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4.7 out of 5 stars120
4.7 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Currently Peter Jackson is reknowned for his fantasy movies and exceptional cult remakes. But once upon a time, he was better known for splatter-gore horror movies, like the "Dead Alive," a bizarrely hilarious movie full of zombies, rat-monkeys and messy death. Glorious!

Lionel (Timothy Balme) is a downtrodden young man, who has the unpleasant honor of caring for his nasty mum (Elizabeth Moody). Then he meets store clerk Paquita (Diana Peñalver), and the two young people fall in love. Unfortunately, during a date to the zoo, his mom follows them so she can wreck his date.

She succeeds, sort of -- she gets bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey from Skull Island (the same one where Kong came from?) and dies. But poor Lionel can't get off that easily -- because of the bite, his mom comes back to life as a flesh-eating zombie. Soon zombies are running amok, and Lionel and Paquita must find a way to get rid of them. Can true love triumph over the undead?

Be forewarned: this movie is gross. Very disgusting. Lots of fluids and body parts, and zombies eating people in detail. And the whole movie climaxes with hundreds of zombies crashing a party, and a spectacularly gory sequence involving a, uh, lawnmower and chainsaw.

But gore alone doesn't make a movie a cult hit -- any idiot can make a zombie movie. This one is special because of Jackson's twisted sense of humor; "Shaun of the Dead" definitely owes a stylistic debt to him. How many movies do you see where a character tries to clean up the blood after Zombie Mom has lunch?

Jackson sprinkles his 1950s setting with all sorts of weird characters -- a kung-fu reverend and a Nazi vet among them. He takes every weird zombie scenario and runs with it, whether it's Lionel babysitting a hyper zombie baby or the Reverend McGruder announcing, "I kick ass for the Lord!" or "Stand back boy! This calls for some divine intervention!"

But the movie is also notable for a very touching love story, between Lionel and Paquita -- and like any good hero, Lionel has to overcome obstacles (the zombies and Mum) before they can live happily ever after. Both actors do very solid jobs, and Balme really makes us like his downtrodden mama's boy, especially once Lionel picks up that lawnmower.

"Dead Alive" is a delightfully stomach-turning ride through a town full of zombies, body parts, and those ugly little buggers from Skull Island. Although it's not for the faint of stomach.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 20 August 2011
Peter Jackson at his goriest!!!
Not only the plot, which is a sort of mixture between Psycho, The Evil Dead and Re-Animator, is quite convincing and a rather nice persiflage of the named classics, but also the acting is good considering the type of film it is.
You should always go for the uncut version, otherwise you will miss some of the funniest scenes where the splatter effects are really that overexaggerated you will have a tummy ache for laughing so hard.
A great film, not only for fans of splatter films.
This might as well be the greatest splatter film ever made.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2003
I can only sum this dvd up in 1 word - MENTAL!! This has got to be the wackiest, no holds barred Gorefest i have ever seen. If you have seen any other Peter Jackson's early stuff (Bad taste for example) and thought it was pushing the boundaries of sick, this takes it to a whole new Level! Some of the most hilariously bizarre and sickest Scenes i have ever seen on dvd are contained in this film - Zombie baby (you'll understand when u see it!!) and kung fu priest "I kick ass for the Lord!!" are definitely something that you'll want to see over and over - Just for the sheer madness of it!
Better than bad taste, this film will not win any awards for great acting or script, but this is pure novelty - Really really funny, I know some comedy films these days are not funny but this is unbelievable,
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Braindead is quite simply the most insane,gore depraved film of all time,blood,intestines,guts,hearts and more flood the screen in technicolour glory,peter jackson challenged the decency system in bad taste,but in braindead the insanity factor was raised beyond what could be deemed as acceptable,but who wants a boring horror anyway,there is so much going on here that you would almost need to watch it in slow motion.

Thats not to say that the plot is overbearing,it isnt!There is a monkey that is captured and placed in zoo but the monkey is infected with a disease that kills and then brings you back to life as a zombie,some infection,wouldnt you agree?,and when the main characters mother is bitten only death awaits and the excessive blood which is so overblown that you cant help but laugh starts to follow,you know that a cult classic has been born,this isnt a film that you can watch with film fans who like a plot to be detailed and a beginning,middle and end,this is manic work at its best,hail hail braindead.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2006
I think you have to look a little further past the 'cringe inducing acting' to the quality of the storytelling here - not to mention some of the most hilarious sight gags ever committed to celluloid. Yes it's horribly bad taste from start to finish but it's a minor work of art, way more accomplished than Bad Taste and Jackson's subversive take on The Muppets 'Meet The Feebles'. Stomach the gore, swallow the bad acting on show and lap up a movie directed with true love and devotion. Just check your custard for lumps.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2007
They've taken every Zombie effect and used it and more to make this laugh a minute gore fest. Its not scary in anyway, I generally avoid Horror films but this was excellent.

The effects are classic B movie, but thats its charm, although 'charm'is not a word i'd normally use when describing a film with this much blood. Its played totally straight by the actors who must have been creasing up during the filming with every scene jam packed with a Zombie effect.

Buy it for a good laugh, its not scary but Very gorey so make sure your not too squeamish.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2002
Peter Jacksons follow up to debut Bad Taste loses none of the gore of its predecessor and shows us a taste of the humour to come in The Frighteners. For those interested in Jacksons current Lord of the Rings trilogy this is a good reference point to see just how far Richard Taylor's effects have come. The effects in this budget film are particularly good considering its limited finances, and you can see the genius of Taylor making its mark. Overall for its comic gore brilliance in the vein of The Evil dead trilogy, and more recently Dog Soldiers, I can only highly recommend this title. The scene with the demon baby in the park is one of the funniest film moments I've seen yet.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2006
This film is very funny, and equally gory. Essentially it follows the story of Lionel, a young man dominated by his mother, who, when she contracts an alien disease, dies and becomes a zombie. The deasease quickly spreads, and Lionel begins to attempt to keep an ever-expanding family of zombies entertained in the cellar of his rambling mansion, whilst at the same time trying to date a beautiful Spanish girl in his village without raising any suspicions of his dark secret.

There are some truly balkworthy scenes here; the mother's ear slipping off and dropping into her custard for example being one of the first of an escalating series of gross comedy gore situations. The ingenious, bloody and imaginitive ways in which the increasing number of zombies die is testament to the skill and humour of the model-makers (no CGI here!)as well as the producers.

Despite the film being populated by a whole range of bizarre characters (living and undead)the film has both a romantic storyline and a family-feud story to provide a pretty solid and convincing backdrop to what essentially becomes a special-effects bloodbath.

Absolutely fantastic.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2006
Saw this film and I just had a right old laugh all the way through...
I didn't see the film as scary, but it isn't for the faint hearted...
It could go down as a classic B-Movie, fantastic early film from PJ gonna cherish this purchase along with LOTR
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2006
another one of the jackson early efforts, and one that had me squirming for the last 20 minutes of first viewing as hero lionel decides to clean up, using a lawnmower.
again it's a slow starter as jackson sets the mood with lionel's overbearing mother being bitten by a sumatran rat monkey while trying to stop a lover's tryst. after that the action gets turned up a notch as things start to go wrong as lionel realises all is not well with mum - in fact she's been...resurrected. still likes dogs, but can't eat a whole one (ahem).
highlights? obvious ones like the breakfast scene, the trip to the park (with "hyperactive" child) and the various inventive ways in which zombies are dealt with (including the aforementioned lawnmower), but keep an eye out for the hand in the food processor's final gesture. what they call a last act of defiance, i guess...
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The Frighteners [DVD] [1997]
The Frighteners [DVD] [1997] by Michael J. Fox (DVD - 2000)

Bad Taste [1989] [DVD]
Bad Taste [1989] [DVD] by Peter O'Herne (DVD - 2002)


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