Bad Taste (1987)

It took Peter Jackson and his friends four years to make this film.

During that time, one of his cast got married and dropped out of the film – only to get divorced and return.  Another one died.

They never really had a script, just worked out a few bits of business during the week and then filmed them on the weekend.

And then, if the rest wasn’t already complicated enough, they often couldn’t film because two of his actors had soccer games.

I think it is safe to say this should have been a recipe for disaster.  However, it didn’t quite work out that way.

Now, of course, it is hard to talk about Peter Jackson without reference to his movie version of The Lord of the Rings.  But it was this monstrous, homemade, remarkably well-named, slap-in-the-face of a movie that opened the doors for his future career in Hollywood.

The plot – such as it is – involves aliens coming to earth to harvest us for their “slow food” chain.  They’ve butchered an entire New Zealand town and are about to head back home to test their new product on the Galactic market – and to prepare their big harvest of us.

However, little do they realize that a crack team of inept, blundering government agents – “The Boys” – are there to stop them – or at least give it a bally good try, even if it means eating “chuck”.

The whole movie exists as an excuse for Peter Jackson to show off a lot of insanely silly gross out effects, but, perhaps because they are so exaggerated and obviously effects, the end result is a sort of endearing silliness about the whole project.  Perhaps its finest moment comes when the alien spaceship takes off and it isn’t quite the sleek, stylish and very alien machine we expect.

Jackson plays a double part here, as one of the senior aliens, instantly recognizable in his signature beard, and as the nerdy (and totally unrecognizable) Derek.  This means that he gets to do some of the most utterly gross sequences, from calmly eating the brains out of the ruined head of one of his alien pals, to the final sequence, when Derek gets to take out the alien leader in the silliest way imaginable.

Okay, I enjoyed it.  Just don’t watch it if you’re one of those nitpickers who spend all their time finding minute problems with the movies they watch.

You won’t enjoy it all.

Not unless you can turn off your brain.


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