Dead Alive

1992 zombie funk

Rating: 16/20

Plot: A nuts monkey captured on Skull Island (probably not that Skull Island) winds up in a zoo where it bites a woman and turns her into a zombie. Her son, poor Lionel, has to take care of her while trying to nurture a new relationship with the gal who works at the market. It doesn't get any easier for Lionel as his mom begins to infect other people.

Peter Jackson's best movie? None of those Hobbit movies or the King Kong remake even had a guy using a lawnmower as a weapon. Discuss in the comments below.

If this had been around for me to see in high school, it probably would have been my favorite movie, something I could watch back-to-back with Evil Dead II whenever I needed to fulfill my splatter-comedy needs. This is definitely splattabulous, splatrageous, and splatterific, a lot bloodier than anything Raimi will ever do. It pushes the envelope and then pushes it more, pushing it so that it goes all the way through some guy's skull so that his brains and blood stain the walls. Does it straddle the line between violence and humor? No. It sort of stomps all over the line until the blood and laughs fuse together into this scrambled mess of joke-telling bowels and slapstick viscera. I felt completely silly doing it, but I laughed out loud so much as I watched this in the wee hours while lying in bed that I woke up my poor wife a few times. And I'll admit that it didn't feel right to answer her "What's so funny?" with "Oh, this character is throwing around this zombie baby!" or "Intestines are chasing a guy around his house!" The amount of gore in this thing has to be seen to be believed, and just when I think I've seen a zombie die in the most bizarre or creative way possible, Jackson gives me something even more ridiculous to see. A mind that conceives some of the imagery in this has to be a deranged one. Dead Alive (or Braindead elsewhere) has nothing at all to say about society. It makes no grand statements and really doesn't even tell its story all that well. But from the appearance of the stop-motion (?) monkey to the thrilling and sloppy climax, this doesn't let up, assaulting the senses with the most creative gore you're likely to see and some sick, sick laughs. Recommended to film lovers who haven't grown up yet or anybody who wants to see what Peter Jackson was up to before he started filming endless scenes of Hobbits and elves walking around.


Barry said...

Have you seen The Frighteners? Its another pre-hobbit Jackson movie. Its uneven, but it does have the last leading male part in a movie from Michael J. Fox.

Its on par with Dead Alive...less bloody, but a bit more thoughtful.

Shane said...

No. I'll put it on the docket.

I did, by the way, go ahead and find 'Vampire's Kiss' online...watched the hell out of that one!

Barry said...

Ha...glad to hear about Vampires Kiss. I will wait for your review to comment on it.

l@rstonovich said...

Wow I could have sworn I saw Dead Alive in HS. Must have been on a break from college with my HS friend. 1992.

The Frighteners, tho better than 90% of other "horror comedy" movies will disappoint after this. Cannot say it's on par. Have you done Bad Taste? The chunky bits. Vampire's Kiss was a college cult classic. Serious Cage.

Shane said...

Although I've seen 'Bad Taste' and 'Meet the Feebles,' neither are on the blog. The latter was amusing but not a great movie. I didn't like 'Bad Taste' as much.

I will say nothing more about 'Vampire's Kiss' here!