Monday, December 7, 2009

Dead Alive (1992)

On March 8, 2009, a few days after I started Horror Dose, Lucas recommended Dead Alive. Nine months later, I finally got around to it, and my only regret is that I didn't act on his recommendation immediately. The dog scene can be extrapolated to sum up the entire movie: Dead Alive does not attempt to attach its audience to a cute cuddly little puppy, and the dog's owners do not mourn their loss. Instead, we get these sparse lines before the dog is forgotten:

"Your mom ate my dog!"
"Not all of it."

And so goes the nonsensical, bloody masterpiece that is Dead Alive.

How's this for the Sumatran monkey-rat's back story: large rats from slave ships raped all the little tree monkeys. Perfect! Now, let's add in some Oedipus complex, some young love, a rubbernecking uncle, and a 30-minute zombie bloodfest. Done! Finally, spend a few minutes piecing together the dialogue, and use every bit of money, energy, and time on gore effects. Wizardly! Over-the-top doesn't even begin to do the movie's gushing geysers justice. (Anyone know how many gallons of the red stuff were used in the making of this masterpiece?)

Thumbs up to Peter Jackson for creating a 90-minute film that somehow manages to steadily escalate in obscene violence and outright nonsense until the end. I'm at a loss trying to think of any manner of bodily destruction that wasn't explored in the film--we get to watch a digestive system attack our protagonist, for cryin' out loud! And, as far as nonsense goes, we get a scene where Lionel decides to take the zombie baby for a stroll in the park. This is why I love horror movies! Who cares that it makes no sense whatsoever, or that no one would ever decide that it would be proper to take the newborn creature to the park. Just put the scene in the movie and go with it.

Toward the end of the film I began to wonder how Jackson could possibly bring all the madness to a close. Well, Jackson answered my inquiry with a massive super-zombie who assimilates Lionel within the womb again. Bravo! In fact, I had forgotten about the mother during the extensive zombie mayhem, so her reappearance topped off an already satisfying experience.

Done right, cheesy horror is far from throw-away. This is one to watch with a group of friends. From the dinner scene ("Whaaa? No pudding?!") to the embalming fluid scene to the endless party massacre, there is always something exasperating to gawk at, laugh at, and remember forever. Make sure you eat a large pepperoni pizza while watching to increase the effect. Enjoy!


  1. I watched this about the time it came out and I had forgotten how great it was! I was skeptical that I would still like it 15 years later but I think I enjoyed it more. And just like the first time, this line just killed me: "I kick arse for the Lord!"

  2. God this movie (ahem...Braindead...) is fucking awesome. I can't believe this is your first time, but I'm very happy for you!

  3. Lucas - "This calls for divine intervention!"

    GGG - Yeah. Starting this blog is one of the best things I've done with my life!

  4. I hate the American title. Its Braindead in my book. This is why we call for Peter Jackson to make another horror movie.

    This, Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles are Jackson at his best. No orks or elves or apes.

    Just perfect Jackson in New Zealand funland

  5. Jaded - "No orks or elves or apes." Love it! I will get to the two films you mentioned, as well.


  6. Meet the Feebles = source of childhood nightmares

  7. Im so glad you finally got to this one Chris, it literally changed my life when I discovered it in college, take the JV up on that and be sure to check out Bad Taste for another redonkulous Jackson gorefest!!

  8. I kick ass for the Lord!!!

    Great flick!