Movie Name: Dead Alive (Braindead)
Studio: WingNut Films
Release Date(s): August 13, 1992
MPAA Rating: Unrated
A rare Sumatran Rat-Monkey (as a result of the rape of monkeys by rats on Skull Island) is brought to the Wellington Zoo in New Zealand. When momma’s boy Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) begins dating Paquita (Diana Penalver), his mother (Elizabeth Moody) will not have it. When she is accidentally bitten by the Rat-Monkey, Lionel finds himself babysitting a zombie. As the zombie plague begins to spread, Lionel discovers he has his hands full. Will the zombies be stopped and can he ever be reunited with Paquita.
Peter Jackson directed Dead Alive and various versions of the film exist. It was called Braindead in New Zealand and most parts of the world but another movie called Brain Dead starring Bill Pullman and Bill Paxton in the United States forced the name change. The extreme gore also resulted in multiple edits and versions.
Dead Alive is a crazy movie. It would be easy to call it a horror movie since it is about zombies but it really is more of a comedy and a mash-up of many genres. There are a ton of comedic moments. It is in the same vein as Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness but both came out in the fall of 1992 so Raimi and Jackson must think alike (I’m sure Evil Dead II was some influence on this film). The movie also plays heavily on melodrama by making the relationship between Lionel and Paquita so unrealistic and soapy that it is crunchy. This weird combo of genres does actually work. It does force the viewer to go with it however and that could be pretty hard considering the amount of gore and blood.
Dead Alive is one of the goriest movies I have ever seen. When the blood and guts starts flying it, becomes one of the biggest bloodbaths in a movie. Despite all the guts, it is still tongue-in-cheek. Even the most gruesome scenes are played for laughs a lot like Peter Jackson’s other films around this time (Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles). Dead Alive just goes so over-the-top that you can tell it isn’t meant to be taken seriously (I mean he fights a giant version of his mother that attempts to consume him).
The special effects on Dead Alive however are some of the most minimal effects you’ll see. It is obvious that it was a low budget B-Movie, but the director and cast decided to say screw it and just have fun with it. Be it the Claymation Rat-Monkey or the bad baby zombie that goes from doll to little-person to doll when it is needed.
If you want a crazy and different movie, check out Dead Alive. It is one of those movies that you can watch with a group and all say “what the hell are we watching?” It isn’t a movie for the faint of heart with all the gore and some real gross-out scenes, but you’ll never forget zombie sex, zombie babies, kung-fu priests, and the rat-monkey. Yeah, this is all from the movie, and trust me, it all makes sense in a weird way.