Friday, 8 March 2013

Horror Review: Dead Alive/Braindead (1992)

Poor Lionel. He lives with his mother and has just fallen in love. When his mother tries to destroy the relationship between Lionel and his new girlfriend, she ends up bitten by a rare monkey. Lionel's mother soon dies and, not long after, his house becomes zombie central.

The 90's, known more by Horror fans as a bleak time in the Horror genre as it became more about thrills and twists than scares and blood. But it wasn't all bad as there was still films being made to satisfy those who craved gore, which brings me to "Dead Alive".

Peter Jackson, a very sought after man in Hollywood these days. Like many people in the film industry he started in the Horror genre and what a start he made! With "Bad Taste" and "Meet The Feebles" he was fast becoming a cult director of the genre.

"Dead Alive" carries on the comedic, bloody and sick humor he was becoming known for at the time. I remember seeing his early films for the first time and thinking that he had a very Roger Corman vibe to his work, I don't know if he's a fan of Corman but you can definitely see an influence.

The movie is said to be the bloodiest of all time (measured in amount of film blood used during the production). 300 litres of fake blood was used in the final scene of the film and during the infamous lawnmower scene movie blood was pumped at five gallons per second. That's a whole lot of blood and that's only two scenes of the film.

The film is a true visual extravaganza, forget plot, forget great acting, this was all about how far can you push the boundaries with the content you have on screen. With a horrifying rat monkey, a baby zombie, zombies having sex, gratuitous violence, extreme gore, a super fighting ninja priest and so much more it's like watching a lost Video Nasty from the 80's

"Dead Alive" is crazy, visceral, over the top, quirky, violent, gory, silly and extreme. Honestly though it hasn't aged well but it's still not for the weak stomached. Peter Jackson, please return to the Horror genre!

If you want to see the "Dead Alive" trailer then just click on the video below:

Miscellaneous facts about the film:

The song played on the organ as the mourners wait to enter the church (prior to the embalming scene) is Sodomy from Peter Jackson's previous film "Meet The Feebles".

The movie was finished under budget with NZ$45,000 remaining. Peter Jackson used it to spend two days shooting the park scene with Lionel and the baby Selwyn. He has gone on to say that it is his favorite scene.

The rental in Sweden came with supplemental vomit bags.

On its initial release in its home turf of New Zealand, this movie earned more per screen than "Batman Returns".

There is not one cut from Peter Jackson's original screenplay.

The tarot cards in the film are from Aleister Crowley's Thoth deck, but two cards, the Star and the Prince of Cups, are different from the ones featured in the deck, and they were specially prepared for the film.

The Spanish title of the film ("Tu madre se ha comido a mi perro") literally translates to "Your mother ate my dog", a line said by Paquita (Spanish actress Diana Peñalver) in the film.

Peter Jackson, is a well-known aficionado of the original 1933 version of King Kong. In the beginning of "Braindead", the New Zealand Zoo official is stealing the rat monkey from Skull Island. That's Jackson's nod to Skull Island's more famous resident, King Kong. Jackson would 'return' to Skull Island for his 2005 remake of King Kong.

The name of the dog is Fernando, as a tribute to director Fernando Trueba, because it was at one of his films where Peter Jackson first saw Diana Peñalver.

Diana Peñalver's character is named after the grandmother of the actress, Paquita María Sánchez.

Shot in eleven weeks.

Lionel's symbol in the Tarot Card deck is a black-armored knight. When he first meets Paquita he tries to buy some Black Knight Licorice.

The Hungarian title means like "Cool!". In Hungary this word is made up by adding two words (Dead and Good) together.

Peter Jackson makes a cameo as the Undertaker's assistant.

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