Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dead-Alive: Peter Jackson's Zombie Movie

Along with Meet the Feebles (1990), 1992's Dead Alive (also known as Braindead) proves that Peter Jackson has a twisted sense of humor, and we can all be relieved that he didn't direct The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy as some kind of ghastly parody. 

In Dead Alive, the zombie plague is transmitted by “Sumatran Rat-Monkeys”; a zoo specimen in New Zealand bites Lionel's (Timothy Balme) domineering mother (Elizabeth Moody), who infects others, starting a chain of walking corpses.  Lionel tries desperately to keep his romantic interest Paquita (Diana Peñalver) and his small town neighbors from finding out by confining the zombies to his mother's house.  At first he succeeds, but in the end the film turns into a gore fest in which Lionel fights zombies by the hundreds, at one point with a lawnmower strapped to his chest. 

The actors are pretty cheesy, but this is in keeping with Dead Alive's aesthetic theme.  There’s an engaging 1950’s feel that adds a lot to the film. Dead Alive is reminiscent of The Evil Dead movies in that it's full of over the top slapstick humor and creative bloodiness.  Unique and entertaining, it's definitely worth checking out.     

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