Bad Taste (1987)

bad taste

“I’m a Derek and Dereks don’t run!”

Justin’s rating: kill the rabbit kill the rabbit kill the rabbit

Justin’s review: It’s hard to describe the sheer ecstasy a movie viewer can behold by simply watching hyperkinetic New Zealanders go on a killing rampage against Alien Zombie Rednecks. When there’s chainsaws involved, ecstasy becomes something dangerously close to wedding night bliss. Bad Taste is simply the most intellectually-free member of the splatterpunk market to date.

Even the dumbest Communications major out there will find it easy to leap into this plot. There are a horde of bad aliens (versus the good Reeses Pieces-prone aliens) who have wiped out an entire town to make the dead into Human McNuggets and ship them back home.

Between our eventual fate at the hands of these wonderfully dumb geeks is the four members of the Astral Investigation and Defense Squad (or Service, I forget). Figure out that acronym for a minute. These guys look like they’re auditioning for extras on Dukes of Hazzard: overweight, overanxious, and not the smoothest character actors you’ll ever meet. Still, they’re a comedy troupe for our times, and they’re lead by Derek.

From the start, it’s easy to suspect that not all was well with Derek’s childhood. Letting out surpressed rage by torturing an alien captive with a bayonet, Derek finds his true calling in the butcher and slaughter of our star-crossed friends. Sure, he gets shoved off a cliff and has to hold his brains in while he goes on a killing spree, but that’s the small price to pay when you defend our planet. Derek also gets to drive a car that appears to have two stories.

If you’re starting to think that there might be, shall we say, gratuitous violence, the kind of violence that Congress frowns on and blames everything upon, including the rapid depletion of the Spice Girls, then you might be right. This movie is directed by Peter Jackson (his first film, actually), and his influences in Bad Taste would again be seen in the gore of Dead Alive and the humor of The Frighteners. It’s not a hard video box to spot, either, as the alien on the cover is flipping innocent storegoers off (one finger for the US version, two for the Aussie one!).

If there’s no other way to possibly convince you to see this masterpiece, know this: At one hour and eighteen minutes into the film, an unwitting sheep gets blown up by a rocket launcher. Such was the enormity of this moment that I found myself rewinding three times to leave my pants properly soaking from the intense hysteria I fell prone to.

So give up now and join the alien resistance. Drag a few of your “mates” along and prepare to say “bloody hell” as our planet fights back. Today… is our Independence Day. And tomorrow is bingo.


  • The car has carboard cutouts of the Beatles
  • Lots of sledgehammers lying around
  • Director Peter Jackson shot the film on weekends over a four-year period with friends playing the lead roles. Jackson funded most of the film himself until towards the end of the shoot when the New Zealand film commission gave him money to finish his project after being impressed with what he’d already produced. The entire movie was improvised.
  • All the dialogue in the film was dubbed after the original sound tapes went missing.
  • Jackson constructed his own counterweighted steady-cam device for this film that cost only $15.

Groovy Quotes

Derek: Stick all the bits of brain in a plastic bag, Barry.

Derek: I’m a Derek and Dereks don’t run!

[After drop-kicking an alien’s head out of a window]
Ozzy: The old magic is still there.

Derek: Stay where you are then, and I’ll give you an eye witness description of this, intergalatic wanker!

Alien Leader: Tomorrow we’re having *you* for lunch!

Derek: There’s no glowing fingers on these bastards.

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