Monday, October 26, 2015


Intestines can really kill you.

Here's an all-time classic, the 1990s cult New Zealand B-movie made by nonetheless than possibly one of the biggest blockbuster directors in Hollywood nowadays!
When there's no more room in HELL, these reviews will walk the BLOG:

Movie: Braindead also known as Peter Jackson's Brain Dead or Dead Alive in its original American release 
Directed by Peter Jackson
Release date 1992
Genre Horror comedy/B-movie
Country New Zealand

Long before Oscar-winning Peter Jackson became famous for his epic Lord of the Rings films, did you know the man made a name for himself with B-Movies?

He started his career with a few horror comedy films, Bad Taste in 1987, our titular Braindead here in 1992 and The Frighteners in 1996. Braindead being his third film following Meet the Feebles in 1980.

Braindead was in fact one of the first productions he made through his very own production company WingNut Films, based in New Zealand.

Braindead is also known under the title Dead Alive in the US, due to some issues with a similarly named American film. It's what you would call a pure splatter horror.

Our movie begins with a clear reference to one of Peter Jackson's all-time favorite films, on Skull Island. An expedition in the 1950s was just able to get their hands on of the mythical "Sumatran Rat-Monkey", a legendary hybrid with dangerous supernatural proprieties. The crew was able to carry it back as best as possible, only losing a person to the creature. One guy gets bitten. To avoid to spread the dangerous plague-like disease it carries they forced to chop down his limbs...

Back in our present day, the creature is now in a New Zealand zoo. We met our main protagonist, Lionel Cosgrove (played by Timothy Balme). He's the very definition of a "mama's boy", he's still living with his very annoying old mother and he's afraid of her on a daily basis. Lionel falls in love with this girl named Paquita María Sánchez (Diana Peñalver). But his mother is not ready to see his son leaving her side. To take their minds off it, they go to visit the zoo. And suddenly the mother is bitten by our Sumatran Rat-Monkey!!

After the infection she gets sicks. She dies. And then she comes back to life! She starts killing and eating animals... and soon people! Now that he's mother's a zombie, Lionel locks her in the basement. When his date comes home he tries to keep things in control, but the mom escapes... and gets hit by a train! Which is perfect - now that people thinks she's dead they can have a funeral and bury the zombie mother for good. Lionel makes some trips to keep his zombie mother under sedatives, to be sure she stays underground. But some punks go to the cemetery that night. Mom escapes and causes some more deaths. Even the town priest Father McGruder is awoken by all of the commotion and goes to see what’s going on. This leads to quite possibly one of my all-time favorite scene in any horror movie ever...

Lionel finds all these deaths and injects everyone with tranquilizer to keep the situation under control.. well, at best as he can at the very least. His uncle come to visit and finds these corpses Lionel's been hiding. Another accident ensues. He tries to bury everybody but he accidentally inject them with adrenaline!! Now the zombies are bursting from the ground! We have a full on zombie outbreak in our hands!

Lionel has to fight hordes and hordes of zombies! Re-animated intestines and spinal cords! Severed heads! Disembodied legs! The whole house is set on fire! Did he kill all these zombies for good?

But wait, his mom once more from the dead, now as this giant gruesome gory monsters with twisted limbs and distorted proportions! She tries to eat Lionel and Paquita on the edge of the rooftop! But Lionel is no longer afraid of his dominating mother. Time to put mama to sleep once and for good!

Braindead is one giant splatter fest! Easily one of the bloodiest films ever made!

The whole film culminates with this fantastic sequence with Lionel facing the zombie horde with a lawmower in all of its bloody glory beauty. Tearing zombie limbs after zombie limbs. In fact they used about 399 liters (!!!) of fake blood for that scene alone!

All things considered, this film was made on a pretty small modest budget for this type of film.

It's considered a horror comedy classic for a reason.

The first scene shot was the entire Skull Island something, something Peter Jackson really wanted to put in his film no matter what, his own little tribute to a classic he had a lot of fondness for. While he kept the scenes at the park for the remaining budget, which incidentally enough turned out to be some of the funniest scenes of the film and his favorite's.

Braindead stars mostly a bunch of unknown actors, Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody and Ian Watkin to name a few.

Being one of his first and biggest films following his debut, after these first few rough films (each since then cult films on their own) Peter Jackson started sending various scripts to various film productions. At the time one of his biggest attempts was a sequel to A Nightmare on Elm Street, and although that never made it into film some ideas from this scrapped project along elements from a proposed zombie film would be reworked into Braindead.

The Rat-Monkey, now an iconic horror creature, was heavily inspired from the fictional "Giant Rat of Sumatra" from Arthur Conan Doyle's "Adventure of the Sussex Vampire".

This iconic Rat-Monkey along the other terrifying and hilarious elements of Braindead makes it one of the best horror comedy films out there. The film has a lot of gratuitous violence and gore. The fighting ninja priest is such a fantastic hilarious memorable character. And let's mention again the fantastic over-the-top lawnmower scene!

Speaking of the film itself, there's several different cuts of the film you might have encountered. As it is often the case with most of these 80s horror type of films.

There's the original 103-minute full cut of the film.

Due to heavy censoring in some parts of Europe, there's also the German 94-minute cut of the film which heavily edits out most of the violence, which is the version a lot of people are familiar with in countries that banned the original film.

There's also the most widely known R-Rated "Dead Alive" US cut which actually runs for only mere 85 minutes. It kept most of the gore edited out as well.

Finally there's also a more recent 97-minute American cut which is Peter Jackson's favorite since he had the opportunity to add some polish to his original version of the film, considered to be the final cut despite the shortest running time.

There's also a few minor European cuts where some distributors had to cut down some of the violence such as the popular Italian cut of the film.

Braindead is easily one of the goriest films ever made. It's really hard to dislike anything from this film really, aside if you feel too squirmish to sit through it.

It has a lot of gratuitous violence, lots of gore and even nudity. It's cheesy fun. The film has some badly written dialogues, although some great one liners save it. And the fantastic effects more than make up for any of its downsides.

It's a film for splatter fans by a longtime fan of the tradition of this gore cinema genre:

The music composed by Peter Dasent for the film is fun and appropriate for the tone of the film.

The film ran into some legal issues after its releases since the picture contains some actual shots of real tombstones. The families took some lawsuit into their hands, but it only helped make this film more well-known due to the controversy. *No real dead people came back to life during the filming*

Overall, Braindead is the perfect film for this season!

It's a splatter fest, gory, bloody and over-the-top. Such a fun creative horror film! It's ridiculous and over-the-top, a really fun B-Movie from noneother than acclaimed director Peter Jackson!

At the time of its release the film was a big failure. Believe it or not, it didn't get much favorable reception. Much of its claim to fame came with the release of the Lord of the Rings which brought some interest brought to Peter Jackson's early career. People finally consider it nowadays a cult movie, but it was a lot more mixed back then. I for one always consider it a very good and fun gory horror film. With some great action scenes, great humor and some particularly impressive gore effects and makeup. They truly made the best of what they could achieve. It's a fun and unique entry in the genre.

And I can't Highly Recommend this movie enough! A Must Watch!

The film was a big influence behind Edgar Wright's 2004 zombie film Shaun of the Dead. And Peter Jackson's own 2005 King Kong paid some little references to its iconic Rat-Monkey.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Necronomicons!

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