Last of the Monster Kids

Last of the Monster Kids
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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Director Report Card: Peter Jackson (1987-1992)

1. Bad Taste
I didn’t like this one as much as I hoped I would, considering it’s a film right up my alley. It very obviously a low budget, very independent film and I can’t help but feel that hurts the film, even though it really isn’t its fault. For a film of this type, I thought the cast was maybe a little too large as you only get to know two or three characters.
More then anything else, “Bad Taste” is driven by its demented sense of humor. It’s filled with the gross-out humor that characterizes many of Jackson’s early films. Some of it crosses the line from “funny-gross” to just plain gross, but still, this has a generous amount of twisted laughs. When you consider how professional this looks considering it’s budget, it becomes a little impressive. Though I was disappointed, it’s hard to really dislike any film with an exploding sheep in it. [Grade: B-]

2. Meet the Feebles
“Meet the Feebles” is a sick and twisted comedy so sick and twisted that those words don’t really aptly describe it. Jackson tops “Bad Taste” in just about every way as this movie is better made, funnier, and more outrageous.

The general plot is, basically, Muppets acting as deprived as humanly (Muppet-ly?) possible. Sex, rape, drug abuse, gang violence, war violence, S&M, vomiting, binge eating, coprophagia, murder, and full frontal puppet nudity are just some of the acts feature within. And all of it is played for laughs, of course. This very easily could have been a one-joke movie but
somehow it works. The funniest moment in the film is the knife-throwing frog’s drug-induced Vietnam flashback, in which the Americans are portrayed as frogs and the VC are woodchucks. There’s also a “Deer Hunter” style Russian Roulette game. Also deserving of mention is the film’s climax, in which the jilted, suicidal/homicidal hippo diva goes on a machine gun rampage throughout the theater set to the tune of the “Sodomy Song.” If that doesn’t tickle your funny bone then you are obviously not the target audience for this film. [Grade: B+]

3. Dead-Alive
Jackson’s so-called “splatter trilogy” reaches it crescendo with “Dead/Alive” (aka “Braindead”), the film that pretty much defines the “splatstick” subgenre of horror film. The bigger budget shine helps this one a lot and the quality of the special effects are greatly improved from the last two films. The lead performances are actually pretty good and the central romance is nice, too. There’s also some not-so-subtle Freudian subtext that adds some replay value.
Of course, the real reason anyone talks about this film is for the demented comedy and gore. There’s plenty of great gags in this one. The diner party? The zombie baby? The Nazi chemist? The kung-fu ass-kicking-for-the-Lord priest? Yeah. Possibly not as outrageous as “Meet the Feebles” but definitely funnier. And the gore? This film has the label of goriest of all time for a reason. There’s some blood throughout but it’s the climax where the movie really pays off. Seriously, not a second pass without somebody getting dismember or splattered. Words fail to convey the greatness of the last twenty minutes. It’s a gore hound’s wet dream and is just as likely to horrify you as it to cause you falling off the couch laughing. The rest of the public can have their “Lord of the Rings” movie, in my mind, this will always be Peter Jackson’s greatest achievement. [Grade: A]

1 comment:

beedubelhue said...

Liked your opinions on Peter here.These three will always have a special place in my heart,but my favorite Jackson vehicle has got to be Heavenly Creatures.Just screened it with my latest monthecunt,who abruptly fell asleep twenty minutes in!You don't appreciate my kind of movies,it's time to hit the bricks,sweetheart!
Keep up the good work.