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Bad Taste

Though it wears its “Bad Taste” as a badge of honor, Peter Jackson’s low-budget debut is an influential and delightful labor of love.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (New Zealand), our journey began.

It involved a future filmmaking legend — long before he played with Hobbits, dragons, and magic rings, and years before he had 80s heartthrob Michael J. Fox fighting ghosts.

Even before he took a deep and thought-provoking dive into the friendship of murderous teens, the legendary Peter Jackson made gross-out horror comedies on a shoestring budget.

His cult horror status is celebrated to this day, with his back catalog, including Braindead (Dead Alive), one of the goriest comedies ever put to film, Meet The Feebles, a filthy puppet show which is like the muppets on acid, and his debut feature, Bad Taste, a gross-out sci-fi horror comedy.

It took a long time for the world to appreciate Jackson’s debut feature.

Bad Taste was years in the making.

Jackson was working full time and filming on the weekends, with friends working for free.

A true labor of love for the director, the production was eventually pushed over the finish line when the New Zealand Film Commission funded its completion.

The film starts as a rag-tag group of military agents find that a small New Zealand town has been taken over by aliens,  bent on turning the human population into the menu of their intergalactic fast food chain. They are the first and last line of defense against the glutinous alien menace.

From there, all chaos, hilarity, vulgarity, and gore ensues.

There is even a famous scene involving Peter Jackson fighting himself as two characters, which was put together with some clever low-budget editing!

Yes, Bad Taste is disgusting, absurd, and filled with crude humor.

More importantly, though, it is a very charming film where the passion and love for the project shine through.

Bad Taste has always had a special place in my heart because it is such a magical piece of low-budget cinema. But it was also the first movie my wife and I watched together.

Because of the buckets and buckets of gore on display in the film, it was initially banned in Queensland, which it proudly boasted on the cover of one of its subsequent releases. It had also been the victim of cuts on various releases. But these days, we can all appreciate it in its full, uncut glory.

Bad Taste, along with Jackson’s other early films, has gained a massive cult following over the years.

These films have also arguably shaped the way low-budget horror is made. I believe you can see Peter Jackson’s mark on films like Shaun of the Dead, Deathgasm, and more recently, Terrifier, to name just a few.

The fact that horror doesn’t need to shy away from the horrific and the downright disgusting to be a comedy is a testament to the art that Peter Jackson created at the end of the 80s.

Bad Taste is turning 35 this year. Celebrate this low-budget indie classic by raising a refreshing glass of steaming alien vomit and checking this genre gem out now for free on Tubi.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5

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