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The Peter Jackson Horror Hidden Gem You Never Knew You Needed To Watch

Peter Jackson, who will forever be known as the guy who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy, was actually directing movies for a long, long time before that. And in 1992, back when schlocky B-movies were Jackson's genre of choice, he came out with the ultimate gore-fest of a movie, titled Braindead – or, if you prefer the title it is more prominently known by today, Dead Alive.

Years later, this sickeningly bloody horror-comedy is, for some reason, widely unrecognized, but if you're a fan of throwback horror cinema that is extremely campy and weird, the movie will be right up your alley. Between the unrelenting avalanche of gore, the many shocking scenes –- particularly the infamously violent dinner scene –- a zombie baby, and more decapitated limbs than one can count, it could be argued that Dead Alive is the ultimate zombie movie (with, you know, rabid monkeys included). In fact, many still consider Dead Alive to be one of the most disgusting horror films ever made, so that should be enough to get any fan of the genre in a good mood.

Dead Alive was also a hugely influential film for many modern horror filmmakers, so Jackson's creation is definitely an underrated flick  Between the over-the-top storyline and the unique characters, this movie is a helluva good time.

Dead Alive is a gory (very, very gory) hidden gem

Braindead was originally released in 1992 in Jackson's home country of New Zealand, but Trimark Pictures — known for their controversial releases — picked it up for the United States, renamed it Dead Alive, and put it in U.S. theaters. Amid that year's bigger, more publicized horror releases like Leprechaun (released a month before) and later, Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, it's understandable why a B-movie like Dead Alive may have gotten lost in the shuffle, but its cult-classic status has endured to this day. 

At its core, Dead Alive is a campy horror love story. It concerns a young man named Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) residing in a small town in New Zealand. Still living with his insanely overprotective mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody), he meets a beautiful woman named Paquita (Diana Peñalver). It isn't long until mayhem breaks out, starting with a bite Vera receives from a so-called "Sumatran Rat-Monkey" (actually from King Kong's Skull Island) at a local zoo, while she is spying on the new couple. Things take one helluva turn for the worse when Vera starts to transform into a puss-oozing mutant zombie, who has an appetite for flesh. As Vera starts infecting others, will Lionel save his mother or the town, which is slowly being overtaken by the living dead?

As described by one author, Geoff Mayer, Jackson's vision was "to take the splatter sub-genre of horror to a point of implosion," which is a pretty accurate description of this movie. Dead Alive is a zombie movie like no other, and worth seeing.