Earlier today we passed along the awesome news that Lord of the Rings and King Kong director Peter Jackson plans to restore his early splatter films onto 4K for an all-new box-set. That news had a horror fan like me over the moon excited. But hidden in the article over on THR, there was another super interesting bit where Jackson was asked if he’d ever be interested in returning to the world of gore films, to which he responded:
“Oh, I’m very happy to be disgusting again if the right project comes along. It would be interesting to see how disgusting Fran [Walsh] and I could be in our older age compared to our younger years because we’ve learned a few things since then. We know a little bit more about the world than we did then, so maybe our levels of disgusting could go into whole new places!”
To reiterate the previous story and expand upon just how cool this news is, let me lay out what Jackson’s first four films where. First, there was the 1987 micro-budget science-fiction horror comedy Bad Taste, which Jackson directed, wrote, produced, photographed, co-edited, and co-starred in. Jackson also made most of the makeup and special effects for the film which sees aliens invade a New Zealand village to harvest humans for their intergalactic fast food franchise. It’s a hoot and should be added to any horror fan’s collection ASAP.
Following that fun film up, Jackson then directed the ridiculously disgusting 1989 puppet musical black comedy movie Meet the Feebles. The flick was the first that Jackson co-wrote with his future wife Fran Walsh, and follows the misadventures of animal-figured puppets putting on a stage show that is constantly derailed by some of the most grotesque sequences outside of an early John Waters film. Really it has to be seen to be believed.
After that, Jackson hit the big time (kind of) and helmed one of the goriest films of all time, Braindead aka Dead Alive here in the states. The 1992 splatstick zombie comedy film was directed by Jackson, who penned the screenplay along with Fran Walsh and Stephen Sinclair. The movie follows the twisted tale of a man living with his mother in a mansion, who gets into trouble when a rabid rat-monkey bites his dear old mum, turning her, and any unlucky soul that ventures into her home, into a horde of rabid, gore-crazy zombies.
The fourth film was the Oscar-nominated Heavenly Creatures starring a young Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey. That film, while terrific, isn’t so gory. Sure it tells the tale of two young girls who murder one of their mothers with an ax – and a rock – but by that time Jackson was more into keeping the gore off-screen so that movie is firmly in the realms of a drama than a gore-to-the-walls horror movie.
Since the glory days of those old splatter movies, Jackson has moved on to much grandeur fair including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, The Lovely Bones, and the upcoming WWI documentary They Shall Not Grow Old. Jackson hasn’t been completely out of the picture on big-budget films lately, however, as he serves as both co-writer and producer on director Christian Rivers’ upcoming adaptation of Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines. That film stars Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang, and is all set to hit the states on December 14, 2018.
Let’s hope Jackson returns to splatter sooner rather than later! Cheers to The Hollywood Reporter for asking such a killer question!