DEAD ALIVE (BRAINDEAD) (director/writer: Peter Jackson; screenwriters: Fran Walsh/Stephen Sinclair/story by Stephen Sinclair; cinematographer: Murray Milne; editor: Jamie Selkirk; music: Peter Dasent; cast:  Tim Balme (Lionel Cosgrove), Diana Penalver (Paquita), Elizabeth Moody (Vera Cosgrove), Ian Watkin (Uncle Les), Stuart Devenie (Father McGruder), Brenda Kendall (Nurse McTavish); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Jim Booth; Trimark; 1992-New Zealand/Japan)

"Sometimes it's fun to feast on a junk film."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Peter Jackson ("Bad Taste"/"Meet The Feebles") directs this gory horror comedy. It tells of zombies on the prowl in 1957. It's outrageously written as camp by Jackson, Fran Walsh and Stephen Sinclair, from a story by Sinclair.

The plot revolves around the harridan mother (
Elizabeth Moody) of the nerdy, mama's boy, Lionel (Tim Balme), bitten in the Wellington, New Zealand zoo by an animated Sumatran rat/monkey, while chaperoning her son on his first date with Paquita (Diana Penalver). When mom is home and dining with church guests, she's changed into a zombie after dining on her ears. When the loyal son is unwilling to chop up his flesh-eating zombie mom, the house will soon include an army of zombies hiding in the basement.

The cartoonish over-the-top carnage includes the spewing of blood and bile of such various folks as a kung-fu priest (
Stuart Devenie), a nurse (Brenda Kendall), the sleazy uncle (Ian Watkin) and some rockers--there are many decapitations, a gut-munching and various forms of dismemberment. It's up to Lionel, using a power lawn-mower, to fend off the attacking zombies.

The silly but entertaining cult film, with mostly bad taste slapstick gags, perhaps tells us that sometimes
it's fun to feast on a junk film. I applaud that the low-budget film is so well-crafted and weirdly funny.

REVIEWED ON 6/2/2018       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"