I Saw A Film!
A silly little horror film involving a youthful Dick Miller (of many Corman productions and close to 200 acting credits including Gremlins and the pawn shop guy in Terminator, you could have a drinking game based on him back in the day!) as a fawning and pathetic busboy in a beatnik art cafe who, in his desperation to impress the art crowd, creates a piece of art by slathering clay over a dead cat that earns him desperately desired praise. While the cat killing was an accident his killing spree doesn’t end there and soon he’s created a statue of a lovely woman he’s strangled to death — also to acclaim! The film has a strong resemblance to a slightly later British one called Blood Bath that starred William Campbell (Trelane from the original Star Trek) but with far less ghostly/vampire allusions.
The film opens with a pretty good poem/saxophone combo that sets the stage for the era, in the era. The artworks are terrifying as they accumulate, the face of the impulsively killed cop is a winner! Why does he kill the cop? Well, a young woman, sweet on him at the cafe, though not of interest to him, gifts him heroin! He didn’t even realize what it was when the cop pulls a pistol to arrest him. Circumstances complicate the matters, of course, authorities aren’t needed, clay gets him where he needs to go! By the time he’s creating a masterpiece from a blonde nude–we don’t care about her, she’s not nice–we’re kind of immersed in his method. I mean, we’ve seen worse art! I once saw an exhibition of old computer parts glued together to look like hatchets and hung on the wall.
We aren’t bothered with the fact that bodies decompose (hell, in movies they often revive and fight people, so we aren’t really disturbed much by that unlikely scenario) and therefor would not make a great frame for clay. It’s also very amusing when our newly respected artist just adopts all the gear that makes you an art-beatnik as though the beret and cigarette holder were previously out of his range. What was out of his league was the affection of a beauty he lusted after, and unfortunately for her she gave in a bit too much to her affectionate impulses and now our bizarre new art-nik is expecting the dullest of expressions of love– her to marry him.
These films always portray the ladies in the art crowd as eager to pose nude, like it’s the most erotic and exciting thing they can imagine. In the film, reviewed yesterday, The Prime Time the wayward lass was entirely smitten with the idea of being a painting– full nude. Maybe I’ve been on the wrong track all this time, I thought ladies liked Entomologists!
Just as we would have expected much sooner, our Walter’s artworks, upon a bit of examination (who examines art??) reveals he’s using some unusual materials–hey no one said beatniks are smart! And the chase is on. Just for the record, whoever created the sculptures did a hilarious job making them shocking. They are every bit horror, though this doesn’t seem to pave a new genre or anything for these dorks.
So many levels to this enjoyable romp. Are artists what they seem? Is murder a prescribed tool of human creation? Can we reform our vision, defend ourselves, recreate our identities through artistic revolution? Well, I’m sure Corman had opinions I mean, that guy made a lot of movies!
This is free on Prime, and has been on my beatniks movie list for a while. Many more are still not available on Prime. The search continues! Incidentally, at least one of the movie posters for this thing seems to imply it’s a totally different comedy. I often wonder if that isn’t just a ruse to get out from under a good load of incompetence complaints, as nothing in the cartoons takes place in the film! Including, absolutely zero buckets of blood.