Bad Taste (1987) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

You probably don't know who director Peter Jackson is yet, but you will soon. He has finished The Fellowship of the Rings, and will soon follow up with the other two volumes of the long-awaited Lord of the Rings trilogy.

 Bad Taste is a project that he filmed over a period of four years (1983-1987) with several of his friends. Jackson was not a professional filmmaker at the time. He was working on a small newspaper in New Zealand, and he saved up his wages to finance this movie a bit at a time. The New Zealand Film Commission came in with a grant to rescue the film at the end of production. All told, he spent $150,000 (US) to shoot it on 16mm film


none. there are no women in the film except for a disembodied voice
Given those facts, it might be fair to say that this is the best movie ever made by complete amateurs with their own money. It is amazing what they managed to accomplish with little more than imagination, an offbeat sense of humor, and some good filmmaking instincts.

The basic plot: outer space fast food industry executives plan to harvest human meat as a delightful new intergalactic taste sensation. The humans don't choose to go along with the idea. The aliens are opposed by one complete geek and several members of the elite New Zealand team which combats outer space menaces. ("The boys"). The Geek (played by the director, Peter Jackson, who also plays one of the aliens) spends much of the film trying to keep his brains from seeping out of his skull. Luckily, he has quite a good hat.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • 2-disk set

  • Widescreen anamorphic, 1.77:1

  • featurette on the making of the film

 The film is filled with wildly exaggerated violence and gross-outs (people with half of their heads missing, and plenty of bodily wastes), highlighted by a scene in which the boys accidentally explode a sheep with a rocket launcher.

That pretty much says it all. Directed and acted with a deadpan sense of humor, ala "The Avengers", this film has become an international cult favorite with the university crowd. It can be very stupid, and it can be absolutely hilarious.

It is rated an astronomical 7.8 at IMDb with kids under 18, and a solid 6.7 by the 18-29 crowd, but an execrable 4.6 by adults over 45. That's a major polarization by age, and there is also somewhat of a gender component in the ratings. Females don't much like it. So you probably don't want to mess with it unless you are male, under 30, and have a gross sense of humor. But if you fit the target profile, you may be adding this to your list of favorites.

The Critics Vote

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 6.8 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C+. Absolutely a cult film. Not many people will like it, but those who like it will love it.

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