31 Days of Terror: Dead Alive aka Braindead (1992)
31 Days of Terror will cover a wide array of horror films leading up to Halloween. We'll be posting our thoughts and feelings on some of our favorites every day for the next 31 days. If your favorite doesn't make it, it doesn't mean we don't like it, so speak up in the comments below!
That's right, another Peter Jackson film, nay, THE Peter Jackson film, before all that silly Rings and even sillier Hobbit nonsense. I kid, I kid, I love the first three. Seriously though, if there was ever a competition for movie with the most gore, it would probably go to Jackson's Dead Alive, also known by its original title, Braindead.
When a rabid rat-monkey bites the mother of our hero, Lionel, she undergoes a transformation turning into something dead yet also...alive. When the zombie infection spreads, only Lionel and his girlfriend, Paquita, can stop the madness.
This movie is batshit insane but in the best way possible. Though it has copious amounts of gore, the film uses it to slapstick effect, taking after the Evil Dead franchise. There's a zombie baby that won't die and keeps pestering our heroes like a Looney Tunes character. There's a moment when Lionel is trying to run away, but the floor is so slick with blood, he's just running in place because there's no friction. Oh, and I also couldn't forget the preacher who uses martial arts to "kick ass for the Lord!" It's just...the best. It's horror and a romantic comedy built into one film and it's fantastic.
Oh man, I'm not sure of how to come at it from an effects standpoint because the third act is filled with brilliance. There are so many seamless transitions from actors to prosthetics and makeup that I had to do a double-take in some scenes to see where the cuts were. The lighting, the cinematography, and the music all compliment the tone Peter Jackson was going for so well and the gore, god, the gore is unreal. There's a sentient disembodied digestive tract trying to eat Lionel in the third act and they made it a character. It literally stares into a mirror at one point, establishing that it's self-aware. I. love. this. movie.
Like Sam Raimi after Spider-Man, I would love to see Peter Jackson return to horror and bring us something just as creative and delightfully demented as Braindead.