Ian McKellen once said that if he had seen Bad Taste instead of Heavenly Creatures, he wouldn’t have starred in Lord Of The Rings. In fact, it is hard to imagine that the same director was responsible for both. Fans are lucky that Peter Jackson is so versatile. Else Frodo would have stumbled around with a sledgehammer lodged in his head. And a severed arm still attached to it.
Bad Taste is the start of three films that could be called Jackson’s ‘Bad Taste’ trilogy, the other two being the grotesque Muppets-parody Meet The Feebles and screwy zombie comedy Braindead (Dead/Alive). These are also the first three films that Weta Workshop cut its teeth on. They are a part of cinematic history. But that doesn’t matter, because Bad Taste never feels like a movie that cares what you think of it. It doesn’t even try to gross the audience out as much as possible, though it manages this quite well anyway. Bad Taste just does what it wants because it wants to.
Was Bad Taste named because they just couldn’t think of a better title? Perhaps. On the one hand it does not explain anything about the movie – its shambling zombie-like antagonists, the bizarre alien that graces many of the film’s posters or the monster-fighting commandos who look less like a elite force than people hired in a dodgy pub. On the other it tells you exactly what to expect…
Yes, severed limbs, exploding heads, alien vomit and a lead who keeps scooping bits of brains into his own head (“Dereks don’t run!”) – these are some of the dubious attractions in Jackson’s debut film. Made on a super-low budget, the effects are both brilliant and ridiculous. The acting manages to fall over the top, claw up the other side and fall over the top again. You also wonder if those actors were ever paid or just did this for laughs. And the humor is so droll and dry that you can easily miss how practically every second quote is some sort of one-liner or punchline. Bad Taste starts with clear insanity, slowly devolving into outright madness. It is exactly what happens when a film has confidence, direction and doesn’t care who it impresses. And you’ll be cheering all the way.
Cinophile is a weekly feature showcasing films that are strange, brilliant, bizarre and explains why we love the movies.
Last Updated: June 3, 2013