Dead Alive – 1992 – Retro Showcase


As we find ourselves drawing closer to Halloween, I want to look back at a hidden gem — tucked away into cult following. Bypassing the average movie goer — becoming a classic. Before “Lord of the Rings” and his epic 2005 version of “King Kong” — Academy Award winning director Peter Jackson gave the world the most brutally gory midnight movie of all time — Dead Alive.

Our story revolves around Lionel (Timothy Balme), a mamas boy on the large scale. Controlled and manipulated by his scowling mother (Elizabeth Moody), she grows jealous when Paquita (Diana Penalver) enters the picture. Drawn to Lionel by a tarot reader, she feels as if fate is drawing them together. On a date at the zoo, Mother sabotages the date and ends up getting bit by a crazed Sumatra monkey carrying a zombifying disease. His mother soon dies a horrible, decaying death — only to come back as a zombie and spreading the terror. Lionel takes matters into his own hands and tries to keep his mother and other zombies a secret in his basement, culminating in one of the biggest — most gruesome finale any film today would have trouble topping.

This actually isn’t Peter Jackson’s first foray into horror, tackling movies like “The Frighteners” and “Bad Taste” before he started winning Oscars and making every movie 3 hours. Although I think “Dead Alive” is his masterpiece, delivering gore on a whole new level. Throwing in everything AND the kitchen sink, horrifying and sometimes hilarious.

I remember seeing this movie as a child on late night television (where were my parents?). All I remember was the finale of the film, it stayed with me for years until I finally saw it again a few years back. I show this to my friends to absolutely gross them out — works every time. Seeing how far Jackson takes the violence is staggering, so over the top you’ll shake your head is disbelief.

Such scenes are faces getting ripped off, ass kicking karate priest, straight up zombie sex on a table, a lawnmower being used to “mow” through a hall of zombies, decapitations, intestines coming to life and a zombie baby. This doesn’t even touch the tip of the bloody iceberg. So much happens, so much blood that by the end you will be exhausted.

It starts out as a supernatural romance but quickly evolves into an all out gore fest, perfect for a background movie at your Halloween party. There is enough gross out scenes that will catch your guests attention, creating huge conversations about this crazy ass movie.

Getting to the final scene. A party ensues at Lionel’s mothers’s house, things go down wrong (of course) leading to a 20 minute long scene where every guest at the party is killed in a over the top fashion. It has to be scene to be believed, great FX layered by trick photography lend themselves nicely here. Steer clear from the TV and VHS version of the film as 12 minutes of gore is missing, the DVD and Blu-ray have the missing scenes intact.

Throw this bad boy in, pop some popcorn, grab a beer and enjoy the most bloody movie I can think of. 10/10