Let’s travel back to the 90s, before Lord of the Rings, before Lovely Bones, before The Hobbit, there was a gory and brutal masterpiece. That movie was Dead Alive (or Braindead, if you prefer).
A young man’s mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.
There’s no way to describe this movie without you just sitting down and watching it. This is the most hilarious and over-the-top movie that I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. I know that the Lord of the Rings films are what really got Jackson the huge amount of name recognition that he has now, but frankly, this is my favourite Peter Jackson movie. This, and The Frighteners, but that’s a different review. So, let’s talk about why this movie is so great.
First off, gorehounds, this is a must-see for you. This movie used a grand total of 300 liters of blood to make this 85 minute long movie (for you doing the math, that works out to nearly 4 liters of blood per minute). It’s so brutally bloody, and over the top, that it really doesn’t have the capacity to be anything other than hilarious. The creature effects, and gore effects are really phenomenal, and just stink of the 90s. There is a giant monster fight at the end that needs to be seen, and really just can’t be described.
We also have an insanely likable protagonist in Lionel, played by a Kiwi actor that I mistook for Sharlto Copely, but who is in fact called Timothy Balme. He is so goofy and lovable, it makes him really easy to route for. Among the other notable performances, we have to talk about the kung-fu preacher, Father McGruder, played by Stuart Devenie who “kicks ass for the lord” and takes names, until he is brutally murdered and turned to a zombie.
There really is a little bit of everything in this one, from zombie sex, to zombie babies, to gross-out body-horror gags, and so so much more. This is just such a phenomenal film, with a hugely deserved cult following. The story is pretty silly if you really look at it, but frankly, it’s not about the story. This one is all about the blood, guts, and hilariously fun tone this movie sets up.
Get ready to feel pretty squeamish though, the body-horror parts are pretty gag-worthy and gross but you really must just stomach it and get through this movie. Easily more iconic than any merry band of Dwarves and Hobbits. At least in my brain. It may not be scary, but god damn is it ever a blast of a movie!
Watch this. Right now.
FINAL GRADE: A+