Movie of the Day – Dead Alive

To think, there was a time before The Hobbit, before King Kong and before The Lord of the Rings Trilogy when Peter Jackson wasn’t making this major blockbusters and employing half of New Zealand  he was actually making schlocky, over the top horror movies.  I mean I loved The Frighteners, like a lot, but it’s is amazing to see Peter Jackson’s earlier work, something a lot of people wouldn’t associate with his current body of work.  But for me, he will always be the guy who made a priest kick ass for the lord.  Today’s post is the ultra bloody affair, Dead Alive.

Dead Alive 1a

The village dweeb (Timothy Balme) is trying to maintain a budding romance with the sweet Paquita (Diana Penalver) while concealing the fact that his overbearing mum (Elizabeth Moody, in an amazing good-sport performance) is a flesh-eating zombie. (She owes her condition to a bite from a “Sumatran Rat Monkey” at the local zoo.) Complicating matters even further is Les, a greedy uncle (Ian Watkin), who suspects that his sister has died and is eager to occupy her elegantly furnished Victorian mansion. The climax is a housewarming party Les throws to celebrate his “inheritance;” what he really gets is his comeuppance, thanks to his sister and her similarly afflicted zombie pals, who burst out of their basement prison to turn the guests into appetizers. Our hero finally cuts a wide swath through the zombie party crashers with the help of a rotary blade lawn mower, leaving the house awash in blood and body parts in order to save his romance. ~ Tom Wiener, Rovi

I remember a few things from this movie that pretty much solidify my love of Jackson.  An ass kicking priest, over the top gore, and a splatterfest finale with a lawn mower.  This is just insanely devilish and wickedly fun to watch with a group of people.  The gore might be gross out but the way it is presented to the audience with just buckets of blood make the gore cartoonish to a degree unheard of.  Dead Alive is one of those movie that is a must see for fans of splatter movies and those looking for something outside the norm.

Dead Alive 1b

It’s the way that Jackson approaches this movie that makes it work so well.  It doesn’t once take itself seriously, but often finding something humorous in the subject matter.  A movie with flesh-eating zombies invading a dinner party, only to break flesh and spill massive amounts of blood, can only seem like there is nowhere to go from there is topped by an equally bloody affair when the hero comes to basically put the zombies through a meat grinder of body of parts and even more blood.  Lord I like to think that the entire budget was set aside for fake blood and limbs, cause there is an absurd amount in this movie.  The deaths are over the top and gory, like Jackson is just reveling in his twisted creations.

But my absolute favorite thing about this movie is surely Father McGruder, who kicks ass for the Lord.

Whether it is the over the top gore, the flesh-eating zombie dinner, or the entire premise of the movie, Dead Alive is certainly a treasure from Peter Jackson.  It is still head scratchingly confusing that Peter Jackson basically got his start making these sort of movies before he got the gig with the Lord of the Rings property.  I mean if you haven’t seen the movie, it is just insane to look at his progression in Hollywood.  Dead Alive does what it wants and does it with a grandiose display that makes it truly unforgettable.  I know not to fuck with priests who roam graveyards and will avoid most zoo exhibits that contain rats because of my inherit fear of getting bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey.  There is just too much to even mention in this movie without diminishing it’s shock value.  Yeah, it’s a bloody good time.

About Nick
I am just another blogger putting his thoughts into a website. My love is movies so most of my musings will be movie related. I work as an online marketer for an advertising company and when I am not earning a paycheck, I moonlight as a vigilante film blogger.

6 Responses to Movie of the Day – Dead Alive

  1. Victor De Leon says:

    Nice review. I LOVE this movie and Jackson here shows no restraint and pulls no punches. I miss this kind of stuff from him. “The Frighteners” is now on Netflix, too. Thanks!

    • Nick says:

      God I love The Frighteners. I remember seeing that in theaters when I was a wee kid and just was mortified, but entertained. Anything with Michael J. Fox is the shit.

  2. lilfed says:

    Nick, this internet randomness and its serendipitous way of interconnecting surprises me, & normally I wouldn’t bother writing over this latest example, but I’m in the mood to try on this occasion. I only just recently became a wordpress member, & it was mainly for the purpose to do what you’re doing now. The motivating factor in joining this site was to submit book reviews for hopeful inclusion on a particular movie site, pajiba, & that’s all I’ve done so far. But I love seeing the finished product in the professional-looking format this site allows, and want to start writing about other subjects.
    Anyway, I was only logging in this evening to review & edit my last submission, & I haven’t taken any time in checking out other people’s stuff. I impulsively clicked on the ‘movie’ topic about 15 minutes ago & this article popped right up. It is a wonderful tribute & you have done an excellent job all around!
    This movie blew my mind when I first saw it on video back in ’94 – the over-the-top outrageous gore and energetic performances are still fun to watch. I saw an even earlier Jackson vid called ‘Brain Damage’, I think, where he starred in it & had to keep his hand on his skull so his brains wouldn’t fall out, just a great low budget horror film.
    But I wanted to comment for these reasons, and to let you know that someone who wasn’t really looking for it did read and enjoy it, so maybe there’s hope for more of us, too.
    Tony in SC

  3. Ryan says:

    Words can’t describe my love for this movie. So amazing.

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