Billed as the "goriest film of all time", Dead Alive does not disappoint in that regard. This film has some moments that are simply disgusting; zombie pus being shot into custard (and then eaten), zombie internal organs taking on a life of their own and attacking people, a zombie-nurse and zombie-priest having sex and producing a demonic-offspring, and a party of zombies meeting their demise via a lawnmower... and these are just some of the highlights.
And this is all brought to you by the same mind that brought you the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the King Kong remake: Peter Jackson.
Set in New Zealand sometime in the 1950's, a zoologist captures a rare breed of primate, a "rat-monkey", but falls victim to its bite and is killed by the natives. They deliver the monkey despite the danger it represents, and it is placed in a local zoo as a public exhibit. The bite of the monkey transforms its victim into a flesh-eating zombie.
Lionel Cosgrove lives with his social-activist mother and benefits from the moderate wealth left to her and his deceased father. He is awkward, not all that bright, clumsy, and is going to save us all. Smitten with Lionel is Paquita Maria Sanchez, who's grandmother predicted not only their star-crossed romance but also the loaming doom that faces them all. When Lionel's overbearing mother follows Lionel and his new love to the zoo, spying on their date, she is bitten by the rat-monkey.
She stomps the monkey's head into goo.
What follows is Lionel's attempts to hide his mother's condition from the world, adding new members to the zombie-family he keeps in his basement, until it gets completely out of control.
Dead Alive is a gross-out fest meant to also spawn a few laughs, which it occasionally succeeds in producing. Between the sick effects (all old-school), ridiculous plot twists, and rare moments of lucidity in the film, I found myself continuously thinking "THIS is from Peter Jackson"?
I want to say that this film has some status as a "cult-classic", something akin to the same notoriety as Two Girls and One Cup, friends show it to other friends who have not seen it to laugh at their reaction. It is worth seeing once, if only to say that you did. A few laughs, many sick effects, but nothing really impressive.