PAUSE IT: What do you see? A statue of a disfigured man. His expression anguished, his skull cracked open there is a certain grotesqueness to his stony stare. In fact, the macabre statue is actually the work of one Walter Paisley (Dick Miller), a struggling artist turned serial killer. A sick man, Paisley’s work receives the highest praise of his creative career after he stumbles upon an avant-garde technique–murdering his subjects and encasing their corpses in clay. Only the great Roger Corman could deliver on such a deranged and delicious premise. The pictured prop statue serves as a great reminder of how good production design can be to a film’s great advantage. A prop is an item in a play or film that actors handle or manipulate in service of the story. Props are distinct from other design elements such as costumes, sets, set dressing, and set pieces such as furniture because actors are asked to make them functional (to act upon or with them) as opposed to merely decorative. When chosen wisely the right prop used at the right moment can add depth and meaning to a film’s overall aesthetic and stir in the viewer deep emotions.

Director: Roger Corman
Cast:  Dick Miller, Barboura Morris, Antony Carbone
Cinematography by:  Jacques R. Marquette (as Jack Marquette)
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