Yes, the early films of Peter Jackson, although I just learned that he did Meet the Feebles in between these two. Huh, I always thought it was his third film.
Spoilers on movies you should have already seen.
In Bad Taste, a group of government financed… something finds a cell of aliens from out of space trying to make a case for using humans as meet for their burgers.
In Braindead, a Paquita finds herself romantically involved with Lionel, but it isn’t easy. Lionel is always being weird because of her overbearing mother. It doesn’t help that mother was bitten by a rat-monkey and became some sort of zombie-thing, which infects a bunch of other people and in the end, it’s Lionel who has to find it in him to stop the outbreak.
Bad Taste is a shitty movie. It feels exactly like what it is: Just some kids messing about making a movie. It is educational in some ways though. It’s a nice lesson on how to edit to make everything as safe as possible for the actors. Somehow it became a huge cult movie. Maybe I should have just seen it earlier as I was in my 20s when I first saw it and had already seen a bunch of cheap gore by that time, so it didn’t exactly make a great impression. It is a fine movie for what it is, but that just isn’t much to go on.
Braindead, on the other hand, is a pretty good movie. The gore is great and inventive, which is the important part, but also the characters are better than usual in these kinds of movies and not even the love story feels tacked on, like in some of Jackson’s later works. There’s also some genuinely moving moments.
Lionel is at the same time a parody of an everyman hero and a very good example of one. In the 80s the action heroes were big with big muscles. Predator was a good parody of this in it’s own way. But then came Die Hard. John McClane was just a regular cop, who was put into an extraordinary situation and had to rise up to the situation. This changed the direction of action movies. The heroes weren’t supermen. They were now more like us. Someone we could much more easily identify with. Lionel is nerdy, kind of unsocial due to his circumstances and in many ways pretty weak. Still, when he needs to handle the situation, he does exactly that. Even if it takes some outside pressure to do so.
This was also the movie which taught me that sometimes movies will be released under different names in different markets. Of course I knew that translations of the names exist, but me and my friends used to talk about this movie by different names and didn’t even know we were talking about the same movie, because I knew this by the original name (which is Braindead), while my friends knew this as Dead Alive. Of course, I later on learned that this is a pretty common practice when some marketing folk believe that some name just wouldn’t work for one reason or another.