Braindead (Dead Alive) Review

Movie: Braindead (Dead Alive)
By: Maniac E
Date: August 15, 2012

Prepare for complete mental shutdown...

Before Peter Jackson was making epic blockbusters about goblins, rings, and a giant gorilla climbing the empire state building, he was dabbling in horror-comedy. He brought us two genre gems. THE FRIGHTENERS and of course, BRAIN DEAD aka DEAD ALIVE, aka THE GORIEST FUCKING MOVIE EVER MADE! Now that's a tagline I can get behind. Throughout the years the movie is still on a level only most Ittenbach movies can get. Splatter for the masses and one of the best top notch productions in its genre.

The story begins with a zoo employee and some local assistants capturing a Sumatran Rat Monkey. Before they can egress from the primitive area that is the species' natural habitat, a horde of natives surround them. The zoo dork tries to impress the tribesmen with some official papers. Of course, the primitives start throwing spears at the specimen-collecting party. The zoo fellow and his porters immediately run away. During the escape, the rat monkey scratches the zoo employee. I guess that is bad, because the assistants immediately cut off the affected body parts. Unfortunately, one of the scratches is on the man's forehead... Despite the fact that even being scratched by a rat monkey necessitates immediate bloody amputation, the evil little creature is flown back to the New Zealand zoo. That is where the main characters, Lionel and Paquita, encounter the accursed animal. They are visiting the zoo on a date. In fact, they are visiting the zoo on their very first date. And the rest of it is just blood guts and more!


Braindead is a very well-rounded horror movie. It's funny. It has likable characters. The special effects are practical and fantastic. And then there is the gore. Oh the wonderful abundance of gore. Picture any scene of dismemberment in your head and I guarantee that it will be in this movie. Did you picture a lawn mower massacre by chance? Well it's in the movie!! It has been tagged as 'the goriest movie ever made' due to the 300 liters of stage blood used in the final scene, alone. That's a lot of corn syrup! Watching the main character, Lionel, transform from a sniveling mamma's boy to a full-fledged zombie destroying bad ass is a treat. He is great as the nerdy anti-hero that everyone is rooting for.


But wait there is more! Yes, more nudity that is! For a American movie there are a lot of boobs running around on the screen. We aren't getting any crack whore kind of things, nope we got some hotties showing off their assets. Names are not important but grades are. Without a doubt, Cristina Tiberia gets an A, Sarah Grant Brendecke gets a B+, Michelle Tomlinson gets a B- and some other chick gets a C. It might seem wrong but its all for the movie and this makes the movie even cheesier which in the end is a good thing.


Brain Dead kinda gets ZZZZZZZZs with some badly written dialogue and goofy makeup effects. But Clarence's snarky one liners had me laughing a few times. His zingers zinged and I have to admit, I chuckled a few times. But being low budget, you can smell the cheese and it's extra velveetay. What can ya do right? Brain Dead ain't the best throwback but it's done with fun and care and Kevin Tenney knows what us gorehounds and breasthounds want. All of this is packaged into Brain Dead and I had fun nostalgia-ing to my VHS days. What more can you ask?


If you haven't given this one a chance, see it. Gore and splatter fans, especially. If you liked Lamberto Bava's "Demons", you'll love this. Bava is left in the dust. Though Jackson would not have been able to make such a film without the precedents of Bava and Herschel Gordon Lewis... so really this is just the latest in a long tradition of gore cinema. Sadly, in the twenty years since, I don't think we've seen any big rivals.



Braindead (Dead Alive)


Braindead (Dead Alive)


Peter Jackson






Timothy Balme, Diana Penalver and Elizabeth Moody