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.
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.
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.
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).
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".