Braindead (film)

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Braindead (New Zealand 1992), released as Dead Alive in North America, is a cult zombie comedy splatstick horror film directed by Peter Jackson. The film is often regarded as one of the goriest films of all time.



The first scene of the movie sets up the danger of the Sumatran Rat-Monkey (Thomas Dee Jacy), a hybrid that (according to legend) resulted from the rape of tree monkeys on Skull Island by plague rats: Stewart (Bill Ralston), an explorer returning from the depths of the island with his guide, carrying a rat-monkey in a cage. They are stopped by fierce warrior natives, demanding the return of the monkey. Stewart escapes with the cage to the rest of his team and a waiting jeep, leaving his guide behind and the natives in hot pursuit. As the jeep takes off, Stewart's guide catches up and jumps on board. In the ensuing melee, Stewart gets bitten by the Rat-Monkey. Seeing the mark of the monkey's bite on his right hand, Stewart's men immediately hold down the infected explorer and amputate the appendage. A bite mark is then seen on his left arm, which swiftly results in the removal of that limb. Finally, they see a set of bloody scratches on Stewart's forehead and kill him. The title screen follows the man's dying scream, and as the opening credits roll the captured rat-monkey is shipped to Wellington Zoo in New Zealand.

Wellington, 1957, Lionel Cosgrove (Timothy Balme) lives with his domineering mother (Elizabeth Moody). To his mother's dismay, Lionel falls in love with a local shopkeeper's daughter, Paquita (Diana PeƱalver), and while snooping on the two during a visit to the zoo, Lionel's mother is bitten by the Sumatran Rat-Monkey; she subsequently crushes his head. The animal's bite slowly turns her into a ravenous zombie. Lionel is horrified, but, ever the dedicated son, is determined to care for her.

Despite his efforts to keep her placated with periodic doses of veterinary anesthetic, his mother starts murdering other townspeople, turning them into zombies. He tries to keep them locked away in the basement, while simultaneously trying to maintain his relationship with the completely oblivious Paquita. His mother escapes, however, and is hit by a tram.

As the townspeople assume she is dead, Lionel tranquilizes the still-kicking zombie for her funeral. After she is buried, he returns to the graveyard to administer more anesthetic, but is accosted by a gang of hoodlums. His mother bursts from her grave, resulting in more deaths, and zombies.

As their numbers grow, Lionel manages to keep the zombies under relative control with repeated injections, and tries to keep them concealed in his home. However, Lionel's uncle Les (Ian Watkin), arrives to try to wrangle with Lionel over his mother's estate. Uncle Les discovers the "corpses" and blackmails his nephew into giving up his inheritance in return for his silence.

Lionel reluctantly administers poison to the zombies ("killing" them) and buries them, just as Uncle Les and a crowd of his friends arrive for a housewarming party. However, the "poison" turns out to be an animal stimulant, and since the zombies come from the bite of the animal (the Rat-Monkey), it only gives them even more energy. The zombies burst from the ground to attack and infect the party guests in a gory finale.

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