June 20, 2013

The LAMBcast: Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (1992)


This week, I joined a group of intelligent bloggers on the LAMBcast to discuss Peter Jackson’s 1992 gorefest Dead Alive. While this offbeat zombie film is different then his recent blockbusters, his technical expertise is apparent. The practical effects are stunning and ridiculous, which makes it worthwhile even if you aren’t a fan of horror films. I’ve seen most of the classics but wouldn’t call myself an aficionado. Even so, there was plenty here to make it a fun experience. The blood and guts are played for comedy, so it isn’t the type of movie that will induce nightmares. It may be unpleasant at times, particularly when bodies are being reduced to slimy zombies. Slime is flying everywhere, and Jackson mines plenty of icky moments in the early going. When the chaos picks up, the gore is so pervasive that it’s tough to even keep up with all the craziness that’s on display.

Timothy Balme stars as Lionel Cosgrove, a mild-mannered guy who’s connected a bit too closely with his mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody). She’s a nasty individual who keeps him confined with manipulative tactics. When he goes on a date with Paquita (Diana PeƱalver) to the zoo, he mother spies on them and hopes to break up the burgeoning romance. The grisly Sumatran Rat Monkey has been captured and brought to this zoo, and it bites her arm. This attack starts a transformation that makes her a zombie, and Vera starts bringing others into the fold. The silly part is that Lionel continues to care for his mother after her change. It’s clear that she’s not the same person, yet he can’t help himself and puts her in the basement with several other zombies. He seems to have the situation under control but inadvertently brings about a massive bloodbath. The final act is filled with outlandish violence and includes a zombie baby, an organ monster, and other gruesome evils. It’s hard to take anything too seriously, and the gags become more bizarre with each successive kill.

Dead Alive was the Movie of the Month for the Large Association of Movie Blogs, also known as The LAMB. It won the vote and became the feature topic for this week’s LAMBcast. It’s good to spotlight a lesser-known film that isn’t recognized by people who aren’t horror fans. It isn’t really my cup of tea, but I’m glad to have checked it out. It gives an interesting look at Jackson’s origins as a B-movie filmmaker. Joining me were guest host Jay Cluitt from Life vs. Film, Lindsay and Jess from French Toast Sunday, and Kristen from Journeys In Classic Film. If you like this film or are just curious to learn more, you should definitely listen to this show. We also gave our rants and raves of the week and played a game of movie knowledge. You can listen to this LAMBcast episode by clicking on this link.

6 comments:

  1. I remember seeing this 10 years ago and I was like... "what the fuck am I watching?" It was insane yet absolutely comical. I realized that the guy who was making the Lord of the Rings trilogy did this film. Then came the zombie baby and I completely lost it to the point that I couldn't stop laughing in that moment where Lionel is fighting the baby at a playground. It was so wrong but dammit, how can anyone not laugh at that moment. Plus, I love that line... "I kick arse for the lord!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That scene with the baby is so ridiculous. I have a three-month-old at home, and I think that made it even funnier. The priest fight in the cemetery is also one of the best moments. Those worked for me even better than the gross-out parts.

      Delete
  2. Still haven't listened to the episode, but I wrote a post for it myself... You're right about choosing a fairly known movie, since I probably wouldn't have watched this one if it weren't for the LAMB. I had seen Bad Taste, PJs first movie, and hated it. But this one I really liked. The effects are gorgeous and the story is so ridiculous, so it's a hell of a ride but a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice. I still need to check out your post about it. I'm a little wary of pulling these articles on Dead Alive up at work. Who knows what pictures will appear? I think the episode went well, and it was great fun. Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. SUCH a good film. Simply the best. Better than all the rest.

    http://www.zombiehall.com/2012/11/dead-alive.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that you're a fan. I think there are a lot of them. Thanks!

      Delete