Dead Alive (1992)


Directed by: Peter Jackson

Written by:
Stephen Sinclair, Fran Walsh & Peter Jackson


Timothy Balme .... Lionel Cosgrove
Diana Peñalver .... Paquita Maria Sanchez
Elizabeth Moody .... Mum
Ian Watkin .... Uncle Les
Brenda Kendall .... Nurse McTavish
Stuart Devenie .... Father McGruder
Jed Brophy .... Void

Release Dates: Cannes Film Market: May, 1992; Munich Fantasy Filmfest: July 30, 1992; Theatrical: August 13, 1992 (New Zealand); Toronto Film Festival: September 17, 1992; Dead by Dawn Horror Film Festival: January 16, 1993 (UK); Theatrical: February 12, 1993 (USA); Fantasporto Film Festival: February 15, 1997

*Images courtesy at:





Taking place in 1957, a troubled shy man named Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) is living with her nagging Mum (Elizabeth Moody) who is harsh and cold towards him or anyone else.
He also wants to find love with the girl of his dreams named Paquita Maria Sanchez (Diana Peñalver) in which they go to a zoo and spot a poisonous Sumatran rat-monkey who eats another monkey alive as well as grabbing a hold of Mum by biting a chunk of her arm but she kills this beast but later on realises that she is getting sick as well as her body falling apart.
After she dies she turns into a flesh eating zombie and bites other people by turining them into zombie's in which Lionel tries to keep them in his home and hides them from Paquita but that fails when hundreds of them starts to invade a party of unwanted guests at Lionel's home.


This film is also known as Braindead in some area's as the plot is a no brainer itself. It's way too over the top and the plot is very silly and sick too. Plus it's guaranteed to gross you out.
Almost like a ripoff between Evil Dead 2 and Re-Animator with lots of goofiness in which you wonder if it's a plain black comedy but there's a horror plot with zombie's attacking and gruesome moments too so this flick is definetely a horror film too.
Of course in the beginning we spot a crazed mother who is way too much and knew how to act very cold blooded which almost draws to the horror story for sure along with gross and twisted moments on the lead character Lionel Cosgrove trying to feed these zombies with gross results which seems awfully stupid and gross thinking about stopping it there.
There's a corny discussion between Lionel Cosgrove and Mum as son and mother with good shots on each of them when she nags at him constantly for inspecting the house which looked quite twisted on how all of this was done.
There's many good shots on both Lionel and Paquita Maria Sanchez walking around in a zoo and then him staring at an area Nurse McTavish with a camera shot closing in on him with a disturbed expression from a past memory as well as spotting a cage with a rat monkey trying to attack them which kinda psych's you out while watching this.
There's a good shot on the rat monkey attacking Mum's arm with a perfect close up shot on this creature biting her arm as well as her getting menacing by stomping on it giving the situation a real disturbing feel as to who's more evil.
There's some good gross out close up shots on Mum's face and other parts of her body peeling off while lying in bed as well as her getting into a rage when she gets out of bed while Lionel insists that she stays in bed.
There's good shots on Lionel and Mum along with a couple eating at the table plus there's good close up shots on one of them eating pudding and gulping away with shots on Mum's arm squirting blood into his pudding as well as shots on the wife looking shocked and grossed out while watching this. There's also shots on an ear falling into Mum's pudding while she eats it with good reactions the wife getting sick and running into a bathroom.All of this on how it was directed looked believably gross.
There's a good shot with a nurse talking to Lionel with a good shot on Mum approaching behind her and then eating at her with many good graphic close up shots on all of this. There's also good fast paced battling scene's by the two of them now as zombie's attacking one another while Lionel tries to cover everything up by holding back a door talking to Paquita without panicking and covering up this incident to her.
There's some good shots on Balme at a graveyard with a good camera shot looking up on supporting actor Jed Brophy as a punk taunting him and getting his gang to beat him him as well as a good shot on Brophy's legs speading out at a tombstone pissing on the grave. There's a great creepy shot on Moody rising out of the dirt and dragging him down.
We spot many terrific fast paced shots on a preacher doing ninja fights with a gang resurrected as zombie's now which looked fun to watch despite the lacking story of this film.
There's numerous good gross out close up shots with Lionel at an eating table with the zombie's trying to eat as well as a good shot on both Father McGruder and Nurse McTavish looking at one another with lustful grins and then trying to make out with one another and nice gruesome close up shots with the results.
There's many funny takes and moments on Lionel trying to stop the zombie baby from attacking others at a park as well as good shots on this baby trying to attack and leaping in the air which offers some good chuckles.
However there is the most memorable scene with the zombies invading a party and Coscrove bringing out a lawnmower to terminate these zombie's with it which every horror fan who has seen this flick talks about and rumors spread around that this film was banned in alot of video rental stores due to this and many other graphic gore effects in this film. This was one of my favourite scene's too I have to admit. The ending was fun to watch too which saves this flick from bombing. I just found this film a real bad Grindhouse type of flick without the nudity of course.
Bottom line is it's almost like watching a Troma Team flick in which we all know how crappy those one's are but a film for any gore hounds who enjoy alot of gross out moments like the aombie's eating at a dinner table or seeing Mum's body falling apart while eating some pudding with her guests. Of course the lawnmower massacre's too. Apart from that you'd probably want to avoid this stinky piece of trash although some critics adore this one which I can't personally understand.

The acting is extremely hokey and slapstick. Not meant to be taken seriously at all but most of the cast had good comedic timing.
Timothy Balme
(Lionel Cosgrove) as the heroic lead cast member seems to bring out alot of energy as well as acting outrageous with how he behaves along showing a good geeky attitude too along with his shyness. All in all he was a ham and brought alot of spunk to his role. He also showed good nervous expressions too.
Diana Peñalver (Paquita Maria Sanchez) was the straight one in the film with the girl next door type of image but really knew how to act bizarre herself and drew some interesting characterisitcs onto the film. She wasn't anything spectacular though.
Elizabeth Moody
(Mum) was perfectly cheesy as an evil type of Mum with her nagging and demanding behavior. She was completely ruthless and crazy in which she knew how to do this in a really zany black comedy way. When she's a zombie she brought out alot of rage too. I could see her acting in Troma Team type of flicks since she had a good dark comedic behavior in that kind of fashion. Sadly she passed away not long ago.
Stuart Devenie (Father McGruder) seemed to bring alot of action with his part as a preacher with his fighting against zombie's especially in which he really breaks into one role to another. He also knew how to behave very goofy once he's a zombie too.
Jed Brophy
(Void) looked good as a punk in the film and reminded me of a punk in Rumble in the Bronx in which he portrays a bad ass but in a very slapstick type of fashion which works really well for this film. He also shows great sneering aggressions once he's a zombie and knew how to behave menacingly.

A Sumatran rat monkey tears off another monkey's arm and eats it.
This rat monkey also bites into Mum's arm.
Mum's flesh starts to peel off her face and arm.
A dead dog is pulled out of Mum's mouth.
Mum's blood squirts out of her arm at a dinner table as well as her ear falling off into her pudding.
A nurses neck is bitten in half.
A punk's flesh is torn off at a graveyard and other people being torn apart.
There's lots of battles with zombie's heads kicked off and a preacher impaled on a sharp object.
There's many gross out shots on zombie's eating at a dinner table which can guarantee to gross you out if you're eating while watching this film.
There's numerous scene's with people's bodies being torn in half or their skeletal bones being ripped open, heads torn off as well as lots of buckets of blood splattering everywhere.
Lionel Cosgrove uses a lawnmower to slaughter a bunch of zombie's and probably one of the best gore scene's in this film.
Yes this film is packed with gore and can outdo any Evil Dead flick for sure.

The music was very cheesy sounding with the odd tuned out old fashioned piano music and some string playing too. However there's some nicely sounding high pitched synthesizer and keyboard playing for the horror moments used in this film which suits the scene's all put together by Peter Dasent.

Paquita Maria Sanchez: Your mother ate my dog!
Lionel Cosgrove: Not all of it.

Lionel Cosgrove: That's my mother you're pissing on.

Lionel Cosgrove: [about to charge at the zombies with a hoisted law mower] Party's over!