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Dead Alive

One Sumara rat monkey to rule them all.

Rod Lott October 4th, 2011

In what is easily one of the grossest movies ever made, a Sumara rat monkey is taken from its Skull Island home ("King Kong" reference alert!) to a New Zealand zoo, where it bites an old woman who promptly starts to ooze and fall to pieces.


When her skin begins to peel, her loving son gets out the mucilage. Pretty soon, she dies, only to become a bloodthirsty zombie. Then everyone she bites becomes a zombie, too, while Sonny Boy keeps all the herky-jerky corpses rounded up in the basement as best as he can.

The final half of 1992's "Dead Alive" is an all-out blood-and-guts assault as a party turns into a feeding frenzy, with all the guests falling prey to the monkey bite. Our hero saves himself and his gal pal by fetching the lawnmower; use your imagination. Then double it.

Director/co-writer Peter Jackson — yes, "The Lord of the Rings" Peter Jackson, a decade before minting Oscar gold — pulls out all the stops to make the ultimate cartoony marriage between horror and comedy. Limbs fly. Heads roll. Intestines slide.

The best scenes involve a mischievous mutant baby, while the most interesting supporting character is the karate-chopping priest who declares, "I kick ass for the Lord!" You really have to admire a film that dares to go this far, then goes even further.

Not to admire: The new Blu-ray edition offers only the trailer in terms of extras. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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