Bad Taste (1987) Movie Review

Terry Potter
Pete O’Herne
Craig Smith
Mike Minett

Dir: Peter Jackson

Remember when stand-up comedian and cult movie megabuff Barry Dodds wrote on why “Bad can make Good“? Well he’s back, and writing about one of his favourite films.

Now, I feel guilty about writing this for “Bad Taste” isn’t a bad movie. However, I’m sure that many of today’s cinema goers would call the film such a word. But it’s brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

The name ‘Peter Jackson’ conjures up many images of cinema for people. Be it the Gonads (Christ knows what they’re really called, LOTR was for geeks when I was at school and it remains that way in my mind to this very day) attacking some kid’s ring (fnar) or King Kong climbing a building in a CGI wankathon. But not to me. When I think Jackson, I think of “The Boys”.

The plot of Bad Taste is simple. Aliens have landed on Earth and human beings are the biggest taste sensation in the galaxy. They are here to gather some meat. Think Romeez takeaway in Leeds but with less pigeon/cat/dog. Now the Government can’t let this happen so they call in “The Boys” to deal with the problem. The Boys are a small collection of New Zealand’s finest – the Astro Investigation and Defense Service (AIDS). Armed with a magnum, a few Uzi’s, chainsaw and rocket launcher, these lads are the dog’s bollocks and these alien baaaastards ain’t getting out of Kaihoro without a fight.

The film is a riot of gore and humour and it is low budget to the extreme but you wouldn’t know. This was Jackson’s first big hit and it was made over 4 years with a collection of old school friends, working for no money at all. Jackson himself takes one of the lead roles, Derek, a snorting goof who has some serious head issues later in the movie. Camera rigs were built by hand by the actors, explosives were flirted with, scale miniatures were made and guns are built using aluminium tubes. But it’s done so well, you won’t be able to spot a single one of these.



In the film you can see and feel the love that the cast and crew (who are one and the same) have put into their movie. Every scene has something to laugh at and the effort that has been put into the effects is incredible. Jackson’s mother revealed in the documentary “Good Taste Made Bad Taste” that family meals were ruined as she couldn’t use the oven as Peter would be baking alien heads in there. In fact, the slightly lowered dome head of the aliens are a result of the oven’s restrictive space. There is even one incredible scene in which Jackson fights an alien who is also played by himself. Not a bit of CGI here folks, just quick cutting and dedication.

The plot is kept simple and the film works all the better for it. It’s a succession of quick-fire gags, great visual humour and splatter. The blood flows here with gusto yet the film never feels excessive nor does it ever cross the line into “wacky”. The film was a huge hit, winning awards and giving Jackson a fan base that would help him to release “Braindead” – another comedy horror that I’m sure I will review in time. The film did have some censorship issues around the world but somehow, for the first time ever, the BBFC got the joke and released it in the UK uncut.

I urge you to see this. I’ve avoided giving away the set pieces as there is a real joy in seeing them with no prior knowledge. Get some beers in, get some lads round and remember, Derek’s don’t run…

Barry Dodds is a stand-up comedian and performs regularly throughout the UK. Check your local comedy club’s listings to see when he’s in your town.

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