A Matter of Splatter



As its Halloween feature, the Belcourt is showing Peter Jackson's hilarious early splatter movie Dead-Alive for two days only, tonight and tomorrow night. The Belcourt's Toby Leonard says this print is so pristine it's never even been projected before.

If you've never seen this, you're missing possibly the greatest gross-out movie of all time. Some 300 liters of fake blood were used during the climax alone. Heads roll. Hands roll. Arms and legs fly. At one point a zombie's reanimated skull skids around a bloody floor like an eye-rolling hockey puck. Even though Jackson didn't win for this movie, the idea that the guy who made this would someday deliver an Oscar acceptance speech almost singlehandedly redeems the awards. (And let's not forget his Meet the Feebles, the cinema's reigning venereal puppet movie.) Not for nothing is the Belcourt handing out free vomit bags with every ticket.

Above: the notorious "cream scene," which will either have you rolling under your desk or running to the nearest washroom. (A word of warning: as gross-out moments go, this doesn't even make the movie's top 50.) After the jump, here's the blurb from this week's Scene, which doesn't appear online.
In the early 1990s, if you had predicted that an exuberant pair of low-budget gorehounds would become the two hottest directors in Hollywood, you would have been fitted for a straitjacket. Yet the Spider-Man movies finally placed Sam Raimi atop the A list, and his disciple, New Zealand director Peter Jackson, made New Line Cinema the most successful gambler in movie history with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Each film is as personal and entertaining as blockbusters get, but I still prefer the yucky delirium of the directors' disreputable early work—and that includes this flabbergasting 1992 splatter-punk spectacle, Jackson's heroic assault on good taste and a strong contender for Goriest Movie Ever Made. When the bite of a "Sumatran rat monkey" (seen crated in Jackson's King Kong) triggers a contagion of walking death in a New Zealand town, only one solution remains: total liquefaction. And the only weapon that the hero (Timothy Balme) has to confront hundreds of bloodthirsty ghouls is...a lawn mower. The result is a Tex Avery cartoon of gushing blood, flying limbs and visceral hyperbole, a movie that gets funnier with each disgusting new sight gag. Jackson's debt to Raimi can be found in the roller-coaster camerawork and the slapstick carnage: the unrelenting second half represents some kind of triple-dog-dare for the weak of stomach. And yet the excessive gruesomeness is pretty damn funny—especially in the berserk gutmuncher-versus-pushmower finale. Hobbits beware.


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