Hello to all those faithfully reading and hopefully enjoying this effort to make even the worst horror movie more watcha... aw, screw that - I'm not that good. If a movie makes you cringe because yet another batch of unlikable teens that are pushing 30 are inching toward their deaths, having a party no one does anywhere ever, a paranormal movie is boring you to tears with unending pans of empty rooms, or thanks to CGI technology when people finally bite it, their blood squirts everywhere except on the victim, the ground, the people next to them... you're in good company and this is the right place for you.

Friday, October 4, 2013


Braindead aka Dead Alive (1992) New Zealand

Long before I started this blog I watched a strange but hilarious movie on IFC called Braindead. It was so obviously fake and funny that the guts, body parts and blood (which was the color of pink yogurt with a bit of raspberries) that it just made me laugh my, umm, guts out. Later, when on one of the many TWD sites, someone asked me if I'd heard of Dead Alive. Nope. Of course I had no idea they'd changed the title for America for whatever reason they feel the need to screw with what doesn't need fixed. But when it was described to me, I had that sense of deja vu and thought wow, I KNOW I've seen something like that.

Of course I had. And, of course, I could never find it again, until recently I watched it online (thank you movie streaming services). And I still laughed. Now this is MY kind of humor, it may not be yours so be warned - this movie was once called the goriest movie ever made. Of course that was 1992 so it may have been topped since then. BUT THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO CGI HERE! IT'S FANTASTIC! A flop when it first appeared, it quickly became a cult classic when its Director, Peter Jackson, did a little trilogy called Lord Of The Rings.

The movie, set in 1957 for some reason, begins its fun with the capture and smuggling into New Zealand a Sumatran Rat-Monkey, supposedly a hybrid between a large rat and a tree monkey. It's fierce and it's pissed, and during the explorer's escape from the natives, it reaches through the cage and bites him on the arm. His guides, seeing the bite, know instantly what that means - out comes the machete. Off goes his arm. Then they see a scratch on his other upper arm - off it goes at the shoulder. Then they see the scratch on his forehead... But money making people doing what they do, the remaining thieves take the monkey to the plane and off it goes to a zoo in New Zealand.

Then we meet mama's boy Lionel. He's a shy and whipped man but one day at the market he meets Paquita. She is determined to date him as it was predicted in the cards. He takes her on a date to the zoo - not knowing his mother (Elizabeth Moody, whose last role was in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring as the character Lobelia Sackville-Baggins) secretly has followed him. Hiding in the bushes by the monkey cages she, of course, gets bitten by the nasty rat-monkey and subsequently takes great pleasure in squashing his head (a good stop motion movie nasty you probably miss in this age of CGI) under her heel.

Lionel abandons Paquita to care for his mum at home. The bite festers quickly and by morning she's pretty ug... well, actually she was ugly to begin with, now she's just worse. He wants her to stay in bed but they have company. Funny stuff as she tries to look 'presentable' and he ends up using glue to try to put her peeling face skin back in place. Ick. But funny.

The table scene is probably the most famous and infamous of the whole movie. We have Lionel and his mum with a visiting couple eating a regular meal - with mum using somewhat less than civil table manners. The man is oblivious, the look on his wife's face - perfect. When the custard is served... uh, I think I'll stop there. Not because it wasn't one of the grossest/funniest scenes of zombie movies ever filmed, but because if you're eating or have eaten recently you might experience some, uh, discomfort.

He calls the nurse but she tells him that his mother is dead. His mother revives - even nastier than before and kills the nurse. But people think she's dead so he gets a large supplies of an anesthetic and tries to keep her undead corpse down - looking even worse after the embalming - to get through the funeral and subsequent burial. He doesn't really succeed and already she's been killing people. 

He tries to dig her up but is attacked by a stereotypical 50's street gang (lots of hair grease and leather) and would have been in pieces if the local priest wasn't well versed in kung fu (he kicks butt for the Lord) until his mother bursts from the grave and kills all of them. Somehow Lionel (he must be a lot stronger than he looks) gets them back to his house and keeps them in the basement under sedation.

But there's always a fly in the guts and blood - in the form of his mother's brother, Uncle Les. He discovers what he thinks is Lionel's penchant for mass murder and uses it to blackmail him to give up the house and inheritance. Uncle Les invites a houseful of people to party (and this is a big house) and the massive bloodshed is about to begin.

Lionel, not the sharpest knife in the drawer, had meant to shoot the bodies full of poison to end the madness - instead he uses some kind of - growth agent. All the bodies he buries in the basement shoot out of there (including a baby born to two particularly randy zombies) and the smorgasbord begins.

How to describe this? What made this so funny to me the first (and second) time was that somewhere in this gelatinous gooey practically knee deep scene in a set that must have taken months to clean afterward, they somehow must have run out of red dye, or jello, or whatever the hell they were making the mess out of and things got decidedly pinkish. The more blood and guts gushing all over everything, the pinker it got.

So we get some endless kung fu fighting - err, I mean zombie fighting as eventually everyone except Lionel, Paquita and Uncle Les become zombies. The zombie baby gets quite a bit of air time (that's kind of a pun, it gets kicked around a lot and seems to be able to jump great heights) and the melee' continues.

Speaking of Lionel's mother - remember the growth agent? Well apparently his mother got the mega dose (or because she is patient zero) because she has become this twelve foot high gross looking - thing that bursts from the earth just as Uncle Les has shut himself in the basement. Again, this is not CGI'd so the mechanics of this thing was pretty impressive. She grabs Les and literally pulls his head and spine out of his body - he is now a zombie that can't go anywhere.

Lionel makes it outside where he gets his trusty lawn mower (we're talking ultra cheap with one dull whirring blade) and proceeds to make limbs, torsos and heads spread their now even more pinkish gore all over the foyer of the house (where most of the gore is contained - still must have been a hell of a cleanup though) as that miracle blade went through skin, muscle, bone, even skulls. 

But even if the blade is a miracle, it still only has a limited gas supply and runs out, leaving Lionel to make a hasty exit. Lionel makes it up to the attic. There he finds that his mother had been lying to him all his life - he had thought his father drowned to save him - what really happened is his father had been caught with a girlfriend in the bathtub, both murdered by his mother and the girlfriend's body put in the attic. Lionel is a mama's boy no more.

So after some more wince-worthy slime and guts, a final showdown between Lionel and his mum and their escape, the house catches fire, the mother falls into it and Lionel and Paquita walk away as firetrucks arrive - happy and free. And slimy. Very, very slimy.