Welcome to another edition of 80s Babies, where we take a look at the sickest and weirdest films to come out of that generation. On the agenda today : the first film by Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson, Bad Taste.
Peter Jackson starred in, produced, wrote, edited and made all of the special effects for the film, which was shot in his hometown of Pukerua Bay, New Zealand. Originally begun as a short film, it was shot primarily on weekends over the course of four years, for a total cost of around $25,000.
The plot revolves around a group of “intergalactic wankers”, who have invaded the fictional New Zealand town of Kaihoro to harvest humans for their outer space fast food franchise. The name of the town was made up by Jackson and his cohorts from the Maori words Kai (food) and horo (quickly) which, loosely translated, could be said to mean ‘fast food’, a play on the fate of the villagers.
Jackson himself plays dual dueling roles in the film, as “Derek” one of the agents of the The Astro Investigation and Defence Service (AIDS) sent to investigate the invasion, and “Robert” a captured alien. In one scene halfway down a cliff, careful editing, utilising shots taken months apart, makes it possible for one character played by Jackson to fight another (Robert has a beard, Derek does not).
Eventually, the “boys” infiltrate the hide-out of the alien restauranteurs, and stumble upon a strange ritual presided over by “Lord Crumb” as he encourages the rest of his followers to stay in human form, no matter how uncomfortable and horrible it makes them feel.
After a horrific green vomit-eating ritual (complete with life-like gurgling and slurping sound effects), the chase is on, and all kinds of chaos ensues, including some of the most inventive and absurd gore effects in history.
Did I mention someone accidentally shoots a poor sheep with a rocket launcher?
“I’m born again! I’m coming to get you bastards!”
The first official biography on Jackson (Peter Jackson: A Film-Maker’s Journey by Brian Sibley) reveals that in 1993, after Jackson’s third film, Dead Alive, he approached the New Zealand Film Commission with plans to make Bad Taste 2 and 3 back-to-back for $7 million.
In Bad Taste 2, the heroes of the first film would travel to an alien planet to save alien hunter Derek, played by Jackson. In Bad Taste 3 the aliens plan to enact revenge on Earth with “a spectacular aerial battle over the city with dozens of flying houses, buzzy bees and Santa Claus”.
Recently Jackson told the New Zealand newspaper The Dominion Post he is still interested in making a sequel to the movie.
But I guess he has just been too busy lately…