Bad Taste (1987)
By: Craig Villinger on March 11, 2002 | Comments
Anchor Bay | Region 1, NTSC | 1.66:1 (16:9 enhnaced) | English DD 5.1 | 91 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Pete O'Herne, Mike Minett, Terry Potter, Peter Jackson, Doug Wren
Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Ken Hammon, Tony Hiles
Country: New Zealand
Members of the Astro Investigation and Defence Service are sent to the small kiwi town of Kaihoro to investigate reports of "Extra Terrestrial Activity". They discover that the town is completely deserted, and it isn't long before the shocking truth is revealed: New Zealand has been invaded by evil aliens intent on turning human beings into an intergalactic fast food feast, and the only thing standing in their way are the boys from A.I.D.S.

Director Peter Jackson's debut feature is one of the great triumphs of "do it yourself" filmmaking. Shot on weekends over a period of four years with the directors drinking buddies in the starring roles, the end result looks much better than one would expect from such a low budget exercise. The film was originally financed out of Jackson's own pocket, and it was not until the latter stages of the production that he received some additional finances from the New Zealand film commission, who were suitably impressed with what they had seen.

If you are looking for top-notch acting performances, an intricately detailed storyline and an overall sense of higher enlightenment, then you may be best served by staying away from this one. If however you are looking for ninety minutes of entertainment with no strings attached, this may very well be the film for you. Jackson combines gross-out gore, over-the-top action sequences and slapstick humour to create one of the most interesting horror comedies you are likely to see. Although the director will ultimately be remembered by film fans for his big budget Hollywood efforts like The Lord of the Rings, this small scale flick will always hold a special place in the hearts of horror film fans around the world.
The Disc
The film is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio and is enhanced for 16x9 television sets. For something that was shot on 16mm film, the transfer looks fantastic. The image appears grainy at times and occasionally lacks detail, but this is no doubt due to the original source material and in no fault of Anchor Bay's. It's worth noting (for the purists) that Bad Taste was orignally shot in a 4:3 aspect ratio, meaning that this 1.66:1 transfer from Anchor Bay is missing a minor amount of picture information from the top and bottom of the screen. Personally, this doesn't bother me any, and I found that the widescreen framing helped to add a more "cinematic" touch to the film. Still, there are some people that would be annoyed by the cropping of the picture, and rightly so I suppose.

Anchor Bay have pulled out all the stops in the audio department. As well as the standard 2.0 soundtrack, we are treated to a THX mastered 5.1 channel soundtrack and a DTS-ES 6.1 track. One could almost say that Anchor Bay have gone a little too far with the audio options for such a low budget film. Obviously the original audio track that Anchor Bay had to work with was nothing special, but they have done a great job in improving it.

Bad Taste is available in two versions. The single disc version features the films trailer and a Peter Jackson biography. The special edition version features a second disc containing a 25 minute documentary on the making of the film.
The Verdict
Bad Taste is a thoroughly enjoyable film. Director Peter Jackson makes up for his lack of budget with a wealth of imagination, and the films frequent moments of gore and gross humour ensure that it lives up to it's title. Anchor Bay have done a great job of bringing this movie to DVD, although one wonders if it is worth paying almost twice the price for the special edition release which features only a short documentary and different packaging. Regardless of which version you choose, you shouldn't be disappointed with the quality of this fantastic release.
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