Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bad Taste (1987)

There are many fans who seem ungrateful nowadays because they moan about the fact that Peter Jackson has found such great success with The Lord Of The Rings movies that it's taken him away from his splatterific, horror roots. While I love almost everything that the man has ever done, it's hard not to look back on his early movies and wish that, even just once, he would go back to doing something as energetic, manic and blood-soaked as he used to.

Bad Taste was the first feature film that Peter Jackson ever made. It took about four years from start to finish but you couldn't tell that from the end product. It may be rough around the edges but there was already plenty here to mark Jackson out as a considerable talent.

The plot is simple - a bunch of aliens have landed in a small New Zealand town and they've taken all of the locals and turned them into fast food (humans being the latest taste sensation with this set of extraterrestrials). The only people who become aware of, and could fix, the situation include The Boys AKA Derek (played by Jackson), Ozzy (Terry Potter), Barry (Pete O'Herne) and Frank (Mike Minett). They have weapons, they have the courage and, in the form of Derek, they have at least one deranged individual who also seems to be pretty indestructible.

I'm not going to harp on about this movie and make it out to be some perfect gem that every horror fan should immediately seek out because it's not a movie that most people are guaranteed to enjoy. However, I like to think that people who share my sense of humour will most definitely like this as much as I did. It's full of some great splatstick (to use the phrase that Jackson likes to use) moments, has a couple of memorable characters and plenty of fun lines throughout the script, which was written by Jackson with additional material from Ken Hammon and Tony Hiles.

The plot may be a standard mix of sci-fi and action but the gore effects (some superb and others amusingly crude) really push this into horror territory. Well, there aren't many non-horror viewers who will be entertained by aliens sharing a bowl of green chuck, a man who keeps placing bits of his damaged brain matter into his broken skull and some demented fun with a chainsaw. Mind you, everyone laughs at the unfortunate sheep (just watch and learn).

I will be in line to see The Hobbit movies when they are released over the next couple of years and I will also be looking forward to seeing what Jackson does with the second Tintin movie. I don't mind at all that such a talented and passionate man has been given plenty of money and a much bigger playground in which to film his visions. Having said that, I'd also rush to the cinema and gladly hand over my money for a follow up to Bad Taste.


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