It’s that time again, where I watch the entire filmography of the director of the film I’ve been assigned for Cinema 52. Unlike Tony Scott or Robert Zemeckis, however, the director of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring can’t seem to ever release just one cut of his films. So, not only am I cramming twelve movies into one exhausting weekend, but specifically the longest available version of each film. That’s right, it’s not just the complete Peter Jackson… it’s COMPLETER JACKSON. Let’s do this.
BAD TASTE (1987)
IS THIS A PAINFULLY LONG PETER? While there’s supposedly a 98-minute cut you can see in Belgium, the longest version available in the States clocks in at a comfortably sane 91 minutes.
Some murderous extraterrestrial hooligans in blue shirts are running amok in New Zealand, so a shadowy government agency dispatches The Boys, a team of dudes with science and/or combat skills who look suspiciously like aspiring filmmaker pals with no money: Ozzy (Terry Potter), Barry (Pete O’Herne), Frank (Mike Minett), and Derek (Peter Ja–no fucking way, Peter Jackson?).
Yes fucking way.
There isn’t much more plot to describe, but that’s not a complaint. The Boys have to figure out what the aliens’ plans are and how to stop them, and peaceful negotiations are not an option.
Guns. The only other option is sweet, sweet guns.
Hilarious gore ensues, but we’ll come back to that.
What really blew me away was Jackson’s eye for cinematography; every shot is made with love. The composition is more interesting than most modern blockbusters, and the camera moves around more than you’d expect on such a tight budget. It’s honestly pretty breathtaking for a splatter horror movie.
We get it, New Zealand is pretty!
Jackson is constantly trying to get the most out of every shot. Take this scene that I’d show you video of if I knew what I was doing. Barry has just pointed a gun at an axe-wielding alien henchman and pulled the trigger. Before we can get a good look at the aftermath, we cut to this Western-esque shot through Barry’s legs…
…then the camera passes underneath Barry as the alien drops his weapon…
…and then moves up to reveal–
AGGGHHH! OH GOD!
We’re coming to the splatty stuff and how they did it, I promise, but holy shit, that one shot is a perfect blend of cinematography, practical effects, horror, comedy, and just plain hard work. Imagine what this guy could do with real goddamn money.
Wait, I take it back! Also, wait your turn, Hobbit.
It’s not just the visuals that make Bad Taste a blast, though. Peter Jackson’s sense of humor really ties it all together. The whole movie is an ultraviolent cartoon that’s more concerned with fun than biological accuracy. It’s hard to give specific examples without ruining the best gags, so ha, buy it for yourself.
Genius. Peter Jackson is a genius.
The whole movie is a showcase of creativity. Icky, chunky, bloody creativity. It’s a good feeling to be grossed out and simultaneously awed at the effort Jackson went through to do so. Seriously, Bad Taste makes me feel lazy.
In addition to the beautiful beautiful gore, the alien costumes are also pretty decent.
Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Also, if the low budget thing isn’t doing it for you, the movie builds up to a pretty over-the-top climax that was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission once they saw what Jackson had done on his own. Don’t worry, the last-minute cash injection doesn’t ruin the tone; it’s really a perfect ending to a great ride.
This movie is nothing short of incredible. I want this version of Peter Jackson forever and always. Bad Taste is the perfect blockbuster filmmaker’s résumé: great cinematography, amazing effects, an overload of pure fun, and not one ounce of pretension. It made me want to make movies, and I daresay that’s something all cinema should aspire to.
UP NEXT: Meet the Feebles (1989)