When Lionel Cosgrove takes his date Paquita to the zoo his over-brooding and over-doting mother is bitten by an extremely rare and poisonous Sumatran rat-monkey. The rare specimen was brought back from Skull Island (yes, the same island King-King is from) and legend has it that the monkey is hybrid birthed from when tree dwelling monkeys raped plague carrying rats. The bite turns Lionel’s mum Vera into the walking dead, a contagious and highly disgusting puss filled zombie. This starts a chain of events which forces Lionel to grow up quickly, he has to become the man that stops caring for his undead mother, and instead learns to save the day from the undead and his awful ‘family’ and ‘friends’ who are only interested in any inheritance that might have been left, and parting at Lionel’s expense.
This film is one of my favourite films and stands at the summit of a visceral goretastic splatter and gross-out mountain that has made me the person I am today. It still stands as one of my favourate horror-comedies of all time. It’s not just an absolute corker of a film, it pathed the way for how my cinematic sense would develop as I entered my teenage years. This didn’t just tickle my senses, but the film became a platform that I was able to share with my father who has as an equally terrible sense of humour to me. Since then we have bonded over these types of films with great joy.
Played by Timothy Balme, Lionel is a wonderful loser. The anybody zero who is an undoubtable underdog that must develop to come good in the end. Lionel’s mother, Vera, played by Elizabeth Moody, is cringeworthily brilliant and elicits the kind of emotion that makes hate her and equally sorry for her, and feel sorry and uncomfortable for anyone she encounters. Likewise, Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) does a brilliant job of carrying that same emotion on after Vera’s ‘change’. I feel sorry for Lionel and his girlfriend Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Penalver) throughout as they try to survive the films climax and deal with the next problem which seems to eclipse the last problem. Equally I have to mention Stuart Devenie’s kung-fu action priest character – Father Jon McGruder, who I have quoted throughout my teenage years – brilliant!
It is difficult to believe that this ground-breaking comedy-horror was directed by Peter Jackson years before he went on to make films about Hobbits and Wizards. This is as far away from a multi-million-dollar budget, star studded Hollywood film as it gets. This low budget masterclass isn’t a B or C movie, this created a whole new branding of a Z-Movie.
Have you ever seen zombies have sex? Have you seen abomination of that same zombie sexual encounter go rogue? Have you ever wondered how to rid a house of a party of unwanted zombies? Have you ever seen a Sumatran rat-monkey? If you want answer to those questions, and more then get this film on and enjoy!
It’s funny, it’s sick, it’s disgusting. There is character development, a great plot, a fantastic delivery. Critically awful, but with a massive cult approval, “Braindead” (or “Dead Alive” in some countries) is an absolutely brilliant film and couldn’t be better if it tried. While Jackson’s LOTR and Hobbit films are highly regarded in Hollywood it is this film I could watch on repeat weekly rather than those. This is a ground-breaking, one of kind film, that proves that that over the top isn’t enough over the top enough, that gallons of blood is too little, that you can laugh at dismemberment, and that you can make a fantastic film without Hollywood’s CGI heavy effects. 28 years later, in 2020 this film STILL holds the record for most fake blood used in a film – 300 bloody litres (Take that “Saw IV”, “Cannibal Holocaust”, “Hostel: Part II”, “Piranha 3D”, “Martyrs”, “The Cabin in the Woods”, “Evil Dead”, “Carrie”, and “House of 1000 Corpses”). Realising this fact bumps my rating from a 9 out of 10 to a solid 10/10 – I know it may not be to everyone’s tastes, but this is my review and this film is right on the money for my sick tastes.
Stand back boy, this calls for divine intervention…. I kick arse for the Lord!