The fact that Peter Jackson, the director of this cheerfully repulsive alien-cannibal comedy, went on to win multiple Oscars fifteen years later is one of the finer ironies of Academy history.It certainly makes good on its title. Ravenous extra-terrestrials (“No glowing fingers on these bastards,” growls Jackson as Derek, member of the Astral Investigation and Defense Service) land in New Zealand, assume human form, and commence converting the locals into fast food. It’s up to our boys in the A.I.D.S. to put a stop to it.
Twenty-two when he first began shooting this on weekends in 1983, Jackson scraped together $400,000, gathered friends from his newspaper job, and shot in 16mm, doing half of everything himself. Here, Jackson inaugurated the style of “splatstick” (partly inspired by such sanguinary Monty Python sketches as “Sam Peckinpah’s Salad Days”) that would serve him well later. At the time, Jackson said he didn’t want to presume to the thrones of Sam Raimi, George Romero, or Stuart Gordon; but in Bad Taste he outsplats all three, crafting the ultimate “Bunch of Guys Set Out to Make the Grossest, Coolest Movie Ever” project.
Like Raimi, Jackson was never a horror director so much as a comedy director — even the most disgusting passages (“Aren’t I lucky,” beams an alien as he sucks down a bowl of steaming vomit, “I got a chunky bit”) and scenes of ultra-violence are timed for laughs, not shock.I want this Peter Jackson back. The Peter Jackson who could make a fun, short movie for peanuts. Don't you?