Dead Alive (1992)

AKA: Braindead
(Release Date: September 17, 1992 [Toronto Film Festival])
(USA Release Date: February 12, 1993)

It's Nasty, but Great!It's Nasty, but Great!It's Nasty, but Great!

It's disgusting! I love it!


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J.C. Mašek III... Angry Zombie!!!
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

Hell yes! Kick ass, you guys! Another schlocky Zombie Freak Fest! Dead Alive! Like Return of the Living Dead before it, you're slammed in the face with scary zombies and nasty gore with more tongue-in-cheek laughs than The Usual Gang of Idiots can throw at you! You thought Kill Bill was packed with Fake Blood? Kill Bill is Romper Room! You thought Dawn of the Dead had frights?Amateurs! You thought Bubba Ho-Tep had the old Ironic Humor down pat? Bubba Ho-Tep is The MacNeil-Lehrer Report! As the Lasic Surgeon said to the Blind Man... YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHIN' YET!

I find myself on a lot of lips lately!

BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!
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All that, and this all came from Peter Jackson! Yeah, that Peter Jackson! His screenplay, with Fran Walsh and Story Writer Stephen Sinclair might not amount to a whole lot beyond a New Zealand Friday Night Sci-Fri midnighter, but man, Jackson was no slouch back then, and the same care went in to the Entrails-Zombie that went into Gollum (albeit with a lower budget and a decade's less SFX advancements)!

Ever see a movie that's so bad it's funny? Okay, then, ever seen a movie that works its way into the so-bad-it's-funny Genre and still manages to be a good movie? Therein lies the self-aware farce of Braindead (AKA Dead Alive)! The comedy hits immediately like a Machete to the Skull. Oh, you don't want to laugh at a multiple dismemberment, but Jackson dares you not to!

In the deep reaches of the Pacific Islands a specimen collector faces off with mystical islanders who urge him to leave the native "Rat Monkey" on their island or bad things will transpire! Pootie-Tang bad! Well, Science-Boy doesn't make it off the Island, but the ugly, and poorly stop-motion animated Rat Monkey sure does! Enter the Mommy-Whipped wuss-bag named Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme), breaking with Mom's iron fist to take the cute little Gypsy Chick (Diana Pe˝alver as Paquita Maria Sanchez) on a date to the Zoo. Naturally Mum (Elizabeth Moody) is none-too-happy about the independence he's shown and creates a public spectacle worthy of some unholy love-child of Fred Sanford and Martha Wray, Denture Wearer!!! And at that point, New Zealand's favorite Rat Monkey delivers a poorly stop-motion animated bite into Mummy Cosgrove's arm.

Naturally the "Bad Things" have begun, as they tend to do in Zombie Movies, because Our Rat Monkey has delivered unto Mum a virus that changes the dead into the living on contact! Sound familiar? It should, but that's about the only familiar thing in this fright flick from far-flung! What follows is the vain attempts on Lionel's part to contain not only Mum, but every single Zombie she creates, all the while playing the public part of grieving son trying to move on amid jealous relatives, a girlfriend who keeps visiting and a rising (literally) body count.

For those of you getting nauseous after the first ten minutes, hey, it's schlock! Look no further than such classic moments as when the Martial Artist Catholic Priest bounds into an infested cemetery with the proclamation "I kick arse for the Lord!" Or Lionel's scream of "That's my Mother you're pissing on!" Or when sweet Paquita screams "Your mother ate my Dog!" Lionel's encouraging words back are "Not all of it."

But our boy isn't having as much fun as we're having watching him! After all, he's baby-sitting a gaggle of ghouls who... well, they're not dead exactly, they're just... sort of rotting. So he has to keep them tied to chairs while he feeds and cleans up after them and their evil offspring! Speaking of... remember the Zombie Birthing Sequence from Zombi 3, which was shat on to the screen later in the remake of Dawn of the Dead? Jackson gives it to us here in Spades! And from that moment, until the fateful party sequence where Lionel straps on a Lawn Mower and fights both Zombies and Nausea, you just can't stop laughing. The final sequence is a ripper!

But there are some downfalls. Compared to some of the more modern special effects these are pretty silly (which might be good). Also a sub-plot about the truth behind Mum's nastiness is more of a distraction than an enriching element. This is definitely not for the squeamish because there is more blood, dismemberment, and walking death in this film than in the entire Romero catalog, but brother, that's the fun in the funny! It's not The Lord of the Rings but it's not bad!

Amid the chaos the tricks of the trade that eventually made Peter Jackson an Oscar Winning director are all there. The camera plays and proficient cutting all work here to force the realization that all this goofy schlock is intentional. In short, this is more Tim Burton than Ed Wood, and it gets Three Stars out of Five! Strap-On Lawnmowers, quipping Catholics and sexed-up Undead Nurses amid a sea of blood and a monster made only of farting entrails? Why do I watch this stuff? Well, I guess it's still better than the Hack Job Jackson did on The Two Towers! Ahem... Um... see you in the next reel!

Dude, you have a little... um... here's a towel!
But click here for more reviews! Ew!


Dead Alive (1992) reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who alone is responsible for his views
and for the fact that he just shot Cowboy Gil and made a hole in him
THIShe just shot Cowboy Gil and made a hole in him THIS big and then slipped around on his guts for a while!!!big
and then slipped around on his guts for a while!!!
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Gollum, Gandalf, Frodo and... Lionel?

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