Dir: Roger Corman
Starring: Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone, Julian Burton
Hard to see why this, along with Little Shop of Horrors, is so highly regarded. It’s really just a waxworks movie set in the beatnik era – never my favourite social group, thanks to their liking for freeform jazz, poetry readings and goatee beards. Like hippies, they seemed to take themselves far too seriously, so watching a movie populated by beats is like having teeth pulled for me. Miller is endearing at first, a geeky wannabee artist, reduced to clearing tables in the local hangout, until he discovers he can be acclaimed an artist, simply by covering corpses in clay.
By about the second murder, however, any empathy for him was fast evaporating and I couldn’t find any other interesting characters to hold my attention. It does perhaps work as a satire on the art world, pointing out how art critics, etc. don’t really know anything, but this is not something of which I require convincing, so it’s preaching to the choir there. Being honest, it’s an entirely forgettable quickie, no more worthy of note than any similarly budgeted film of the era.