A Splat About Dead Alive
Dead Alive is a 1992 horror/splatfest film directed by Peter Jackson. You know, the guy who directed the incredible The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the not so good Hobbit series, and his branded (slept on) King Kong remake. He has not one, not two, but THREE Oscars. The New Zealand government gave money to this script. The New Zealand government paid for this movie to exist. To sum up my feelings: hey, this should give every newbie hope since anything is possible in this industry.
What is Dead Alive? Good question. It’s about some stop-motion monkey that has a virus that causes people to become zombies. You don’t even have to be bitten to become a zombie! You just need to have your heart ripped out and poof, zombie. Talk about a deal. Dead Alive is about a guy with parental issues that is struggling to keep the fact that his mom is a zombie from his crush. However, since this is a splatter film, that secret doesn’t really stay secret. What culminates throughout this bizarre 104 minutes of a movie is a slaughtering that may make blood lovers blush.
It’s a weird film. It’s a film that’s funny in the, “what the hell am I actually watching,” genre. Dead Alive/Braindead is the best way to describe this move: it’s completely devoid of thought but full of heart. The movie is called Braindead, not Heartless (which is a good song by Kanye West.) The main inspiration that Dead Alive pulls from is Evil Dead 2. Timothy Balme plays the hero of this gory tale. The hero of Dead Alive is the absolute rip off of Ash Williams from The Evil Dead series. The acting is absolutely cheesy. The effects are pretty much red. The monster/zombie designs are extremely unique and fascinating to watch throughout the movie. There are some designs that will be part of cinema history due to the disgusting nightmares that Peter Jackson and company came up with.
This film has a lot of B-movie flair but it is a total blast to watch. It's the second best zombie comedy to ever exist with Shaun of the Dead leading the way. The gore can be a bit too much in certain scenes. The ending is the elevator scene from The Shining that lasts for 20 minutes. The humor is childish, like using a wart exploding to mirror an orgasm, but it has a ton of heart and is incredible to see how a young director went from that to making some of the best films of the 2000s. That’s pretty cool.