FrightFest Originals - Original limited edition screen printed film posters from the UK

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BRAINDEAD by Alex Chambers.

BRAINDEADThe phrase ‘humble beginnings’ is probably more appropriate to Peter Jackson than it is to any other director, Sam Raimi included. Your non horror appreciating friends would probably be astounded to learn that the man who directed the expensive (and far too long) King Kong remake and the Oscar laden, for years thought to be unfilmable (and far too long) Lord of the Rings films is the same man who started with a trio of low budget, slightly absurd, blood and gore laden films. The first of the three, Bad Taste, was shot over a four year period, primarily at weekends, for a cost of around NZ$250,000, whilst the second, puppet satire Meet The Feebles, cost three times as much. Braindead was the third in the set – much bigger of budget (NZ$3 million) and slicker overall than the earlier two, it’s the film where Jackson made the shift from hopeful director with a dream of better to professional.

Beginning pre-credits on Skull Island with a scene that’s as cheap and B-movie as anything you’ll ever see, explorers are in search of the little seen Sumatran Rat Monkey, the gang rape product of a union between a pack of slave ship rats and more sedate regular monkeys. Predictably, during capture, one of the creatures takes a bite out of the lead explorer. Limbs are hacked at in the hope of avoiding infection, blood spurts, and we’re taken to Wellington, New Zealand on the other side of the opening credits, where shy Lionel wrestles with problems caused by the two women in his life. The first is his overbearing (s)mother; the second is greengrocer’s daughter Paquita, who has decided after an unlikely prediction and set of circumstances that she and Lionel were meant to be together. The first date is a trip to the local zoo, with mother in tow, albeit lurking at a disapproving distance. The aforementioned Sumatran Rat Monkey is an unlikely exhibit, events transpire, mother is bitten, monkey suffers a squishy death courtesy of her high heel, and the disease quickly takes hold.

From there, despite Lionel’s best efforts, mother quickly goes downhill and infects the visiting women’s institute, setting a chain reaction of contagion into effect where anyone who comes into contact with the infected becomes infected in turn, and hapless Lionel has to try and keep all of this a secret from both his prospective new love (who never really seems all that perturbed by events) and his sleazeball, inheritance seeking uncle.

The plot on the whole is pretty thin – what is Braindead after all? Even the title, much like Bad Taste before it, hints at a double meaning. Part romantic comedy, part mother/son relationship tale, part zombie-ish story, lots of bits & pieces thrown at the wall with some sticking and some not. There isn’t a great deal of sense to it all, but that’s fine – after all there rarely is in such instances, and if you’re looking for realism, then you’ve been in the wrong genre since the dawn of cinema. More obviously, it stumbles from time to time because none of the characters are really all that likeable despite the novelty factor of their eccentricities – not even centrepiece couple Lionel or Paquita – so it’s hard to really get on board with them and cheer their progress or hope things turn out ok in the end for them. It also doesn’t help that the acting isn’t all that great either, and the humour – as is often the case when a film straddles the comedy/horror line - is hit and miss. When it hits, it raises a genuine chuckle, but when it misses, it falls flat.

BRAINDEAD2But what sells Braindead – both back in 1992 and today – is the splatter element. The final quarter of the film sees all hell break loose in the family home and is by far the strongest portion of the film because the gore becomes all-consuming and washes over everything else. Nothing else matters and everything else takes a back seat. It’s hard to think off the top of my head of a more blood-soaked twenty minutes before or since. If you’re going to go so spectacularly over the top, there’s no sense in half measures, so Braindead certainly doesn’t stop short and this is another element which makes it hard to put Braindead into any specific pigeonhole. Despite the gallons of blood on show, there’s really very little by way of malicious intent – it’s all played for fun, from the Harryhausen-esque Sumatran Rat Monkey which is in equal measures incredible and rubbish, to the lawnmower sequence which has spawned a number of imitators in the two decades since, and all stops in-between. Everything you see is just so gleeful that it’s difficult to imagine anyone watching this and really, truly being horrified by it all. There’s never any real threat because it’s just not that kind of film, and that works for Braindead rather than against it. Occasionally it’s awful, and even the film’s biggest supporters would admit as much - but that somehow manages to make itself part of the bigger picture charm on display. There’s more than enough imagination, passion and energy on show to carry you through the times when you might question whether or not it’s for you, and by the time you get to the half-way point it’s too late to turn back. I don’t imagine that Jackson ever intended it to be any more than it is, so you have to say that on that basis, and taking into account the fact that it’s clearly a labour of love and everyone involved is having a great time, it’s much more of a success than not.

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BRAINDEAD - by Timothy Pittides. 18" x 24" portrait - Numbered - 50 only. Allow 14 days for UK & 21 for international delivery.


BRAINDEAD - Glow in the Dark variant by Timothy Pittides. 18" x 24" portrait - Numbered - 25 only. Allow 14 days for UK & 21 for international delivery.




Braindead - 1 poster per customer


Braindead - Glow in the dark variant - 1 poster per customer