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  Bad Taste The Bastards Have Landed
Year: 1987
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Terry Potter, Pete O'Herne, Craig Smith, Mike Minett, Peter Jackson, Doug Wren, Dean Lawrie, Peter Vere-Jones
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Action, Trash, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: This looks like a quiet New Zealand coastal town, and it is, but at the moment it's mostly quiet because the residents are nowhere to be seen. A group from the Alien Invasion Defence Service have descended upon the area, and Barry (Pete O'Herne) is one of their number, scouting around for signs of life, extraterrestrial or otherwise. He notices that he is being followed by a shambling figure wearing a blue shirt and grasping an axe, and starts to warn him off, but the man keeps on approaching, making it clear that he means to plant the blade in Barry's head...

In the annals of low budget horror history, you have your Blair Witch Project and your Carnival of Souls, demonstrating great innovation on a tiny amount of cash, but you also have The Evil Dead, and the film it inspired, Bad Taste, both ninety minutes of non stop gore and dubious humour. Bad Taste was the funnier of the two, and introduced Kiwi filmmaker Peter Jackson to the world, long before he helmed one of the most successful trilogies of movies ever made in The Lord of The Rings. Shot over the period of four years at weekends, this was an example where a lot of determination and plenty of imagination can get you.

Of course, that imagination was put to the service of conjuring up the most disgusting gags that Jackson could think of, and in many cases he was simply ordering his friends to act out the plotlines he had dreamed up during the week because legend has it there was no script ever written for this. That makes it all the more remarkable that he managed to come up with a coherent story, not that it was particularly taxing, but it does all hang together, though largely it's setpeice after setpiece, off colour gag after off colour gag. Jackson himself took two roles, most memorably as Derek, the Harry Potter lookalike before Harry Potter was even a lightbulb appearing above J.K. Rowling's head.

We're in alien invasion territory again, but at the beginning all we know is that the town is overrun with zombies, probably because Jackson didn't know the aliens were going to show up later either when he started filming. The gore effects as our heroes mow down the baddies are impressive for being shown in broad daylight, including a zombie with half his head blown off - unlike many low budget shockers, Bad Taste had such confidence in its effects that it showed them off to their best advantage: basically it gave you a good look at those limbs flying and brains oozing. Derek is one of those whose brains ooze after he falls off a cliff and bashes his head, but he sticks what has fallen out back in and gets back to work.

Work being killing aliens, who it turns out are from an intergalactic fast food franchise and are planning to use us humans as their next menu. Considering that the aliens' favourite tipple is a bowl of sick, then you can only worry for the state of the diet on other planets, but it's all part of the fun, and if you have a strong stomach there's plenty to enjoy here with its sense of humour hovering between inappropriately mundane reactions and the outlandish extremes of the way events resolve themselves. It's the creativity on display that really wins you over, and you're willing to forgive the shoddier aspects, and the fact that, for example, there are no women ever seen, when the entertainment value is as high as it is. All right, it does grow repetitive once it turns into an homage to Arnold Schwarzenegger movies cast with hairy New Zealanders, but there's a ramshackle charm to this. Music by Michelle Scullion and Jay Snowfield.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Peter Jackson  (1961 - )

Hugely talented New Zealand director best known today for his Lord of the Rings adaptations. Started out making inventive, entertaining gore comedies like Bad Taste and Braindead, while his adult Muppet-spoof Meet the Feebles was a true one-off. Jackson's powerful murder drama Heavenly Creatures was his breakthrough as a more 'serious' filmmaker, and if horror comedy The Frighteners was a bit of a disappoinment, then his epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy - Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King were often breathtaking interpretations of Tolkien's books. 2005's blockbuster King Kong saw Jackson finally realise his dream of updating his all-time favourite film, but literary adaptation The Lovely Bones won him little respect. In 2012 he returned to Middle Earth with the three-part epic The Hobbit and in 2018 directed acclaimed WWI doc They Shall Not Grow Old.

 
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