Odds are, you’ll know who I mean when I say the name Peter Jackson. The behemoth that is The Lord of the Rings trilogy has ensured that the New Zealander will forever be remembered for his services to film, but that doesn’t mean he started off on such an epic scale.
Long before he ventured to Middle-Earth, Jackson wrote and directed low-budget horror comedies in his native country. Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles were both successful in their own right, but the nadir of this period was 1992’s Braindead. The plot concerns momma’s boy Lionel (Timothy Balme), who is forced to defend his hometown from an increasingly disgusting horde of the undead, the infection spreading after his own mother is bitten by a Sumatran Rat Monkey.
In Braindead Jackson has produced one of the most revolting films in cinematic history. I mean this in an entirely good sense: the effects and scenarios on display are some of the most grotesquely hilarious I have ever seen. Heads are semi-severed to reveal blood-spurting necks, boils are lanced into bowls of custard, and there’s even a scene of dead-on-dead copulation. You won’t believe this is the same director who was staging Oscar-winning fantasy only 10 years later.