Critical Review and Bibliography

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					Critical Review and Bibliography Kai Lego (30274772)

Bad Taste
Part 1:
Main Cast:
Terry Potter – Ozzy Pete O’Herne – Barry Craig Smith – Giles Mike Minett – Frank Peter Jackson – Derek/Robert Doug Wren – Alien Leader

Director – Peter Jackson Producer – Peter Jackson Writer – Peter Jackson (with Ken Hammon and Tony Hiles) Original Music – Michelle Scullion DOP – Peter Jackson Editing – Peter Jackson, Jamie Selkirk Makeup – Cameron Chittock, Peter Jackson Sound Recordist – Ken Saville, Brent Burge Sound Editor – Kit Rollings, Jamie Selkirk Special Effects – Peter Jackson

Production Information:
Produced by Wingnut Films, 1987 Assistance from New Zealand Film Commission Runtime:  91 min (NZ)  86 min (1989 AU video release)  88 min (2004 DVD release) Classification:  New Zealand – R16  Australia – R (originally banned) Release:

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New Zealand – December 1987 USA – 24 August, 1988 France – 1988 Cannes Film Festival

Business:  Budget – (NZ) $295,000  Date of Production – 1983-1987 Locations:  Gear Homestead, Porirua, New Zealand  Makara Beach, Wellington, New Zealand  Pukerua Bay, Wellington, New Zealand  Titahi Bay, Wellington, New Zealand Distributors:  Anchor Bay Entertainment (USA)  Astro Records & Filmworks (Germany)  Beam Entertainment Inc. (Japan)  Blue Dolphin Film Distribution Ltd. (Great Britain)  CBS/Fox Home Video (Australia)  Colourbox (Great Britain)  Creative Axa Co. Ltd. (Japan)  PolyGram Video (Great Britain)  Substance Video  Universal Pictures (2004 DVD Release)

Awards:  Fantafestival 1989 – Won – Audience Award  Fantasporto 1990 – Nominated (Best Film) – International Fantasy Film Award  17th Paris Festival of Fantasy and Science Fiction – Won – Gore Award Reviews:  Philadelphia City Paper (Sam Adams) [ ]  BBC Films (Matt Ford) [ w.shtml]  Daily Reviews (Stephen Cooke) []  Film Desk (James Kendrick) []


IMDb Reviews page for “Bad Taste” []

Interviews:  Interviews with all key cast and crew members: o s.htm  Good Taste Made Bad Taste (documentary), Tony Hiles, 1988 Online Presence: Most of the information accumulated for this page was acquired from online sources. The Internet Movie Database ( contained much of the production information, and links to online reviews and fansites. From a Google search ( I found more fansites, and discovered quite a cult following. This is in opposition to paper-based media regarding the film – this was extremely difficult to find, even just a small example!

Part II – Critical Review:
Bad Taste isn’t technically an Australian film, but that of the now-famous New Zealand director Peter Jackson (of The Lord of the Rings fame). Bad Taste was Jackson’s first full-length feature, and his twelfth film. Shot on weekends over a period of four years (1983-1987) and using a no-name cast and crew consisting mainly of Jackson and his work friends, Bad Taste tells the tale of the Astro-Investigation and Defence Service (A.I.D.S – also known as “The Boys”), a branch of the Government. Led by scientist Derek (played by Jackson), A.I.D.S is charged with the task of saving the world from an alien invasion force, which seeks to turn the human race into “Crumb’s Country Delights” – the newest intergalactic taste sensation! Derek and Barry are in the New Zealand seaside town of Kaihoro, to find it deserted, save for a number of zombie-like humans, who actually turn out to be members of the alien force. Derek has managed to capture one of the aliens, Robert (also played by Jackson), whom he tortures. Robert’s alien screaming brings all his buddies to his rescue, and some of the most blatant gore, blood and flying guts ever to grace the cinema screen are presented to us. This theme of gore is basically the whole point of the film, with all special effects achieved by Jackson’s ingenious use of latex heads and fake weapons. During the battle with Robert, Derek falls off the cliff and lands, with much

splattering of blood and crunching of bones, on the jagged rocks below. Meanwhile, a charity collector by name of Giles comes to the empty town, only to be captured by the aliens for a victory feast. It comes down to Frank, Ozzy and Barry to follow the aliens to their base, which turns out to be an old colonial home, and rescue the marinating collector. Of course, there is trouble, and a member of the team poses as an alien and has to drink Robert’s vomit, complete with “chunky bits”. What ensues is nothing short of a splatter-fest, with exploding heads, flying guts, and gallons of blood. Derek manages to pull himself together, but finds the back of his head is open, with bits of brain falling out. Using first a hat, and then a belt, he holds it together, and goes to the house with a chainsaw to take his revenge on the aliens. The climax of the film comes when The Boys manage to kill most of the aliens, except the leader (who is revealed after a battle to be a very ugly, hulking beast), and Derek joins the battle, insane, and with his chainsaw. Frank, Ozzy and Barry manage to flee the house as it begins to take off (actually the alien’s spacecraft), but Derek is trapped. The bloodiest battle of the film takes place, with Derek’s eventual victory over the leader, by boring his way through him with the chainsaw! In essence, this film is based around nothing deeper than the primal urge for killing. There is no subplot, no integral meaning. Basically, it’s just an excuse to throw some chicken guts around. This isn’t a problem, however. Bad Taste made a name for Peter Jackson, and resulted in screenings at film festivals all around the world, most notably in Europe (especially Cannes). It has attained for itself cult status as one of the most disgusting films ever produced, but also one of the most blatantly funny films ever produced. Everything about the gore and action is comic, and coupled with the largely improvised dialogue produces an intentionally hilarious result. Produced on a shoestring budget, mainly from Peter Jackson’s salary, and using mostly home-made equipment, the only professional assistance this movie benefited from was by the New Zealand Film Commission who helped in the final stages of production. At the time of its release, Peter Jackson was a no-name director, known only locally for his short films produced in earlier years on 8mm film. Following the success of Bad Taste in cinema circles in Europe and the USA, Jackson went on to make other lowbudget gore films, Meet the Feebles (1989) and Braindead (1992). Heavenly Creatures in 1994 gained Jackson a larger following, and eventually this led him to be accepted to direct J.R.R. Tolkein’s

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, instantly making him one of the world’s most famous directors. Since this big-budget success, people have been looking back to see what work’s Jackson had produced in the past, and many have stumbled onto Bad Taste. Jackson obviously has a talent for the production and execution of special effects, and Bad Taste is a perfect example of this. Everything was designed and implemented by Jackson himself, including the exploding houses, brains and guts, and weaponry. Being on an extremely low budget also caused him to have to produce the film with limited and often primitive equipment. In an interview in Good Taste Made Bad Taste (1988) Jackson reveals how he constructed a fully functional Steadicam and dolly/crane, using nothing more than aluminium tubing, some wood, and a welder. All of the actors in Bad Taste were work friends of Jackson, and all played at least two different parts in the film. Terry Potter, Pete O’Herne, Craig Smith and Mike Minett, as well as being the main actors, also played various “3rd class alien” parts. Since the production of the film, none have gone on to become actual actors. This is probably a good thing, as none of them have any actual acting talent. Due to the success of Bad Taste, many have come to recognise the cinematic genius of Peter Jackson. From his early beginnings in Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles (both produced on a tiny budget), and seeing how well they were made, viewers of his later works will be able to see why his LoTR trilogy was such a huge success. Peter Jackson also produced many of his own films. Not much more can be said about Bad Taste, aside from the future for this film – as more people are introduced to other Peter Jackson films (most probably The Lord of the Rings), they’ll be tempted to look back at his previous works. If they can find it in their local video store, they’ll be surprised how different his other work is to the recent blockbuster trilogy. Bad Taste is truly a great example of independent film, and how a small budget, coupled with some truly ingenious filmmaking, can produce a cult classic like this. Bad Taste is one of those films that cannot be replicated – and hopefully nobody will ever try!

Bad Taste (DVD – 2004), 1987, Peter Jackson New Zealand Film Commission “Bad Taste” - webpage (WWW) – []

IMDb page for “Bad Taste” – webpage (WWW) [] The Ultimate Bad Taste Fan Site – webpage (WWW) – []