Braindead, 1992 – Movie Review – 31 Days of Horror
Posted by LiveFor on October 7, 2009
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Timothy Balme, Diana Peñalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin, Brenda Kendall, Stuart Devenie
This review by Robert. I love this film.
Some years before New Zealand director Peter Jackson gave us the first of the Lord of the Rings trilogy there was this little film from his native land. An hour and forty minutes of blood drenched mayhem, ‘Braindead’ or ‘Dead Alive’ as it is known in the US was what you could call New Zealand’s answer to ‘The Evil Dead’. Made on a small budget (But slightly bigger than his shoe string first feature which was ‘Bad Taste’ a few years earlier), it tells the story of Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme). A thirty something who lives under the thumb of his tyrannical mother (Elizabeth Moody) in 1950′s New Zealand. Lionel falls in love with Paquita (Diana Penalver) the beautiful spanish daughter of a local shop owner. However ,mother of course does not approve her boy seeing the young lady and keeps Lionel at bay.
Lionel and Paquita manage though to start dating behind the old battle axe’s back.But when mother gets suspicious she decides to follow Lionel to the local zoo where he meets up with the girl of his dreams. That very same day a new animal has been delivered to the zoo. A grotesque creature called the Sumatran Rat, it has a deadly bite that unknown to the zoo keepers, transforms those that are subjected to it’s bite into flesh eating, killer zombies. Unfortunately for Lionel’s loathsome mother, she gets too close to the cage holding the beast while spying on Lionel and Paquita, and is bitten by the foul rodent. Things after that just can’t get any worse for poor Lionel.
As gory horror flicks go this has to rate as one of the sickest, disgusting, degenerate of the lot. But it is also one of the down right fun ones. It’s not a great quality movie when compared to the like of LOTR. The special stop motion puppetry for the Sumatran Rat which we see early on in the movie is blatantly ropey and the score could have put together by someone who composed the music for Prisoner cell block H. That said however the gore and Zombies effects are certainly first rate. What other director could give us such jaw dropping scenes as a kung-fu fighting priest(Stuart Devenie) who ‘kicks arse for the Lord’, somersaulting and giving some undead thugs a good beating. Then theres the sight of Lionel’s zombified mother and the now flesh eating priest shagging. The demonic child that spurts forth from mothers rotting womb and is jerked suddenly back by the umbilicle cord that is still attached to it is just another of Jackson’s great accomplishments. Then theres the final icing on the cake. A blood drenched finale where Lionel’s obnoxious uncle Les gate crashes his house and throws a wild party only for the guests to be attacked by a small army of the living dead. This has to count as one of, if not the most gruesome scenes in movie history next to the likes of ‘Re-animator’. Just wait till you see what Lionel does with a flymo.
Any way I’ve said enough. In surmising Braindead will never be hailed as the very best of Jackson. After all it was only his second offering and considering the budget size is a testament to the man as a director.It contains some good tongue n’ cheek performance from a cast of unknowns and enough of Jackson’s amazing directorial flair to hold your interest for it’s running time of an a hour and forty. Oh, and be sure and look out for a brief cameo appearance from the great man himself as a Morgue attendant in a funeral parlor.
Previous 31 Days of Horror reviews: Halloween, Friday the 13th Part 2, Martin, Fright Night, Zombieland