Monday, October 5, 2015

Dead Alive (1992)

Dead Alive [a.k.a. Braindead] (New Zealand, 1992) - Color, Director(s): Peter Jackson
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 104 min.

Z-rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Cheese Factor: 5 stars out of 5

Many people know Peter Jackson for his bigger budget films like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the 2005 King Kong remake but before he was making blockbusters, he made three of the grossest splatter films ever committed to celluloid. Bad Taste was a low budget Sci-Fi/Horror Comedy about alien invaders harvesting humans for a fast food chain. Meet the Feebles was a satire on a Muppets-style musical stage show that involved things like drug deals, bunny AIDS, and sodomy. Finally, he followed those up with the goriest, most splatterrific zombie movie in the history of cinema.

Samatran Rat Monkey

Known as Braindead in most foreign territories, the movie starts with a couple of guys trying to smuggle a Sumatran rat monkey off Skull Island when they're stopped by a group of natives. They manage to slip away and the animal is transported to Wellington Zoo in New Zealand where an overbearing mother lives with her son, Lionel. A local shopkeeper named Paquita falls for him, believing they're "romantically entangled" by fate. On their date at the zoo, Lionel's mother is sneaking around spying on them when she stumbles too close to the cage and is bitten by the rat monkey. Infected by the bite, she slowly deteriorates until she eventually dies and becomes a zombie. Lionel uses animal tranquilizers to keep his mother and her growing number of victims sedated in his basement when a greedy relative attempts to blackmail him, threatening to inform the authorities about his growing collection of corpses. The shit really hits the fan when the conniving bastard of an Uncle throws a house party and the zombies escape from the basement.

These zombies are unique because the infection originates from an animal, like rabies. The legend of the Sumatran rat monkey is that huge rats came scuttling off the slave ships and raped the tree monkeys. The rat monkeys are also used for black magic ceremonies, which means the natives were aware of how dangerous the bite from these creatures were. When Lionel tries to poison the zombies, they turn into roided out super zombies because the poison was an animal stimulant, so the infection must retain some of its animal properties. Unlike any zombie virus I've ever seen before, a pile of organs gains sentience and becomes a creature of its own. Also, like the zombies from Return of the Living Dead, destroying the brain doesn't seem to stop them either.

Zombie baby

Nudity: None. Two zombies are shown having sex, which results in the female zombie getting pregnant. The scenes are tame though.

His shirt was white before the carnage began

Gore: TONS. This is always listed as the goriest movie ever made. I don't know if there has ever been another movie to officially top this one but 300 liters of fake blood was used for the final scene alone. There are plenty of other scenes where blood (and other fluids) spray like geysers. This movie makes Troma films seem like family entertainment. There's even Looney Tunes-style gag where he's running in place because the floor is slick from all blood on it. That lawnmower scene is the reason I was got super excited when I saw a lawnmower in the first Dead Rising game. 

Awesome: to the MAX! Like his previous films, Braindead is filled with tons of gross-out humor like the scene where Lionel's mother eats Paquita's dog or when blood and pus squirts into someone's custard from an open wound. Some of the gags really test your gag reflex, but there's also some genuinely funny moments as well. Like when the priest beats the shit out of a couple zombies while declaring, "I kick ass for the lord!" or Lionel taking the zombie baby out to the park. There's a good blend of slapstick and gross humor to keep from putting people off entirely but still manages to be shocking every time you're looking at the screen. I love the way this movie ramps up, almost like a video game. There's even a final boss and everything! HIGHLY recommended for everyone to see at least once in their life. No words can describe how truly awesome this movie is, it really has to be seen to be believed.