Cinema Obscura

Fact: The guy who made Bad Taste and Meet the Feebles won an Oscar before the guy who made Taxi Driver and The Last Temptation of Christ. Think about it for a minute. You can assume the Academy never saw the heroin-shooting, freaky-sex-fiending puppets in Feebles, and they probably hadn’t even heard of Bad Taste, Jackson’s weekend-filmed directorial debut full of hokey brain-eating aliens and featuring a butcher shop’s supply of guts and goop and Ed Wood-caliber production values. The props are clearly homemade, the cast consists of Jackson’s friends, and Jackson himself plays two rolls: Derek, a government agent with a smashed head who holds his brains in with a top hat; and Robert, an alien who nourishes the other invaders with his neon-green puke.

There are a few moments of effed-up brilliance amid the leaky intestines and barf-eating, and the film at times seems an ingenious link between Evil Dead 2 and Planet Terror. But the squishy slapstick frustratingly yo-yos between a genre masterpiece and an embarrassing amateur production on the level of that fat kid playing with his light saber.

The adlibbed and overdubbed dialogue is sometimes hilarious, but more often barely intelligible thanks to the cast’s thick Kiwi accents. Peter Vere-Jones does a brilliant job voicing Lord Crumb, the intergalactic fast-food restaurateur come to earth to marinate humans in his 11 secret herbs and spices, but he gets too little time for overacting as the film devolves into a plotless series of increasingly gory gross-out gags. And considering we’ve already seen a vomit-slurping dinner party, the tripe and corn-syrup act gets stale by the time the credits roll.

If you can appreciate sick jokes and gore, or want to practice suppressing your gag reflex, Bad Taste is worth watching, but it’s hard to track down. DVD copies are available on ebay, but your best bet is renting it via Netflix or a similar service, because unless you’re the kind of person who bookmarks “Two Girls One Cup,” you won’t want a second helping.

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