Plot: What’s it about?
It seems fast food has become more popular than ever imagined, as new intergalactic chains have opened, complete with exotics foods of all kinds. This might seem like a great economic boost for some aliens out there, but some cultures dine on unusual foods, like domesticated animals or in some cases, perhaps even humans. This is what one chain of stores specializes in and as such, they’re always in need of new product, since their human based foods are more popular than a keg of beer in a frat house. So a team of aliens venture to a small town in New Zealand, where they plan to harvest some materials and continue to rake in the serious greenbacks. But when reports of the UFO are taken by members of New Zealand’s air & space defense branch, a band of workers are dispatched to uncover the truth. Can a handful of humans somehow stand up to the legions of alien forces and if not, will humans simply become the universe’s cattle and be herded, slaughtered, and then devoured?
Bad Taste was made on weekends over a four year period, but all the hard work has paid off, as it has become a cult classic. The buckets of blood & guts, endless laughs, and overall wild, fun tone make this one a blast to watch, especially with a packed house. The action is not for the squeamish to be sure, but it is loads of fun and ranks as one of my favorite films of all time. It has ham handed acting and low production values, but that doesn’t mean a thing here, as Bad Taste overcomes all the obstacles it faces. It also launched the career of Peter Jackson, who has went on direct several other awesome movies, all of which retain the same fun, often blood soaked approach. I simply cannot recommend this movie enough and man, has Anchor Bay outdone themselves here. As they sometimes do, Anchor Bay has released has two versions and this review covers the two disc limited edition. You can also purchase just the movie disc, but if you’re a fan of Bad Taste, this is the version you’ll want to own. I would have liked some additional supplements, but the transfer is superb, the effort with the audio is outstanding, and the price is more than reasonable, so this one is very highly recommended.
This is one hell of a debut picture and unlike most directors, Peter Jackson put his true heart & soul into Bad Taste. He funded the entire production until right at the end, when he was granted some resources, based upon the completed materials on hand. As I mentioned before, Jackson shot the film on weekends and as his paychecks allowed, which meant that when the production wrapped, it was four years beyond the start. With his friends in the leads and even taking on a role himself, Jackson sprung into action and put together this improvised bash, covered with blood and gore elements, from start to finish. Even with a lower than low budget, Jackson manages some great work here and even created his own steadi-cam of sorts, with a total cost of fifteen bucks. Jackson has also remained close to the material that launched his career, never moving away from unusual topics or liberal doses of the red stuff. Other films directed by Jackson include Forgotten Silver, Dead Alive (a.k.a. Braindead), The Frighteners, Meet the Feebles, and Heavenly Creatures, as well as the upcoming Lord of the Rings series.
Video: How does it look?
Bad Taste is presented in a 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I was amazed from second one here, as the image looks so clean and sharp, you’d never know it was made for scraps over an extensive period of time. I’ve seen more than a few home video versions and all have been pretty lame, though a couple were watchable. This new transfer is not just watchable however, as it is superb and should thrill fans to no end. The print has some grain evident, but minimal blemishes and such, very impressive work there. The colors display bright, bold hues and are free from error, while black levels are rich and provide more than adequate detail. I don’t know how it was done, but Anchor Bay has hit a home run here with Bad Taste, without a doubt.
Audio: How does it sound?
As this movie was made for chicken feed, it is no surprise that the audio is less than reference level, even with two new state of the art soundtracks present. Anchor Bay has included a Dolby Digital EX option and a DTS ES track, which means the remixing sessions probably cost more than the actual production of the film. As expected, the material simply lacks the sound design to take full advantage of these mixes, but the movie sounds good and in the end, you can’t ask for much more effort than this, I wouldn’t think. The sound effects have a bit of punch at times, but often sound thin and ineffective, though that has always been the case with Bad Taste. I’d rather have a thin audio track than one that alters the sound design however, so no serious complaints there. The dialogue is solid also, but still remains a shade thinner than I’d like, though this mix does enhance the vocals as much as possible. This release also includes a 2.0 surround option, in case that better suits your home theater needs.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This two set isn’t as loaded as some of Anchor Bay’s other Limited Edition releases, but I think the price is well justified in the end. The first disc contains the film itself, as well as a talent file on Peter Jackson and the film’s theatrical trailer. The second holds the main attraction however, which is the beloved featurette on the film’s production, titled Good Taste Made Bad Taste. The piece runs just under half an hour and is a real treat to watch, as Jackson reveals all about the movie and how it was made. In addition to Jackson’s insights, we also meet his parents, hear from other cast & crew members, and view some clips from the movie. This is a terrific featurette and is a wonderful inclusion here, well worth the extra cash for the two disc set.