Thursday, May 11, 2006

Bad Taste

Title: Bad Taste (1987)
Dir: Peter Jackson
Rating: *** out of 5 stars

I've finally completed watching the Peter Jackson horror necessities, albeit in reverse chronological order (The Frighteners -> Dead Alive -> Meet the Feebles -> Bad Taste).

It's not as gory as Dead Alive and not as funny as Feebles, but Bad Taste is nevertheless a must-see for fans of the genre. This is the Jacksonian equivalent of Evil Dead, so expect grainy 16mm and shoestring-budget FX (which PJ created himself). Being his first film, it is an impressive achievement and consequently has become the most popular of his splatter trilogy.

The movie concerns 4 government agents from the Astro Investigation and Defense Service ("We have got to change that name!") who are sent into a quiet New Zealand town to investigate and control an alien invasion. They uncover a race of ETs who are harvesting humans for fast food meat on their home planet. The men must rescue the town's one surviving human - a tax collector - and subvert the aliens' fiendish plot.

For anyone not accustomed to this type of movie, you will have a permanent "wtf?" plastered on your face. In which case, don't bother renting this one. But if you know what you're getting into because you love cheesy, gory, hilarious horror movies, then what the hell are you waiting for?!

For Bad Taste, or any film like it, I don't want to give the impression that these are bad movies. I have the utmost respect for their writer/directors because they know how to draw the line between a brilliant cult film and a bad b-movie. Cheesy humor and outrageous gore do not always degrade the quality of a film. In the case of Bad Taste, they enhance it. Although, I do think the film occasionally gets out of hand while trying to gross out the viewer. For instance, one scene involves drinking vomit, which is a tad unecessary. I guess I prefer the blood and guts, myself.

For having a meager budget and a crew of amateurs, Jackson pulled the movie together quite well. Interesting trivia factoid: Jackson made all the alien masks himself in his mother's kitchen.

Seriously, if you don't have an open mind to these films, stay away. Bad Taste is bloody, vulgar, silly, and generally weird as hell. Those with weak stomachs and closed minds have been warned. As for the rest of you, I don't even have to tell you that this is a must-see classic.