They Come To Bits Easy...
I have also recently stumbled (in my Wicked Wide Web wanderings) upon a unique fellow of similar interests, whom I am proud to now call my scribbling partner (haha - Slayer). His name is Feind (who is also the co author/owner of this site) and if you haven't met him yet, make a point of checking out his more than impressive body of written work. Anyhows, enough about my love interests (Slayer!) and other assorted crap that may place you in Zzzz-land and onwards with the subject at hand.
As a much younger lad I didn't watch too many movies, my interest lay mainly in the mass consumption of books that were usually horror oriented. Looking back, there were only a handful of movies that picked me up without warning and tossed me deep into the dark side without so much as an apology. There are specifically three titles that spring to mind:
FINALLY THIS WAS THE REAL THING!
It wasn't a horrendously overpriced bootleg or even a film stated as being uncensored that was in fact cut to shreds! I was quickly transported into a state of Euphoria! A gore hound's state of absolute bliss, I was hooked like a gasping aquatic vertebrate, and forevermore spouting quotes that left many uneducated types thinking, “What the Fuck!”
It was primarily this movie that molded and shaped me as a horror fan and I will openly admit that I still tend to lean towards the comical side of horror with a penchant for OTT (that’s Over The Top) special effects.
Then, of course, I could have also used, “Derek's gone apeshit” or “Exquisite bouquet Robert”, you might need to think upon that one! I will try my damnedest to do this ninety-one minute chunk of unforgettable splatter cinema justice as I continue to waffle and prattle on in a diatribe that is dedicated to the worship of Peter Jackson's first full length movie.
Originally shot as a short film called Roast of the Day (following only Giles Copeland's adventures) Bad Taste was the first of many films that helped to jumpstart a now celebrated director's illustrious career. Of course, when many hear the name Peter Jackson it’s Lord of the Rings, or even King Kong that springs to mind. This, however, is the movie that I preach about, usually until someone tells me rudely to: Shut it fanboy!
Taking four years to make and costing only as much as storage shed in the Hollywood Hills it was by no means a blockbuster and has yet to even see a release on Blu-ray ( I'm starting a petition btw).
I have the Anchor Bay 2001 DVD release (plus an original uncut 'alternate' VHS release, of course, I'm such a fanboy!) The main title menu upon this release is enough to get even the most jaded of horror fan excited as it showcases only one of the film's many unforgettable scenes.
Bad Taste follows the trials and tribulations of an inept Black Ops outfit, known as the boys, in their quest to rid the small seaside town of Kaihoro (the English translation means: eat hungrily, it'll all make sense later!) by a marauding band of invaders, aliens, who are intent on making the homo sapien species of planet earth the next,”taste sensation to sweep the galaxy!”
I've thought long and hard on this and I've come to the conclusion that this movie could actually be called a science fiction film, albeit apart from the copious use of special effects to the point of saturation. Although with that in mind I would hasten to say that fans of the better known franchises inside of the genre (you know the ones!) might not appreciate that placement.
Another movie dealing with the consumption of human flesh, surprisingly not a cannibal or a zombie film, namely Soilent Green (sorry did I just spoil it?) is placed in that same genre, science fiction, should it not be in horror also? I digress.
Remember young grasshopper… Spoiler free
This film's director, Peter Jackson, shows off his acting chops also by playing both the film's main role, Derek, and Robert the incompetent but determined lead alien second to only Lord Crumb himself! Brilliant in both roles his performance is particularly memorable as Derek, who throughout the movie manages to exhibit a certain jaded and unhealthy zest in his alien eradication duties. In one scene he leans over to survey his alien captor while proudly displaying a blade he comments,” This’ll sure fuck a nasty hole in yer marrow mate!”
The following is a classic scene in which Derek gleefully howls with delight. Other characters keep the film flowing nicely which is quite the outstanding feat, as keep in mind, it took four years to complete. Other memorable characters include Oz, who is obsessed with firepower and combat and will do just about anything to be able to use the team's secret weapon. Barry, a bumbling operative who truly believes he is in control of his surroundings. Frank, who likes to do everything by the book and fancies himself a bloody farmer in disguise. Giles, an unsuspecting charity fund (B.R.E.A.D) collector, who unsuspectingly seems to be caught up in the middle of a strange situation.
Another of my favorite scenes features an activity you might be lucky (or certainly brave) enough to have witnessed in a South American adult feature (which tend to be slightly more jaded than the more traditional North American features), I won't give it away but I will quote: “Ummm...did you have to drink some Chuck?”
With too many scenes to mention this film is a riot from the credits to the finale, which is something quite spectacular. Enlisting the aid of a chainsaw Derek...Beware young grasshopper you are treading in shallow waters ...and something you are not likely to see again anytime soon. The ending is left wide open for a ground breaking sequel, which as yet hasn't surfaced or has even been rumored, why, when there are already several remakes of the same movie (TCM for example) I will never understand.
As a fan I would only wish that an over inflated budget wouldn't destroy the integrity, feel and atmosphere of the original film. Please no casting of Matt Damon or Brad Pitt, this is a low budget film and a large part of its charm is that you know it to be so with an understanding that it really can't be taken seriously either.
Peter Jackson went on to direct Brain Dead, aka Dead Alive, Meet the Feebles and The Frighteners among others (guesses...anyone?), each of these are guilty of being filled to the point of bursting with jaw dropping special effects, dark humor and in the case of Meet the Feebles an overbearing aura of something that just isn't right a film I certainly think of as being a guilty pleasure!
In closing if you have yet to see Bad Taste give it a peek, but have an open mind, a patience for accents and more importantly a willingness to laugh at scenarios bordering on the absurd. You may find yourself in the credits of the film and still wondering why Derek is the way he is, in his own words, “Derek's don't run.” To which Barry replies, “Well. Get up a tree or something.”
I, for one, am sure glad he didn't!