Reviewed July 29th, 2002 by David Nusair
Made on a shoestring budget by Peter Jackson, Bad Taste certainly lives up to its title. Though it doesnít contain much in the way of plot development or interesting characters, the film still manages to entertain due to the over-the-top gore and storyline.
The movie takes place in Jacksonís native New Zealand (not surprisingly, given that he had to shoot the movie using his friends over four years), and aliens have landed. Theyíre on our planet to kill us and sell our meat at an intergalactic fast food joint. Fortunately, thereís an intrepid band of rebels (armed with whatever they can get their hands on) whose sole purpose is to kill as many of these aliens Ė disguised as humans Ė as they possibly can. That about does it plotwise; the majority of the flick is devoted to one disgusting makeup effect after another.
Bad Taste never attempts to cover up the fact that itís clearly a low-budget affair. The terrible acting and complete lack of sets ensure that the movie will never be mistaken for something produced by a studio. Still, the movie does manage to remain somewhat enjoyable because of Jacksonís go-for-broke attitude. Disgusting moments that seem as though theyíre the peak of grossness are often topped within minutes. Take, for example, an early scene in which one of the aliens has the top half of his head sliced off. Blood squirts out of his head and an eyeball barely clings to the skull. Thatís pretty gross, but just a little bit later we witness a fellow alien actually eating out of that half head. Itís bizarre setpieces such as that one that make Bad Taste worth watching.
Jacksonís attempts at humor often fall flat, such as the rebel whoís apparently mortally wounded after falling off a cliff. He finally comes to, but the back of his head has a big chunk of skin hanging off it Ė leaving brain exposed. He manages to close the wound with his belt, but occasionally picks up random pieces of brain and stuffs them in there. Iím not entirely sure any of that is possible, really. Crazy stuff like that works if weíre talking about the aliens, because who knows what their physiology is capable of. But with a human, itís not only implausible (obviously), but itís just plain dumb and unfunny.
Still, disregarding that minor complaint, Bad Taste is a lot of fun. Itíll probably work best when watched with an enthusiastic group, and a copious amount of alcohol on standby. And as gory as it is, itís still nothing compared to Jacksonís next movie, Dead Alive.
Audio: As is par for the course for Anchor Bayís special editions, Bad Taste comes with a DD 5.1 and DTS 6.1 ES soundtrack. Neither are particularly fantastic, considering the film was shot mono. Still, it is nice to hear such an expansive soundtrack for such a little film, so kudos to Anchor Bay.
Bad Taste is presented with a 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer, and itís pretty exceptional. Given the incredibly low budget, the movie had no right to look this crisp and clean. But it does, and in no way looks like a movie from the Ď80s shot on a shoe-string budget.
Extras: A trailer and a Jackson bio.
Conclusion: Bad Taste looks and sounds great, so fans wonít want to miss this.
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