A frantic phone call from Kaihoro reaches a
semi-robotic civil servant. Recognising the warning relayed by the near-incoherent
messenger, he sends in 'The Boys' from the Astro Investigation Defence Service (A.I.D.S.).
The forward unit, consisting of Derek (Peter Jackson) and Barry (Pete O'Herne), makes its
way to Kaihoro. Finding the place utterly devoid of humanity, instead they stumble upon an
alien known as Robert (Peter Jackson again) and capture him. Unfortunately, Robert has
friends, one of whom chases Barry to a messy end on the beach.
Meanwhile the remainder of the government team, Frank (Mike
Minett) and Ozzie (Terry Potter), are in transit with a cargo of weaponry. They're
routinely sceptical of Derek's alien identifications, but when Barry mentions Robert they
show a little more interest. Unfortunately, they're way behind schedule, so Barry and
Derek are left to deal with the hostile reinforcements as best they can. The resulting
carnage isn't particularly pretty, but it's a good thing that these 3rd Class soldiers
aren't much brighter than your average zombie. This is, however, scant consolation to
Giles (Craig Smith), a fairly innocent bystander who picked the wrong day to go collecting
for charity. Pretty soon it all goes pear-shaped, with the alien leader Lord Crumb (Doug
Wren) congratulating himself on an unexpected delicacy that has fallen into his troop's
hands. Now it's all up to the A.I.D.S. team!
The product from four years of weekend shooting, Bad
Taste is one of those films where the director has to show his virtuosity by doing
everything bar make the tea. In this instance, Peter Jackson produces, directs, acts (in
multiple roles), oversees the cinematography, creates the special effects, applies the
make-up and only consents to collaborate on editing and script writing. It is thus quite
remarkable that Bad Taste didn't end up as a vanity product, but instead evolved
into a fairly consistent and internationally marketable product. The latter is not too
surprising though, since there's a steady world-wide demand for outrageous gore. The
unusual aspect is that Jackson undermines the standard constructs of the hack'n'slash
genre with a mixture of humour and message. Throughout Bad Taste the over-the-top
violence is played strictly for laughs, while constantly hinting at the rapacious tactics
of megalomaniac corporations.
Overall, Bad Taste succeeds by not pretending to
be something it isn't. At heart it's a staggeringly gory film which shows off Jackson's
talents for humour, effects and horror.