Aaron Y.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

A Bucket of Blood

It is amazing that A Bucket of Blood even exists. In 1959, American International Pictures sought out Roger Corman, a thirty-something director beginning to establish a career making low-budget horror films. AIP presented him with a great challenge- take a shoestring budget of $50,000 and a five-day shooting schedule and make a masterpiece with it. Corman obliged and approached Charles B. Griffith to help develop what would largely be his first attempt at directing a black comedy. Dick Miller was cast as the star, skittish busboy Walter Paisley who works at a local java joint packed with beatniks, poets, hipsters, aspiring musicians, and assorted admirers. In this satire of the beatnik culture, Paisley leaves a ho-hum, solitary life and longs deeply for an artistic breakthrough which would serve as a passageway to acquiring popularity. He is ultimately inspired to finally try his hand at art by the resident poet at the Yellow Door, his workplace, Maxwell Brock, who describes himself as "aware" and is played masterfully by a career extra Julian Burton. When he returns to his ramshackle apartment in hopes of sculpting a clay interpretation of his love interest and Yellow Door frequenter Carla (Barboura Morris), he quickly becomes frustrated at his inability to create his desired masterpiece. The repetitive moaning of the cat belonging to his landlady Mrs. Surchart (Myrtle Vail, Griffith's grandmother), who has gotten itself trapped in a wall, only adds to his anger. When trying to carve Frankie, the cat, out of the wall, he accidentally stabs it. He lies in bed that night tormented by the day's events. When he awakes, he recalls the omniscient poem Brock delivered the night before concerning immortality. This gives Walter his first subject to turn into an artistic masterpiece. Using the clay he had unsuccessfully tried to mold into an impression of Carla, Paisley covers his landlady's cat, leaving in the knife he killed it with. He comically calls his work "Dead Cat." Met with the admiration of patrons at the Yellow Door, but suspicion by his demanding boss Leonard (Anthony Carbone), Walter's art career soon takes an unexpected turn and humans soon become the subjects of his work. Corman and Griffith then take you along on Walter Paisley's wild and brief journey (66 minutes) from desperation to pure madness. The cast's work here is admirable and entertaining. Miller's over-the-top performance as Walter Paisley brings the much needed sense of comedy and satire to the film while Carbone's work as the stern and weary Leonard provides a clear contrast. As aforementioned, Julian Burton is believable and inspiring as the artsy poet Maxwell Brock. In all, A Bucket of Blood is an amusing, engrossing, and enticing film. Corman and Griffith's ability to forge a campy and comedic observation of the beatnik culture by the way of a horror film with such a minuscule allowance is beyond honorable. I agree with Dick Miller when he said, "The story was good, the acting was good, the humor in it was good, the timing was right, everything about it was right--but they didn't have any money for production values, and it suffered." A Bucket of Blood, with the proper funding, could have become cinematic classic, and it comes extremely close but falls just short. In closing, A Bucket of Blood is a testament to Roger Corman's thriftiness and unique, brilliant ability to make quality horror films that overcome their thin funds and exceed all expectations. Roger Corman spoke the truth when he jokingly stated he could have made a film about the fall of the Roman Empire with two extras and a sagebrush.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street is much more than just a popular horror flick teenagers watch on a dark October night for cheap thrills. And Freddy Krueger is not simply a cheesy horror villain thought up wildly by Wes Craven. For those willing to invest thought and time into the film, A Nightmare on Elm Street is a daring psychological test, and Krueger is the element that challenges the limits of your psyche. While the movie may also be appealing due to its excess amount of gore and countless instances of '80s culture, Wes Craven's defining work disputes the boundary between dreams and reality. A common bond all human beings share is curiosity in dreams and the essence of their true meanings. A Nightmare on Elm Street accurately indulges in that issue and deals heavily with the manifestation of fears and desires in everyday dreams....or nightmares. And what would the film be without a fleet of tormented teenagers, the central protagonists of almost all the classic horror and slasher films of the past 30 years. The actors in the film aren't what you would exactly call Oscar-worthy, but they more than adequately fulfill their roles. Robert Englund, who will forever be immortalized in the film industry as the original dream murderer Fred Krueger, plays the antagonist in his own comical and enjoyable way. Johnny Depp is a member of the cast as well, partaking in his first major film role. Wes Craven brilliantly advances and plays out the plot as well. Craven's screenplay features no unexpected twists but that is the beauty of this Robert Shaye-produced film. The purpose of A Nightmare on Elm Street is not to appease one's appetite for blood or useless killings. This movie is meant to make the viewer question the existence of a blurred line sperating what you witness in a state of consciousness and likewise, in a state of dormancy and make it fun at the same time. Remember, the next time you watch a Nightmare on Elm Street, which you've probably already seen 10 times, treat with great respect and take notice of deeper meanings that you might not have realized at first viewing. Wes Craven's low budget, unique interpretation of an everyday issue solidifies A Nightmare on Elm Street as a horror classic.

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)

Nosferatu is a testament to its tagline- "A Symphony of Terror." There are several elements that make this film one of the most influential and critically acclaimed motion pictures of all-time. First off, for a silent film to be classified as a horror movie is astounding. Its ability alone to remain suspenseful and terrifying with zero dialogue and a limited score should qualify it as the most important and among the greatest horror productions in the history of film making. Second, Nosferatu contains more endearing images than almost any other movie ever released. The promotional photo of Count Orlok (the Dracula-like main character portrayed by Max Schreck) standing in the archway of his monstrous castle located deep in the Carpathian Mountains. Orlok trailing his eerie shadow as he lurks up a set of steps. All movie fans have seen these pictures, some without knowing the film of origin. And of course, as is the case with any noteworthy silent film, the acting is believable and inspiring. The lumbering Schreck as perhaps the best movie villian of all-time Count Orlok is what solidifies the film's legacy but the supporting cast is honorable as well. Gutsav von Wangenheim, Greta Schroeder, and Alexander Granach all perfectly play their parts in Nosferatu. Lastly, but certainly not least, F.W. Murnau, the director, made this film his masterpiece. From the selection of the set, the loose adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and pacing of the film (it is said Murnau used a metronome to gauge the pace of the acting), F.W. Murnau's work here remains iconic. Mony of his silent films from the period have been lost, but Nosferatu remains and can never be forgotten. Nosferatu is a German film from way back in the silent era, 1922, but it transcends all languages and all generations.

The Abominable Dr. Phibes

Dr. Vesalius: "Your wife no, Phibes, but you I will kill!"
Dr. Phibes: "But you can't, Doctor Vesalius. I am already... dead."
The Abominable Dr. Phibes is perhaps the best picture that emerged from the vast catalog of low-budget horror films that American International Pictures' released in the 1960's and 1970's. Like many AIP movies, Vincent Price serves as the star in the film in what may be his finest performance. The role of the film's lead, Dr. Anton Phibes, is perfect for Price who uses his usual over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek to add depth to the eerie main character. Robert Fuest occupies the director's chair few one of his few jobs directing a major motion Picture. Fuest's career was halted in 1975 following the release of his brainchild The Devil's Rain, which is considered to be one of the most disastrous, tasteless films ever released. The supporting cast should be credited as well. Joseph Cotten, a greatly talented actor known as a perennial back-up to Orson Welles, is convincing in his role as Phibes' main adversary, and Peter Jeffrey uses a charming sense of humor to provide laughter to the film as the oblivious Inspector Trout.
The plot of the film is completely outlandish but too interesting and unique to discount as silly or terrible. The film's exposition is not shown but is thoroughly covered. Anton Phibes, as already mentioned, is the primary character. He is once-famous organist who is known for his knowledge of music and theology, holding a doctorate in both. Tragedy strikes Phibes in 1921 when he learns his wife is dying on the operating table. On his way to provide aid to his ailing wife, Phibes is involved in a fiery crash that leads all to speculate his death; however, he was able to escape, grotesquely scarred and disfigured. Using his one-of-a-kind ingenuity, Phibes is able to create a life-like wig and face to cover up his horrible disfigurements and a gramophone-operated speaking system hooked to his windpipe. Phibes learns that his wife Victoria died on the operating table and convinces himself her death was caused by the careless work of incompetent doctors. The doctor is determined to exact revenge on the nine doctors and medical assistants he believes were responsible for his spouse's untimely passing. Using his knowledge of religion, he draws inspiration for his murders from the Ten plagues of Egypt which are derived from the Old Testament. His killings begin in 1925, four years after his unfortunate accident. After the second murder is committed, Inspector Trout, a detective with Scotland Yard, is placed in charge of discovering all connections between the two deaths and any possible suspects. With help from his beautiful, mute assistant Vulnavia (Virginia North), Phibes conducts six more gruesome, odd murders, and eventually, Trout is able to contact Dr. Vesalius, who is revealed as the head surgeon who Phibes believes was the primary doctor responsible for his wife's death. The climax is reached when Phibes targets Vesalius as the victim of the ninth plague, "death of the first born", and kidnaps his son Lem. Vesalius is summoned to Phibes' secret location and discovers his son has been strapped to an operating table. Emulating the occurrences surrounding his wife's death, Phibes informs his foe he will have six minutes to remove the key he has placed near his son's heart, freeing him from the table, before a stream of acid descends on his only child. Vesalius is able to free his son and the acid instead falls on Phibes' servant Vulnavia. Believing his journey for revenge has been completed, Phibes retreats to the basement of his hidden apartment where he takes his place next to the body of his embalmed wife in a giant sarcophagus and replaces the blood in his body with embalming fluid. The lid of the coffin shuts and seals the couple into eternal darkness. When Trout finally arrives at the scene, he and Vesalius are surprised to realize that Phibes has strangely disappeared. After conferring about his possible whereabouts, they remember the tenth and final plague, "darkness", and speculate they will once again meet the wrath of the demented Dr. Phibes.
While on the surface, The Abominable Dr. Phibes may seem like a ridiculous waste of time and an overly-campy film, at its core it is a captivating and enjoyable B-movie starring Vincent Price who accurately captures the ambitions and emotions of the central character. The Abominable Dr. Phibes is truly a one-of-a-kind production and a must-see for any Vincent Price or horror movie fan.