Episode 04 - Braindead

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If you think that the Lord of the Rings adaptation of Peter Jackson is said director's best movie, you're probably too young for this website. Why? Because back in 1992 Peter Jackson directed a movie so awesome that he has never managed to surpass its greatness. It is called Braindead (a.k.a. Dead Alive), and it is one of the goriest horror comedies of all time. It's also one of the funniest of all time, falling only second to Army of Darkness on our list.

The movie kicks off with a relatively tame scene of an explorer attempting to take a rare animal, a Sumatran Rat Monkey away from an island. He runs into natives that try to stop him but he eventually makes it to his jeep with the cage. However, he gets bitten by the Rat Monkey and, when his hired help see the bite on his hand, they stop the jeep and promptly cut off his hand. Then they see another bite on his shoulder, so off goes the arm. Then they see a bite on his forehead, and we get the opening credits after a scream.

So yes, the movie does start out with a bang and the ending of the scene gives us a pretty good preview of what to expect. This is most useful since the following half hour or so is dedicated to building up the main characters of the movie, which is quite admirable for a horror movie. We meet our hero Lionel who lives in a large fancy house with his, to borrow a line from Freddy Krueger, "bitch of a mother" (think Norman Bates' mother, except this one is still alive... for the time being). Lionel gets romantically involved with a woman named Paquita and when they go on a date to the zoo (can you guess where this is going?), Lionel's mother follows them to spy on them and she eventually gets bitten by the Rat Monkey from the opening scene (precisely...). The next day she basically turns into a zombie, and Lionel has to somehow try to keep this problem under lock and key. As you might imagine, things don't quite go according to plan and soon Lionel has several zombies to keep an eye on in the cellar. All this slowly builds up towards the inevitable epic finale during which all the zombies are let loose and a climactic battle ensues between Lionel and the walking dead.

Braindead Trailer

The finale of the movie is arguably the goriest 15 minutes in cinema history. It's difficult to describe the scene without giving too much away, so let's just talk about what's involved in it. The scene involves Lionel, a lawnmower blade, about one hundred zombies, and one giant zombie. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where this combination leads, especially given that we just called the scene "the goriest 15 minutes in cinema history". This sequence features ridiculously over the top violence with scenes such as a zombie getting torn in half, a guy getting the skin literally pulled off his head like a mask, a bunch of torn out intestines coming to life, and many many more. The sequence is so over the top it's not only awesomely disgusting, but also quite hilarious. If you like dark humor, you're going to love the last 15 minutes of Braindead.

Now that's not the only thing that's epically awesome in the movie. We also get to see an elderly priest fighting a group of zombies with kung fu moves that would impress any fan of Bruce Lee movies (and we also get the priest's priceless battlecry, "I kick ass for the lord!", which deserves being quoted just as much as Ash's famous oneliners from Army of Darkness). Then there's the scene in the zoo in which the Rat Monkey is first revealed to the audience. Until that point we only got to see the cage, but not the monkey itself. It's a regular gorefest on its own as the Rat Monkey goes postal on its neighbors in the cell, and then has a confrontation with Lionel's mother which quite clearly shows us that not only is the Rat Monkey a dangerous critter, but Lionel's mother is also not somebody to fuck with. At one point in the movie we get to see Lionel trying to feed four zombies with cereals. The scene is so hilarious that it's impossible to describe, and it is during this scene that two of the zombies sitting by the table engage in an activity that eventually results in the introduction of one of the most absurd characters in the movie (any more detail about this would spoil the experience). We also get some subtle references to classics such as the use of a blender to chop up a zombie's head and a severed hand attacking Lionel.

And let's not forget the biggest asshole in the movie, Lionel's Uncle Les, who shows up about half way through the movie and eventually starts blackmailing Lionel when he discovers the zombies in the cellar. During the climax of the movie, we get to see this character going completely batshit insane when he takes his time to torture a zombie by yanking out its teeth when he should be more concerned with getting away before the rest of the zombies overwhelm him.

But the true highlight of the movie is without a shadow of a doubt the gorefest at the end. Its crude over the top humor and the extreme amounts of gore make it one of the most memorable scenes in the history of horror comedies. The movie is worth checking out for this scene alone, but for the full experience you should watch from start to finish. Especially don't miss out on the priest's fight scene, it's the most awesome part of the movie!

As usual, feel free to discuss the movie at our facebook page. Until next time, good evening!

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