Bad Taste (1987)

bad taste poster middle finger peter jackson
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 2/10
Acting: 2/10
Visuals: 6/10

Gross-out visuals

Bad acting and story, poor quality film

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Bad Taste

Studio:  WingNut Films

Genre(s):  Horror/Comedy/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/B-Movie

Release Date(s):  December 11, 1987 (New Zealand)/June 16, 1989 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Unrated

bad taste aliens make-up peter jackson first film

The aliens are on Earth…and we’re dinner!

The small seaside New Zealand town of Kaihoro has been invaded by aliens!  A.I.D.S. (Astro Investigation and Defense Service) has been sent to investigate the disappearance of the people and stop any alien incursion.  The aliens have a plan and Derek (Peter Jackson), Frank (Mike Minett), Barry (Peter O’Herne), and Ozzy (Terry Potter) discover that the people are meat for interstellar fast-food.  With time running out to stop the aliens, A.I.D.S. must pull out all the stops to prevent them from escaping.

Directed by Peter Jackson, Bad Taste is a low-budget horror splatter comedy.  The movie was shot over a period of four years and marks Peter Jackson’s first film.  Banned in some areas for graphic gore, Bad Taste has gained a cult following over the years as Jackson’s fame has grown.

I actually remember Bad Taste when it was new and people seeing it.  The cover of the alien flicking off the camera was covered in our video store but some video stores were given an extra finger to make it look like he was giving a peace sign (or the English version of the middle finger).  The weird and gross story was always kind of funny, but the low budget nature of the movie was always too much to take.

bad taste first eating brains film peter jackson 1987

Peter Jackson digs in deep to his craft!

Bad Taste’s plot just goes on and on.  There really isn’t much plot and it mostly involves the team running around and shooting at normal looking aliens and then aliens with big butts and heads.  Jackson never actually had a script for the film and the dialogue (which all had to be redubbed) just seems like filler between shootings and exploding heads…it really could have been told in under an hour.

The cast is also all amateurs.  This isn’t their fault because Jackson was forced to pretty much cast friends who could shoot the film on their off days.  That doesn’t necessary make for good television.  I was always critical of Kevin Smith’s cast’s acting in Clerks (Smith had the same casting problem), but Bad Taste makes the actors of Clerks look like they are doing Shakespeare in the Park.

bad taste 1987 derek brains peter jackson

I will give Bad Taste this, if I didn’t already know this was Peter Jackson as well, I’d never guess it…

The movie relies heavily on gross-out.  The extremely long sequences of Derek losing his brains, putting them back into his head, and adding alien brains to his brains go on way too long and add runtime to the already overly long film.  I kind of like the alien designs (though cheap), but the rest of the quality of the film looks like something shot by kids on break from school…minus a few clever shots that Jackson has reused in other films.

Peter Jackson’s early stuff is really…odd.  Movies like this, Meet the Feebles, and Dead Alive all show some of the style he later developed, but for the most part, Jackson didn’t come into his own until Heavenly Creatures (which you could argue is still his best film despite the popularity and acclaim of Lord of the Rings).  Bad Taste is only for completionists who want to see all of Jackson’s films…otherwise it is pretty skippable.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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