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31 Days of Horror Movies: Dead Alive

I'm at a bit of a loss to adequately describe today's film, so I'll just dive right in and hope for the best.

Dead Alive (aka Braindead)

It is the case that an artist's work before they become big-time Hollywood movers & shakers is often some of their best work (or at least their most unique). Such is the case with director Peter Jackson. A good decade before he became a household name with the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson helmed one of the quirkiest and most bizarre horror movies I've ever seen.

Dead Alive centers around Lionel, a grown man living at home with his overbearing mom. Lionel falls for a nice young lady and, in one of the first of many strange occurrences, the mother is bit by a Sumatran rat-monkey. This causes her to fall ill and die, then come back as a zombie. Lionel is unable to prevent his undead mother from infecting a number of townsfolk. Soon, there is a hilarious (yes, hilarious) outbreak of zombies.

Much of Dead Alive's humor is derived from its blood and gore. Unlike the more recent, sadistic efforts of Saw and Hostel, this twenty-year-old gem manages somehow to make its bloodiness amusing. It's an extremely gross, and extremely funny movie. It was a blast to watch but, honestly, I'm not sure I'm ready to view it again, at least for awhile.


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