Welcome, one and all, to another day and another movie. Today is a gross one. Peter Jackson is beloved by millions around the world these days as the director of epic box-office-smashing movies. Everyone loves him around the world (this is a scientific fact. I have the hard data in my sock drawer right now). But Mr. Jackson started out not as the regal, majestic director of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, believe it or not, but rather as a director of low-budget, super gore-fest horror comedies. He was famous in his hometown of New Zealand (admittedly, I think it might be a country) for these splatterific flicks, and today we’re going to watch the one that started it all, his first feature from 1987. It’s called Bad Taste, and it is pretty disgusting.
So, at the beginning, we have the disappearance of the entire town of Kaihoro, New Zealand. The government sends out a special agency to deal with the situation, the Astro Investigation and Defense Service. Yes, that spells AIDS. They investigate the town to find that people are still there, but that something is not right about them; mainly, their desire to attack and kill the AIDS agents. It becomes clear eventually that these villagers are not the real McCoy, but instead are aliens (GASP!) in human form. The aliens think that human beings just taste delicious, and that we would be great to send back home for snacks. Well, not if AIDS has anything to say about it! It becomes a battle-royale between the aliens and the special agents as the stakes get higher and higher. Will the entire world become a deep-fried alien snack? Or will New Zealand actually save us all? If likeliness is the deciding factor, lock your doors everyone!
You can really tell that this is a first effort film. I especially love the cast: everyone is either Jackson’s friend or Jackson himself. The shots are average, leaning towards good. Made for about $250,000, it is actually pretty impressive. He makes the best of what he has, and everyone seems to take the endeavor somewhat seriously, which adds to this impressive debut.
Oh, by the way, did I mention this movie is bloody? Well, THIS MOVIE IS VERY BLOODY! In typical spatter-comedy fashion, the gore borders on the absurd and there is enough blood here to fill up a few bathtubs. There are people being shot, cut, and exploded all over the place (even a sheep gets what for in a violent, explosive finale). What I like to keep track of in these types of movies are the kills. It is excellent to watch the inventive ways that people are sacrificed to the movie gods. You wouldn’t believe the ways people are killed here, and you also wouldn’t believe how many. Even today, this movie can hang with the big boys of blood and gore, which is amazing considering the sheer number of these films that have been made since 1987. If this is your first gory horror-comedy, you might want to shop around a bit first before you settle down with this feature.
If you like these types of movies, you’ll love this one. But even if you don’t like these types of movies, I still maintain that you will like it. The dialogue is sharp, way wittier than you would think. The music, which consists mainly of cheezy 80’s Dire Straits knock-offs, works well with the experience, and really throws you back to the year this was made. And it really is a fun movie that takes itself just seriously enough for you to get into it without losing all the laughs.
So enough flapping of the gums! Check it out! It’s fun to watch, at least once, and it’s a surprising diving-board for one of the world’s biggest directors. It’s short, sweet, and a real blast to watch. Have a good time with it, flaws and all. I give Bad Taste 7 exploding New Zealand sheep out of 10.
Tomorrow’s movie is up to you guys! If I get no more votes today on my month 1 poll, and it ends in a tie between the 90’s and the 00’s (the question was “what was your favorite decade for cinema?”), I will start on a week-long rampage with every single Planet of the Apes movies, starting with the original. But if somebody breaks the tie for the 90’s I will watch Johnny Mnemonic to start off 90’s Week, and if somebody breaks the tie for the 00’s I will watch Gladiator. The choice is up to you! Until tomorrow!