Monday, January 11, 2010

Dead Alive (aka Braindead) (1992)

Fear 0/5
Gore 5/5 - but seriously, this one goes to 11
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 1/5

In 1992 I turned 21. Like most people in their early 20's my life was hopelessly confusing and frustrating. I was lonely despite myriad acquaintances, I was busy with numerous artistic projects and spent whatever spare time I had left from that working at a pizza shop and at the YWCA as a day care counselor, yet I was unfulfilled and longing for something I couldn't explain or even identify. And I was dead broke all of the time. In fact, looking back from the plush couch of my suburban life I'm a little surprised that I survived. I was sick all of the time which I now recognize as being a combination of self-induced insomnia and poor (non-existent) nutrition. By the end of the year I would have experienced more changes in my life than any other time before. It was also the year I embarked on an 8 week tour as a temporary guitarist for a band I sort of liked. That gig lasted til 2000.

My point in all that rambling is that I had no time for horror movies, or movies of any sort. None.

So I missed this one and did not see it until I lived with The Fucking Beard in 2000. And I felt like I had wasted my life not having seen it.

Make no mistake, this is not a good movie. It's a B movie by every possible definition. It's goofy, poorly acted, poorly scripted and cheap. And yet, it shines like a diamond thanks to the creative genius of Peter Jackson - you know, the slovenly dude behind the Lord of the Rings movies. Jackson managed to squeeze and milk every last ounce of workable entertainment from his limited budget and gave birth to a splatter classic, years after the splatter craze had died down.

Dead Alive is a zombie movie that takes it's cues from both Evil Dead and Return of the Living Dead. That is to say, it's more Three Stooges and Looney Tunes than George Romero. And by exploring what would happen if an anvil really did drop on a person (metaphorically speaking) it manages to be one of the goriest, splashiest bloodfests of all time.

Babies in blenders, sentient viscera chasing down victims, lawnmower as crowd control, heads being punched off, pus squirting into soup - you name it, Dead Alive has it. Fuck, it even has giant naked puppets and some crappy (read: awesome) claymation in it. Not once, but twice.
I like 'em gory, I like 'em excessive and I like them gross. Dead Alive manages to make me feel slightly queasy at times and that's no mean feat. I mean, really, once this film kicks in, it is relentless.

This movie rips it up. That's right. It "rips it up". It also "shreds" and is "rad". It's the Citizen Kane of splatter, the Rashomon of gorefests. (Insert additionally ridiculous comparisons here). End of story.

- Complaint Dept.

HorrorBlips: vote it up!


J. Astro said...

It's a bad-ass flick that I loved for many months, but upon repeated viewings, I found I couldn't handle the stupidity of the zombie-baby anymore. *sigh*

Jayson said...

Yes, indeed, Braindead is a classic, ever seen the 104 minute original cut? Jackson himself recut the U.S. unrated 97 minute version himself and prefers it to his original cut, but still the original cut still has a bit more gore.

Complaint Dept said...

Have not seen the original, but would like to. And yeah, the zombie baby is awful, but somehow it fits in with how stupid everything else is. I mean, really, this is a stupid, stupid movie.

Carl (ILHM) said...

it really did redefine the gore film, and the small touches like the claymation rat only add to the charm from a time before terrible computerized garbage