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  • 16:9 Enhanced
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  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
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Bad Taste: Special Edition

/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . R . PAL


Forget Lord of the Rings, or even Heavenly Creatures. I'm one of the old-school Peter Jackson fans. Bad Taste immediately made him one to watch for schlock-horror fans.

The film began as a 10-minute man-being-chased-by-nutter short starring Jackson and some friends, which over the course of several years started being taken more seriously both by the production team and the New Zealand Film Commission. With much saving and scrimping from all involved, it expanded to a 90-minute feature involving prosthetic work and elaborate special effects.

The reworked-and-expanded plot involves four government agents (Ozzy, Barry, Frank and Derek) - think Men in Black without the budget.. or class. They're fighting a bunch of aliens intent on turning the human race into the latest intergalactic taste sensation. Naturally, doing this involves a lot of gore and splatter, with tongues firmly in cheeks. Think of the tea house scenes in Kill Bill, with less grace and more humour.

"I can't do that. I'm a Derek. Dereks don't run."

The funniest thing about this disc might be the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) ad at the beginning which would have you believe that piracy funds terrorism, kills your plants and laughs at your baby photos, but the exploding sheep must come a close second. Cult classics don't get much better.


Bad Taste was shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm theatrically. The recent US DVD release was THX-approved and I assume the same source print was used for the Australian release. I've seen the film several times theatrically as well as on video, and it's never been as clean as the presentation here.

The camera used was a US$200 clockwork Bolex 16mm, probably the H-16 (to compare, Robert Rodriguez used an Arriflex 16S to shoot El Mariachi, worth US$3000). The camera could only shoot about 30 seconds of footage before it would need rewinding.

Naturally you can't expect reference quality video from a low-budget project. You will see varying levels of grain from shot to shot, and the production team tended to have a 'near enough is good enough' attitude to focus, especially on difficult shots. Colour saturation and black levels are also inconsistent.

Is this a good-looking disc? Technically no, but it's a great transfer of a well-cared-for print, and you're not going to see it looking better.


The audio has been totally remixed for the DVD, and it's a big improvement over the original mix, which came across as muddy and monophonic. Finally, the heavy metal music that Ozzy plays in his beat-up car has some power behind it, and explosions have some kick. Dialogue is limited to the centre speaker but the mix takes advantage of the digital format, panning richochets all around the room.

The movie was shot silently so dialogue was dubbed in post-production, often noticeably out of sync. Many of the foley effects are exaggerated and unnatural - this is a remix, not a re-recorded track. The score is suitably cheap and cheesy.

The US DVD has a 6.1-channel DTS soundtrack, but I still think the Australian disc is the one to go for. Why? Read on.


Alright, a Bad Taste commentary track! Peter Jackson couldn't be involved due to Middle Earth commitments, but we have Craig Smith, Mike Minett, Pete O'Herne and Terry Potter to take us through the makings of the film. This alone makes the Australian release indispensable to the collector.

There's also the 23-minute Good Taste Made Bad Taste documentary from the US DVD (made just after the 1987 theatrical release), a behind-the-scenes slideshow with Jackson commentary from 1990 and interviews with the four actors from the commentary track and composer Michelle Scullion.

Rounding off the package are a TV news item, the theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.


This is the best DVD release in the world for this movie. If you're into fun splatter films or just want to see where Peter Jackson began, check it out.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=4426
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      And I quote...
    "The bastards have landed!"
    - Paul Dossett
      Review Equipment
    • TV:
          Mitsubishi Diva 33
    • Amplifier:
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    • Speakers:
          Richter Excalibur
    • Centre Speaker:
          Richter Unicorn
    • Surrounds:
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    • Audio Cables:
          Monster RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Monster s-video
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