Horror Month 2009: Braindead (Dead Alive, 1992)


Horror Month 2009 welcomes into its ranks quite possibly the goriest film to ever grace the big screen!

Screenplay By: Peter Jackson, Stephen Sinclair & Fran Walsh
Directed By: Peter Jackson

I realized as I was about to start my review for Braindead that every introduction I was thinking of I had either used recently or quite often. Talk about how the movie just wants to have fun, wait, used that a few weeks back. Okay, how about Braindead’s straight forward nature and its simplicity, wait, used that about a week ago. Hmmm, what about my spiel where I convey the fact that I am having trouble thinking of what to say about a film? Never mind, the whole reason that’s my spiel is because I use it far too often. I don’t know how the heck to handle the introduction paragraph to Braindead, well, I guess that’s not true since this is the introduction paragraph in question. That takes care of that, oh, I am a sly dog indeed!

Now that that my less than clever attempt at a humorous intro is out of the way I have to talk about the actual film, clearly it’s only downhill from here. Braindead is a cult hit for a number of different reasons, most notably because of the fervor that came attached with its more than the norm gore. However, if that were its only claim to fame it probably wouldn’t have garnered the attention it has through the years. In my humble opinion the main culprit behind Braindead’s longevity in the cult department is its director, Peter Jackson. Long before he became a world famous and well respected director of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy he micromanaged this ghastly entry into the horror genre.

Once you get past the director Braindead takes shape as its own beast, but it never quite loses the flashes that let you know you are watching a Peter Jackson film. I wasn’t lying when I said Braindead is possibly the goriest film to ever grace the big screen, it is certainly the goriest film I have ever seen. With the amount of gore that Jackson tosses at the viewer it would have been easy for Braindead to get lost in said gore. The key difference between Braindead and a movie like Hostel that I have decried for its depiction of gore is the fun that Braindead has with the gore. It is over the top but it revels in its over the top nature, and it has fun with the gore. At a certain point Braindead becomes a gore only movie, it drops any pretense of being some other type of movie and drives at the viewer full force with as much gore as possible.

There honestly isn’t much to Braindead beyond its fun nature, that’s not a knock on the film, it’s a realization of the type of movie Braindead wants to be. It is the type of film that throws everything it can think of at the viewer in the name of fun. For the most part Braindead succeeds, although I did find myself becoming disinterested after kung fu priest and before the zombie party. That stretch of the film doesn’t last all that long however, and the zombie party is something to behold. For gore aficionados Braindead has to be paradise, for the rest of us it’s anywhere from a good to a very good film. Braindead plays with its audience and has fun, if you decide to check Braindead out you should have fun too.





5 responses to “Horror Month 2009: Braindead (Dead Alive, 1992)

  1. man you are a sly dog.. am always impressed though at how you can review a different movie every day and keep things fresh. not seen brain dead, not my type of film to be honest, but should get round to it eventually
    with horror month nearly over Bill, are you able to tell us what your scariest movie is? or are you revealing that on Hallowe’en night?

  2. I plan on doing an awards post with various categories either the day before or on Halloween itself. Only eligible films will be the ones I watched for this Horror Month. Netflix screwed up in sending me my DVDs though, so there may or may not be one more entry depending on when they get the last movie I wanted to watch for the month to me.

    Thanks for the kind words, sometimes it is difficult to write day after day, and that’s one of the reasons why I pulled back on the amount of movies I’ve been reviewing. Horror Month makes it appear that I’m reviewing a lot, but I’ll only end up reviewing maybe 15 movies at most this month. Horror Month does mean a backlog in my regular reviews though, so next month I may post a review every day as I catch up with my regular reviews and marathons. But, as long as people keep reading and enjoying my reviews it’s all good. 🙂

  3. My aversion (read: cowardly, cowardly cowardice) to horror films has kept me from watching this, but I suppose the pretentious cinephile in me allows for enjoying well made horror (Alien, The Shining, Audition, etc.), so I’ve been meaning to watch this. It’s strange that I haven’t considering how much I love horror-comedy like SotD and of course Raimi’s Dead series.

  4. What a classic…review and film 🙂 This film works exactly because it is conscious of what it is, what it is trying to do and wink wink nudges you into going along with it. It dares you not to like it.

    I don’t take that dare because I LOVED it.

  5. Jake – Even if you’re not a huge fan I think the absurdity of Braindead would appeal to you.

    Paul – Yep, Braindead knows what it is and has a lo of fun because of that.

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