PLOT: A small New Zealand town comes under attack by aliens harvesting human flesh for an intergalactic fast-food chain.
I know this movie is a bit of a cult classic and the following words I type might be seen as a little heretical, but… I kind of hated this movie. Maybe hate is a strong word; I just didn’t really like it. Don’t get me wrong, there are redeeming qualities of this film, and I can’t really be too hard on it, as this was Peter Jackson’s first feature film, but man does this one not hold up. Maybe it’s the New Zealand aesthetic; even Mad Max, that Australian cult classic (which, let’s face it: Australia is just New Zealand Sr. Fight me.) doesn’t hold up for me. Throw in the fact that this film is 30 years old, it might as well be 50 years old.
Bad Taste is sort of like a zombie movie, if zombies came from space. In the film, our heroes uncover a small town whose entire population has disappeared, and it’s all thanks to a bunch of sniveling, mute nerds in light blue button-ups. Loaded with artillery, the posse storms the abode of the main alien and they kick their ET asses right off the planet.
I’ll give credit where it’s due: Peter Jackson’s practical effects are pretty excellent for a first feature and one of such a small budget. You can see the early workings of the talent that would later do Dead Alive, and more impressively, the Lord of the Rings series. The alien builds are pretty inspired and the gore is pretty gruesome.
At best, this should be treated as a reel of what kind of effects a talent like a late-80s Jackson could accomplish. Otherwise, I’m not sure there’s much else to take away from this film. The ADR lines are distracting, the acting, especially Peter Jackson’s performance as Derek, is bad at best, obnoxious at worst, and the plot is pretty thin.
Really: Fuck Derek.
As mentioned, Peter Jackson’s practical effects on a shoe-string budget are pretty impressive. The character models are incredibly unique, and it seems like he has a lot of fun showing off what he could do. This is the most enduring part of this film.
Gore Rating: 5 out of 5
This movie is far too goofy to be scary. Granted, that’s not what this film is trying to accomplish at all, but that’s what this category is, so deal with it.
Scare Rating: 0 out of 5
Not a single female in this film. All the aliens split their dad jeans when they resort to their usual form, so you get to see alien butt cheeks, but they aren’t real.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 0 out of 5
I really wanted to like Bad Taste, I really did. I mean, I already dislike so many Peter Jackson movies already (except The Frighteners; that movie rules), so I wanted to at least give this a fair shot. But I think it just doesn’t hold up particularly well. Peter Jackson’s effects work is pretty well done here, but the rest of the movie sort of lets it down. I feel like his talents would’ve faired better this early in his career working more as a Tom Savini type. Instead, we’ve got a thin plot and characters that make weird faces throughout the film.
And fuck Derek.