Bad Taste (1987)
Hands up if you find the following funny and/or entertaining? a) an
alien race who have come to Earth to test-market human flesh as a fast
food sensation sure to sweep the galaxy. b) a scientist who keeps shoving
gloopy bits of brain tissue into the hole in his head and keeping his
cranium together with an old belt? c) an undercover man among the aliens
who has to drink out of a bowl of green vomit, and finds it to his taste.
c) chainsaw dismemberment taken to the ultimate extreme as chainsaw-wielder
and instrument pass completely through an alien from head to crotch.
If you score four straight 'nos' on the above quiz, you might as well
skip Bad Taste, because you also won't be too pleased
with the zero-budget technical qualities, indifferent acting, repetitive
machine-gun battles, ineffectually looped dialogue and crass verbal
humour. However, if you are broad-minded (ie: sick) enough to see the
jokes, then this is a hoot. It goes straight to the slimy heart of the
comic-horror genre in the way that those self-consciously camp items
with the ridiculous titles (Rabid Grannies, Redneck
Zombies etc) never do, and manages fully to live up to the
promise of its title. Practically home-made by director-writer Peter
Jackson, who also appears as the scientist with the chainsaw and the
leaky brainpan, this is set in the remote New Zealand town of Kaihoro,
where aliens have landed and are preparing to do awful things to the
Earth. The government send in a four-man team of action man scientists
- all of whom have uncontrollable impulses to use magnums, rocket-launchers,
chainsaws, etc. on the zombie-like aliens - to sort the invasion out.
A four-year production history shows in the many lines of dialogue that
later had to be dubbed over unmoving lips and a script that really could
have used a few more jokes and plot twists to go with its uniquely horror-comic
sensibility. The special effects, however, are an endearing mix of the
excellent and the deliberately dire, with some truly repulsive aliens
and splatters of funny gore. You won't easily forget the alien waving
around the severed arm holding the sledge-hammer lodged in his head.
It's gruesome fun for its incredible slapstick splatter, but it's no
Evil Dead exercise in low-budget mastery.
First Published In: City Limits (issue unknown)
All text on this page © Kim Newman