Today I am watching Braindead (1992) (aka Dead Alive). The film – directed by Peter Jackson – is a slapstick comedy about zombies.

Or at least I believe it is. I’ve never watched this film before, so it could be about my ex-boyfriend for all I know.

I am watching Braindead because it has been highly recommended to me multiple times (hi, Adam) and it is a movie I am very curious about. Peter Jackson is a great director, and I expect this film to live up to his portfolio of work.

OK, enough talkin’, I’ve got my bag of Maltesers in hand, so it’s time for the movie.


Braindead (1992)

Image: ©Polygram

*Presses play*

2mins – Two men on an expedition to retrieve a monkey… from Skull Island. Well, this is not going to end well, is it?

2mins 30secs – The indigenous people disagree with the the removal of the monkey.

2mins 45secs – Oh, it’s OK, the head of the expedition pulls out a permit… followed by a gun! I guess that’s one way to get what you want.

3mins 15secs – Yeah, the gun didn’t help and now he has been bitten by one of the indigenous folk.

3mins 30secs – Ha! A great bit of dialogue:

“You’ve got ‘the bite.’”

“There’s some Dettol in the Jeep.”

5mins – So, all this is the prelude to set up the zombie outbreak later.


11mins – Moving away from the madness of Skull Island, the story has shifted to a suburban setting to introduce what I assume is the hero of this movie. He is a downtrodden guy called Lionel.

For anyone wondering, it’s not Lionel Ritchie. It’s also not Lionel Blair. Pity.

14mins – Lionel lives with his mom. His mom is a right cow. I don’t like her. I kind of hope she gets eaten by a zombie. Or Lionel Blair.

15mins – I should note, that although Braindead is a low budget film, it is clear there is something unique and special going on here.

16mins 30secs – A stop motion rat! There’s a stop-motion rat in this movie!

Image: ©Polygram

18mins – Lionel’s mum has been bitten by the stop-motion rat – and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person. I’m going to go out on a limb here and presume this bite leads to the mother becoming a zombie. Or a stop-motion rat. Or Lionel Blair.

24mins – Not quite a zombie yet, but the mother is clearly not long for this world.

31mins – The mother is now a zombie. This has not made her any less of a cow, but suddenly I don’t hate her so much.

Image: ©Polygram

31mins 45secs – Ha! Lionel is fighting his zombie mother, while The Archers plays out in the background. And I thought listening to The Archers was supposed to be relaxing!

36mins – Braindead is incredibly gruesome. I love it!

41mins – I’m getting shades of Re-Animator (1985) from this movie. That’s a good thing.

45mins – “That’s my mother you’re pissing on.”


46mins 40secs – Well, it’s safe to say I’ve seen it all now. I’m watching priest use martial arts to fight off zombies!

“I kick ass for the lord.” 

If I knew going to church was this much fun, I would have attended mass.


53mins – To recap: Lionel’s mum is a zombie, she has infected a few other people, and in turn they have infected the karate-kicking priest. 

55mins – And now there’s a zombie baby.

*Shrugs shoulders*

Yeah…why not? 

57mins 30secs – I didn’t think this movie could get any more bonkers, and then Lionel goes and punches a zombie baby.

Image: ©Polygram

1hr 9mins – The zombies have turned into some kind of super zombies, leading to some truly inventive, truly scary imagery. I love it!! How have I never seen this movie before?

*Checks running time*

1hr 14mins – There is about another 20 minutes to go and Braindead has gone full-on, balls-to-the-wall mental. The practical effects work is unbelievably inventive and the horror level has been cranked up to eleven!

Image: ©Polygram

1hr 15mins – You know, if this movie was made today, all of these effects would be created in a computer… and they would not look this good – or be this much fun.


1hr 23mins 30secs – Death by lawn mower!

1hr 24mins – Everything has descended into a blood bath. I would not want to be the one to clean up all this mess.

1hr 27mins 30secs – Erm…

*Stares at the screen completely aghast*

All I’m going to say is ‘zombie baby head’. If you have seen Braindead already you will know exactly what I’m referring to at this point in the film.

1hr 29mins – And with the movie drawing to a close, Lionel’s mother has come back for one last scare. Her appearance is truly horrifying. She looks like a Quentin Blake illustration, on crack.

*Presses stop*

Well, that was insane. Completely and utterly, bat-shit insane. 

And also marvellous.

Braindead is an incredibly bizarre, and totally awesome horror film – the likes of which we rarely see these days. This is old school horror, with terrifying monsters, gross-out gags, incredible practical effects, and lashings and lashings of blood. 

This film is perfect viewing for anyone who loves gruesome horror, or the work of Sam Raimi and Brian Yuzna. I should not have waited so long to watch it.


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