Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Timothy Balme, Diana Penalver, Elizabeth Moody, Ian Watkin, Brenda Kendall, Stuart Devenie
Before he was raking in the cash and winning Academy Awards as the director of those breathtaking Lord of the Rings movies, New Zealand-born filmmaker Peter Jackson was a champion within the low-budget gore circuit. And Dead Alive, a zombie laugh-machine that starts off gross and culminates in an orgy of viscera and splashy blood, is Jackson’s crown jewel of endless entertainment.
Yes, we’d actually prefer it over any of the Rings movies, which certainly says something about us—after all, Dead Alive features such revolting high points as someone unknowingly eating soup that comes complete with an elderly woman’s fallen-off ear. But that is child’s play compared to what happens in the film’s unbelievably vile finale, when lunk-headed protagonist Lionel (Timothy Balme) fires up a chainsaw and slices through a reasonably sized army of the living dead.
With the vigor of Charlie Sheen running wild in the Playboy Mansion, Jackson shoots all of the supercharged carnage in such a way that it’s impossible not to flash a big old cheese-grin. Once again, we’ll take a guy cutting his way out of an enormous monster’s womb over that little dude Gollum any day.