Illustration: Adeline Pericart
There are nights when you look through your DVD collection and none of your favourite films float your boat – what you need is some serious Trash – the black sheep of your collection; something so bad that makes you feel good. Warning: to appreciate these films booze is recommended. And so over the next couple of weeks the Film Ireland collection of filmaholics shed their dignity, hide their shame and open their bins to reveal their trashiest films in the latest installment of…
‘… Jackson delights in turning his viewer’s stomachs inside out with relentless blood-splattering, puke guzzling and gut spilling that is so over-the-top, groan out loud repulsive, it’s unwatchable … ’
More than a decade before Peter Jackson’s Oscar®-winning imagination brought Hobbits down off dusty bookshelves, it delivered flesh-eating aliens to a New Zealand town in goofball gore flick Bad Taste.
When an isolated New Zealand town gets invaded by aliens, who plan to sell human meat as fast food in Space, it’s down to the geeky scientist Derek (played by Jackson) and the mullet-sporting rednecks of the Alien Investigation Defence Service (spot the tactless acronym) to save the world.
The ultra low-budget cult classic, which Jackson wrote, produced, directed and starred in, is more slapstick comedy than horror, the lashings of graphic violence and gore played for laughs rather than shock.
Absurd dialogue, – ‘Suck my spinning steel shithead!’ – were printed on t-shirts after the film’s release.
Some of the most repulsive lines, – ‘Aren’t I lucky’, smiles an alien as he tucks into a bowl of steaming vomit, ‘I got a chunky bit’ – are nauseatingly unforgettable.
Made on a budget that wouldn’t have kept the cast of Lord of the Rings in soy lattes for a day, Bad Taste not only captures the murky imagination and home-grown Kiwi humour of a young Jackson but also his infatuation with filmmaking.
A 22-year-old Jackson shot his debut film on weekends over a period of four years virtually single-handed. He created all the makeup effects himself in his own home and ended up playing two of the cast himself when his amateur cast didn’t show up.
Not much in the way of plot, Jackson delights in turning his viewer’s stomachs inside out with relentless blood-splattering, puke guzzling and gut spilling that is so over-the-top, groan out loud repulsive, it’s unwatchable.
Bad Taste, similar to Jackson’s follow-up splatter flick Brain Dead works best when watched behind fingers with a group of like-minded mates and a few beers.
Davy finally got that Steps tune out of his head
In the opening credits of the film, we see someone get shot at close-range in the head followed by a close up of their oozing, pulsating brain matter splattered over rocks.
Soon after, we see another character bouncing his way down a jagged cliff face, snapping bones and losing half his brain along the way. After squashing a couple of innocent seagulls by his fall, he attempts to fix the loose flap of skull that has a habit of falling open to reveal his leaking brains. He spends the rest of the film scooping up others’ brains to replace his own over-spilling gray matter.
Bad Taste works because Jackson doesn¹t apologise for the shoestring budget but flaunts it, making the hammy acting and dodgy effects part of the gag.
The film is so bad it’s good and to watch Bad Taste, in all its stomach-churning glory, in the knowledge that the director went on to win several Academy Awards®, is the best gag of all.