement from the Academy for his life’s work - 350 movies. He crafted incredible, low budget, lurid B-movie spectaculars starting in the 1950’s and provided career launches for artists like John Sayles, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron, Ron Howard and Martin Scorsese. His films featured the nascent talents of Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, William Shatner, Charles Bronson, Sylvester Stallone and others.

I salute the genius of Roger Corman. And that’s my Way Cool Item of the Day.