Bad Taste (1987)

Long before he found immense fame and fortune worldwide with his phenomenal Lord Of The Rings trilogy of films, Peter Jackson made a damn good contribution to the world of splatter movies with his first three films by developing the genre of “Splat-stick” – slapstick comedy with a dismemberment or two – a genre later utilized by films such as Black Sheep, The Cemetery Man, Hot Fuzz, and Zombieland.

Although his crowning achievement in this genre would be his third feature-length movie Braindead (Dead Alive), Bad Taste was where it all began. Not only being Peter Jackson’s first foray into splat-stick horror, but also his first feature-length production.

The story behind how this movie was made is engrossing in itself. Bad Taste was made by Peter Jackson and a few of his New Zealand mates on weekends, when they were free from their day jobs, over the course of four years. It was made on a shoestring budget and Jackson himself provided a lot of the the special effects and alien costumes used in this film. In fact, the mask that you can see on the poster above was handmade in Peter Jackson’s kitchen oven.

Understanding the story and effort that went into making this film is vital to understanding the film itself because, if someone who saw it wasn’t aware of the time and effort that went into it, Bad Taste can easily be seen as a bad movie when stocked up against films with larger budgets; due to the amount of dodgy-looking effects, bad acting, continuous continuity errors, and the poor quality film-stock that sticks out like a sore thumb. A lot of work in Bad Taste was fixed in post-production and it’s painfully obvious: ADR’d dialogue, gunshot effects, interlaced animation…all painfully obvious.

However, if you keep in mind how Bad Taste was made, the film itself is an impressive feat. A gore-fest of tongue-in-cheek gross-out proportions with a plot centered around a group of investigators fighting against human eating aliens from outer-space. The special effects, despite how cheap they may look on-screen, are really impressive for a film with such a low budget. Scenes of bloody carnage are vivid and memorable, and they make Bad Taste stand out among other splatter films of the same era. Alongside the gore, Bad Taste is well-written and very funny with physical gags occurring every minute, accentuated by ridiculous dialogue cues. Although not every joke is hilarious, know that for every failed punchline, a better one will be along in a few minutes that keeps the tone light and amusing despite how much blood and brain matter is scattered upon the scenery, or how gross the film can be at certain moments.

Bad Taste is a pure action comedy romp with no deeper message or story arc, and that’s perfectly fine. The film makes no attempt to say it’s anything more than a stupid gross-out comedy that sports four years of well-made special effects and the dedication of a group of off-beat Kiwi friends. In my opinion, Bad Taste is definitely worth a watch due to impressive splatter effects, crazy comedy and Peter Jackson’s particularly strange acting style. Although, you will probably want to watch it with a few friends and a few alcoholic drinks because Bad Taste is not a film to take seriously in the slightest.

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