Sunday, October 23, 2011

October 23 Pt. 1: Dead Alive

Around 2009 I wondered if I should ever bother with a Peter Jackson film again. Lord of the Rings, for all the grandiose special effects, ended up leaving a bitter aftertaste. Then The Lovely Bones came out and it cemented that wondering with a big NO. Strange enough, the first PJ film I laid my eyes upon was The Frighteners. An adequate spook-n-surprise story with an (at the time) more-than-adequate produced named Robert Zemeckis attached. It would only come as more of a surprise when around the time I was anticipating a soon to be lackluster seige of Return of the King that I would learn upon his early works.

I think it speaks volumes when someone who once so lovingly created a scene of a bunch of intestines chasing a man is now creating a scene of a girl wandering in the "in between". I'm pretty sure there's a "I'll never top myself after this" feeling when you create a film like Dead Alive. But that's just the thing. All of his films, with the exception of Frighteners, have a large scope if not in concept/theme, then in set pieces.

Dead Alive was the answer to the likes of Evil Dead. "Top this Raimi" might have well been the tagline for the picture. Undead baby, kung fu preacher, an overbearing mother and the zombie massacre to end them all. It still stands as Jackson's most creative effort. We all secretly want to see more blood in the zombie film that's playing. Dead Alive finally quenched that bloodthirst.


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