B-Movie Corner: ‘Dead Alive’ features gore, zombies and slapstick comedy
Long before “Lord of the Rings” native New Zealander Peter Jackson directed offbeat, over the top films that were panned critically but developed huge cult followings. “Dead Alive,” originally released in 1992 under the title “Braindead” is one of those films.
The film gained a following due to one review stating it is “the goriest fright film of all time.” Many films grab lines from reviews to help promote the film, but many are not true, rest assured this is a true statement.
“Dead Alive” follows the hapless Lionel as he lives with his overbearing mother and tries to navigate his love life. Lionel attempts to date the local shopkeeper’s daughter and takes her to the zoo. The zoo happens to hold the rare Sumatran Rat-Monkey recently brought back after an expedition.
While at the zoo, Lionel’s mother spies on the couple and winds up being bitten by the animal, the bite turns out to be deadly. Lionel’s mother turns into a zombie, but to “protect” her he keeps her locked in the basement while trying to maintain his relationship.
The film is full of slapstick humor, over the top gore and gross-out scenes. One such scene features Lionel’s mother slowly turning into a zombie with open sores, one of these sores squirts puss into a guest’s pudding and yes, it is consumed.
Lionel spends most of the film trying to maintain his mother in the basement with anesthetic. However, she does manage to get out and causes several other individuals to become infected. Lionel does his best to manage all of the zombies in his basement.
As the film progresses there are zombie babies, kung-fu priests, and lawnmower massacre scenes, all of which are images that you will never forget.
While the plot sounds ridiculous, it is a horror film and is no more outlandish than a hockey masked killer coming back from the grave repeatedly. It is a film that is not for everyone.
The over the top gore and bizarre scenes may leave some wondering what they are watching, but if you are a fan of the bizarre, have been told your sense of humor is “strange,” and have a strong stomach than “Dead Alive” may be the film you have been waiting to see.
Fans of straight horror films with no comedy elements may be left out in the cold, but “Dead Alive” has a cult following for one reason, it is a great film with a very unique voice. This is required viewing for horror fans, just go into it with an open mind.