Bad Taste

Bad Taste

Bad Taste, released in 1987, is a cult action comedy/sci-fi splatter film. Produced on a low budget, it is the first film directed by Peter Jackson. The film features Jackson and his friends taking a number of key roles, both on and off-screen. The plotline sees aliens invade the fictional New Zealand village of Kaihoro to harvest humans for their intergalactic fast food franchise, where they face off against a four-man paramilitary force, of which at least one member appears to have gone insane.


The Astro Investigation and Defence Service (AIDS) sends Derek (Peter Jackson), Frank, Ozzy, and Barry to investigate the disappearance of the entire township of Kaihoro, New Zealand. Soon it becomes clear that the town has been overrun by space aliens in human form. Barry kills the first alien and is attacked by more. After Derek notifies Frank and Ozzy, he begins torturing an alien named Robert they caught earlier. Robert begins screaming and attracts the aliens surrounding Barry. Derek takes out the would-be alien rescuers, but he is attacked by Robert and falls from the cliff to his presumed death. Barry sees Robert and tracks the alien.

Meanwhile a collector named Giles is going through Kaihoro and is attacked by Robert, who was eating the brains of the alien Barry killed. Robert tries to kill Giles, but he escapes in his car and goes to nearby house for help. An alien answers the door and captures Giles who wakes up in a tub of water with the alien leader telling him that he is to be eaten. Later, Derek wakes up and finds that he fell in a seagull's nest. He realizes that his brains are falling out the back of his head, so he stuffs them back in using a hat to hold them in place.

That night Frank, Ozzy, and Barry sneak into the aliens' house and stumble upon a room filled with bloody cardboard boxes. They ambush an alien and Frank puts on its shirt to infiltrate an alien meeting. There he finds that Kaihoro is being used for fast food. Robert barfs in a bowl which the aliens eat as dinner, including the disguised Frank. He informs the others of the plan and they leave to save the collector as the aliens sleep.

They try to leave the house at sunrise but are attacked by aliens. Derek's hat is shot off, causing him to lose more brain matter, so he wears his belt as a headband instead. He drives off and finds a chainsaw and heads for the alien house. As the boys leave with the collector, the leader (Lord Crumb) and his alien followers transform into their extraterrestrial form and follow them. Ozzy uses a rocket launcher to blow up a group that had taken over Frank's car. Lord Crumb thinks that the boys are dead and decides to head home.

Frank and Ozzy go in to find Lord Crumb and kill many aliens along the way. Derek comes in with the chainsaw and kills an alien, replacing the missing parts of his own brain with alien brain. An alien prepares to shoot Frank and Ozzy, but has its head cut in half by Derek who bursts through the wall behind it. Frank and Ozzy are shocked to see him alive.

As they run, Lord Crumb shoots Ozzy in the leg and Frank shoots the rocket launcher at the leader, but it misses the leader and almost hits Derek, hitting a sheep out the other window. Derek is knocked out by the alien leader who leaves, transforms the house into a giant space ship, and pilots it into space with Derek still aboard.

On board, Derek looks out the window to see that he is leaving Earth. Lord Crumb, investigates the sound of Derek's chainsaw and is killed as Derek dives from a hole in the ceiling, passing completely through the alien's body before proclaiming: "I'm born again!" He then shouts "I'm coming to get you bastards!" into the phone and puts on the alien leader's skin laughing maniacally as he heads for the alien planet. On Earth, Frank, Ozzy, Barry, and Giles drive away in Derek's car into the sunset.

Production notes

Much of the film was shot in and around Peter Jackson's home town of Pukerua Bay, north of Wellington, New Zealand. Originally begun as a short film, Bad Taste was shot primarily on weekends over the course of four years, at a total cost of around $25,000. Toward the end of the shoot the New Zealand Film Commission invested around NZ$235,000 into the film to ensure its completion. Heavily influenced by special effects pioneer Tom Savini, Peter Jackson incorporated easy camera tricks and a great many absurdly gory special effects.

Jackson himself plays at least two acting roles, and his friends and workmates play most of the rest. In one scene halfway down a cliff, careful editing, utilising shots taken months apart, makes it possible for one character played by Jackson to fight another (Robert has the beard, and Derek does not).

The film secured international distribution after playing at the Cannes Film Festival.

Main cast

  • Terry Potter - Ozzy/3rd Class Alien
  • Pete O'Herne - Barry/3rd Class Alien
  • Craig Smith - Giles/3rd Class Alien
  • Mike Minett - Frank/3rd Class Alien
  • Peter Jackson - Derek/Robert
  • Doug Wren - Lord Crumb
  • Dean Lawrie - Lord Crumb SPFX Double/3rd Class Alien
  • Peter Vere-Jones - Lord Crumb's Voice

2001 Armageddon Convention

On September 15, 2001, the Michael Fowler Center in Wellington, New Zealand hosted Armageddon One of the main features for the 2001 convention was the cast of Bad Taste attending for a quick Q&A on the main stage, and a screening of the film.

The cast members that attended were; Craig Smith (Giles), Pete O'Herne (Barry), Mike Minett (Frank), Terry Potter (Ozzy), Ken Hammon (Writer, 3rd Class Alien) and Dean Lawrie (Lord Crumb SPFX Double, 3rd Class Alien).

Sequel plans

The first official biography on Jackson (Peter Jackson: A Film-maker's Journey by Brian Sibley), reveals that in 1993, after Jackson's third film, Braindead, he approached the New Zealand Film Commission with plans to make Bad Taste 2 and 3 back-to-back for $7 million. In Bad Taste 2, the heroes of the first film would travel to an alien planet to save alien hunter Derek, played by Jackson. In Bad Taste 3 the aliens plan to enact revenge on Wellington with "a spectacular aerial battle over the city with dozens of flying houses, buzzy bees and Santa Claus".

Peter Jackson told a New Zealand newspaper The Dominion Post he is still interested in making a sequel of the movie.


  • The weapons used in the movie were made using aluminium tubing and the actors had to shake them to simulate the recoil. A flash and sound effect was added later.
  • All the masks in the film were baked in Peter Jackson's mother's oven.
  • This film may have established the exploding sheep concept in the computer gaming subculture.
  • The banning of an already cut version of Bad Taste in Queensland, three weeks into its run, led to the firing and dissolution of the Queensland Film Board of Review in 1990. The film had to be trimmed for release in Australia at the time, as the OFLC felt the gore too excessive. The uncut version was released by Universal Home Entertainment on DVD in 2005.
  • Kaihoro, the name of the town whose inhabitants are butchered, is a Māori word coined by Jackson and his crew early in the shooting of the film. It has two parts - "kai" which means food and "horo" which means town or village. Foodtown is also the name of a New Zealand chain of grocery stores.
  • Some dialogue of the Spanish translation of the film is featured on the famous demos "46 Cabezas Aplastadas Por Un Yunque Oxidado" and "Realmente Disfruto Comiendo Cadáveres" of the Spanish grindcore/death metal band Machetazo.
  • Segments of the film were also featured in Canadian band Skinny Puppy's music video for Worlock.
  • The entire film was improvised.


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