The Direct to Video Connoisseur
I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Bad Taste (1987)
In 1994, when I was between my Freshman and Sophomore years of high school, a group of friends I had that all shared in my love of MST3K decided to have a party where we rented a bunch of movies and made fun of them, just like Joel and the 'Bots. One friend had the vision, the genius, the je ne sais quois to pick this gem. I remember it like it was yesterday. He carried the box over to me, and said "Look, one review said: 'Your VCR will cry out for windshield wipers!'."
And so Bad Taste entered my life. Within the first five to ten minutes of watching the movie, we realized this wasn't the bad horror film we could just make fun of. This was something completely different-- the Citizen Kane of New Zealand.
Of course, roughly ten years after we'd seen it, the film's director, writer, and star, Peter Jackson, graduated from the DTV ranks and made the Lord of the Rings trilogy. People seemed to like those movies, but for me, they pale in comparison to this, Dead Alive, and Meet the Feebles. For now we are dealing strictly with Bad Taste.
If you haven't seen it, Bad Taste is about an alien fast food chain that takes over and slaughters a small town in New Zealand. A group of government agents who specialize in extraterrestrials have come to investigate, and defend our planet. There's Frank, the cigar smoking, fearless leader; Ozzy, who has a personality disorder; Barry, who's got a Danny Glover from Leathal Weapon sort of "I'm too old for this shit" sensability; and of course, Peter Jackson plays Derek, the dorky one who's a tad sadistic.
Things get messy for the guys when Derek takes a dive off a cliff, and a charity collection guy named Giles is kidnapped for the aliens' final feast. The remaining three guys have to swoop into the mansion the aliens are using for their headquarters and snatch Giles. They get Giles, but a gun fight ensues, and the boys barely make it out alive. Ozzy decides to go back and finish the aliens off, and Frank agrees to join him. At the same time Derek comes back into the battle after fixing his head, and he's armed with a chainsaw. The denoument was probably the most amazing finale since Peckinpah's Wild Bunch. Like Tina Turner once said it's: "Simply the Best!"
Well, after that night, Bad Taste was instantly our favorite movie. We had to make a copy of the video store's VHS because we couldn't find it for sale anywhere. We even made an audio copy so we could listen to it in the car. We quoted it everywhere. This was the pinnacle for us, as good as it gets.
There were so many memorable moments, I know I'll miss some. There was the brain eating scene, where Peter Jackson in another role plays an alien eating out of the head of a fallen comrade. The head rip scene was great too, where Ozzy rips an alien's head off with it's spine dangling off it, then sets it down, rips the spine off, takes the head, punts it out the window, and says "the old magic's still there". Right after that, Frank goes undercover to see what the aliens are up, and ends up stuck in a ritual where the Peter Jackson alien vomits into a salad bowl and everyone has to eat it-- including Frank. You've got Derek losing part of his brain out of the back of his head, and putting it back in and securing the head with his belt. For many, the best is when Frank fires a rocket from his launcher right through the mansion, into the field out back, and blows up a sheep.
For the longest time the only copies of this great we had were ones we pirated from the one at the video store. With the advent of DVD, we now own this in the form of a limited edition, high quality transfer. Recently my younger brother went through my collection, and he and his friends watched it, without my mentioning it. It just shows the universality of the beauty in art like that.
This is a must buy for anyone who doesn't have it. This is one of the very few where I say pay the full $19.99. This is one of the few where I say buy it new. It's that good. Now that Jackson has become a celebrated director, this movie is not the hidden gem it was back in 1994. Just the same, I'd be remiss in making a DTV blog, and not discussing one of the best.
For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0092610/