Saturday, 28 April 2012

18/04/2012: Braindead (Dead Alive) [1992]

Most people call it the goriest film of all time, and I tend to agree, however Braindead is undoubtedly one of the funniest and most memorable horror splatter comedies of all time. But few have heard of this cult favourite, even though it comes from one of the most famous directors of the last 10 years, Peter Jackson.

That's right, for all of you who think that the name Peter Jackson is synonymous with The Lords of the Rings, King Kong and soon the Hobbit, the cream of the fantasy movie crop, Peter Jackson started out as an indie director of horror splatter comedy's in New Zealand. Braindead wasn't his first either, he also made Bad Taste, a horror movie about a race of aliens who comes to earth to harvest humans for their intergalactic restaurant, or something. But of course it is Peter Jackson's stake in the zombie genre that is everyone's cult favourite.

First lets get through the confusion on the title. Braindead is the original name of this movie in every country except the U.S., where it is called Dead Alive do to copyright naming issues. Now the version I watched was the unrated U.S. version unfortunately, but most of the few cuts from that version are all actually story related. As I though Braindead has a fairly decent story I was disappointed to read this. However, I assure you, the unrated U.S. version will not cut you out on the gore, and I will leave the comparison article on the links. I must say I must get my hands on a copy of Braindead though.

A lawnmower and 300 litres of fake blood later, the "Party's Over".
Braindead's plot I thought was pretty good, if a little crazy. A group of zoologists or something bring back a Sumatran Rat-Monkey from Skull Island (here is a nod to Jackson's favourite movie, King Kong, which he later re-makes) that goes on to infect the mother of Lionel Cosgrove. Lionel is very attached to his mother, waiting on her hand and foot, while trying to break out some independence with his love life, Paquita. However, as Lionels mother dies, but won't stay dead Lionel is quickly overwhelmed trying to keep an ever growing mess from getting out of control, which, is unfortunately inevitable.

Filmed in New Zealand, the movie has an realistic feel to it, not that of some Hollywood construct. The house itself is also quite neat, looking like an old mansion. The movies special effects are actually quite well done, and have their own style. When it comes to the shear insanity that Braindead becomes, no one can complain about the mixture of stop motion claymation covered in fake blood.

"I Kick Ass For The Lord!"
I find the thing to judge how good a horror comedy is by the number of memorable scenes and quotes. While the most famous scene from Braindead is of course, "Party's Over" followed by a large volume of blood and guts in the lawnmower massacre. Peter Jackson's favourite is when Lionel takes the baby to the park, which well, didn't make a lot of sense, but it was still a hilarious scene. My favourite however is definitely the graveyard scene with Father McGruder. Seeing a Priest yell "I Kick Ass For The Lord" and numerous other hilarious catch-phrases whilst back-flip kicking, and limb rending his way through as zombie attack is priceless.

Yes, in case you are wondering, Braindead's zombies are clearly zombies by definition. They are dead, they rot, and yet... they just won't stay down. Also, in my opinion, Braindead is the most gory horror movie ever made. It doesn't go much for medical accuracy or realism, but it had even my stomach churning a bit with the outrageous amounts of gore and certain other monstrosities. Also at 300 litres of blood used by the special effects team, it probably takes the cake.

Jing-Gai Eh!, I think that's what the hell they were saying, God now's how to spell it.
 Overall, Braindead has more than earned its reputation as the goriest movie ever made. It is also one of the best zombie movie and splatter horror comedies. It came to us from the mind of Peter Jackson, and for those of us who have seen Braindead, or Bad Taste, we know that behind the director of The Lord of the Rings lies a die hard horror fan.

Braindead IMDb
That article comparing the two versions

No comments:

Post a Comment