If nothing else, executive producer Roger Corman's dreary remake of his 1959 cult classic A BUCKET OF BLOOD proves that he has no particular reverence for his own work. Likewise, the audience should have no particular reverence for this film.
Dimwitted busboy Walter Paisley (Anthony Michael Hall) longs to be an artist like the poets and performers at the Jabberjaw, the coffeehouse where he works. Unable to create a sculpture, he covers a dead cat in clay and passes it off as an original work. The piece, "Dead Cat," is acclaimed by the
hipsters who had once scorned him, as is "Murdered Man," the clay-covered body of a narcotics cop Walter accidentally kills.
Basking in his new fame and the attentions of cafe habitue Carla (Justine Bateman), Walter turns to murder for more raw material. When he discovers that Carla's attentions are merely platonic, he plans to make her his next model. But when the clay starts to flake off his sculptures, the bodies
underneath are revealed to horrified viewers. One step ahead of his pursuers, Walter returns to his apartment, covers himself in plaster-of-Paris, and hangs himself, making of his own death his final (and best) work.
THE DEATH MASTER is so closely a word-for-word remake of A BUCKET OF BLOOD that original scriptwriter Charles B. Griffith probably has grounds to sue for full credit instead of the "based upon" credit he is given. On the other hand, it's unlikely that he'd actually want to. It's astonishing how
the creators of THE DEATH MASTER could stick so slavishly to their source and still miss everything that made it a cult classic. With the exceptions of performances by Justine Bateman, hiding behind ugly glasses and a preposterous Italian accent, and Shadoe Stevens, as a pretentious poet,
everything is played perfectly straight. The competent but uninspired production lacks any of the endearing and tacky ambiance that make the original such a period piece. (Graphic violence, nudity, sexual situations, substance abuse, profanity.)
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- Released: 1996
- Rating: R
- Review: If nothing else, executive producer Roger Corman's dreary remake of his 1959 cult classic A BUCKET OF BLOOD proves that he has no particular reverence for his own work. Likewise, the audience should have no particular reverence for this film. Dimwitted bu… (more)