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26 January 2011

Dead-Alive (1992)

Dead-Alive (or Braindead as it was originally entitled) opens at Skull Island with the capture of an infected Rat Monkey. Right from the off you pretty much know what you're in for as the arrogant Kiwi zoologist gets bitten and his guides proceed to chop him up with a machete.

Yes! This is squishing blood and dismemberment fun in as many different ways as Peter Jackson can think of.

That would be the Peter Jackson... of Lord of the Rings fame.

Although the film looks to have been filmed entirely in Wellington, don't expect to see any Hobbits. You'll get zombies and grotesque rat-like creatures... but not a single Ork!

The film is set in 50s New Zealand. I found it quirky and ambitious and had a chuckle to myself at some of the dodgey special effects; We have the model plane flying into New Zealand, and the model trams bustling down the streets. I was quite enjoying myself in the end looking out for the camera-trickery! And of course there're all manner of ghouls and gore. It's all a far cry from what Pete has produced in later films, but it's fun and I think that he gets away it.

As an aside: I remember one time visiting Te Papa seeing this large sort of ugly baby puppet exhibit. You were meant to pull levers and make it move. Only it was broken. Little did I realise at the time, that this rat baby-thing is one of the stars of this film. Well what do you know!

If you haven't guessed, Dead-Alive is a cult comedy. Don't expect to be jumping out of your skin in unbridled terror. Do expect to be smiling at yet another outrageous way to chop somebody up.

If you love New Zealand as much as I do, then you'll enjoy any opportunity for some Kiwi location-spotting and Dead-Alive doesn't disappoint on this front. It's all Wellington-based, but hey, knock yourself out! Likewise, Pete drops in the Kiwiana at every opportunity. Nice one Bro!

And the scores on the doors?

This is a tough one. I'm going to give it a jab up the nose with a hypodermic 6. It's an enjoyable ride, but you're probably only going to want to watch it the once.

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