Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone. USA. 1h 6m
Despite being a comedy horror I adore so much about his simple yet thrilling horror. A naive and talentless artist finds success after a terrible accident and the rush of power and fame causes him to take his art to deadly new heights.
Much praise has to go to Dick Miller for playing the ead Walter Paisley, a slightly simple and clumsy busboy at a beatnik cafe who’s biggest desire is to be “in” with the hip(ster) scene. The most impressive of the cool cats is Maxwell the faultless poet and Walter would do anything to get his praise and that of the adorable Carla.
A Comedy of Errors! A Comedy of Terrors!
After a series of bizarre events, Walter ends up killing a cat and covering it with clay, the abstract sculpture wins Walter praise and notoriety but one sculpture just isn’t enough for his ever hungry audience. Walter seems to lose it as he progresses from cats to humans, his need to be the famous amongst his peers.
This exploitation film is thick with black comedy and speaks volumes about modern art, anything can pass for art right (actually wrong but i’m not getting into that right now). Dick Miller’s portrayal as the meek Walter isn’t award winning but it’s highly entertaining, he seems so much calmer when not being chased by hordes of Gremlins. Once the story really starts to kick off it does become a little predictable, but it remains stylish and borders on thrilling, it’s just over one hour and really won’t break the bank as it’s on all sorts of classic collections, probably the tube under an open licence no doubt.
At times I can see the connection with Driller Killer (1979) a lone man who is rejected by his scene goes on an insane kill spree, except the scene is not Punk Rock, this is a pseudo cool jazz scene, which is often portrayed in films around the era and really crafts a beautiful backdrop to the film, which I believe could be a fearless film noir if it dropped the comedy aspect, but it remains dark either way, and not surprisingly for the age, you don’t see any deaths but it’s still brilliant to watch and for a film that took only 5 days to film, it’s quite an achievement.
R – The Terror (1963), House on Haunted Hill (1959), House of Wax (1953)
L – 1950’s Horror Films 50 for the 1950’s
5s – Roger Corman, Dick Miller