This week, director Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theatres world-wide. Chances are, you’ve seen his movies before. After all, he directed The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong and The Lovely Bones.
But have you seen his early work? He has a taste for murder, mayhem and gore. He also cast Kate Winslet in her first feature film.
Here are five films Peter Jackson made way before The Hobbit.
1. Bad Taste (1987)
Peter Jackson’s shot his first full-length film using friends and family over four years of primarily weekend work and with a budget of $25,000. The science fiction comedy horror flick centers on aliens coming to Earth to use humans as meat for their intergalatic fast food franchise. Highlights include Peter Jackson’s fight with himself as Derek/Robert and the line “Aren’t I lucky? I got a chunky bit!” Best viewed by B movie aficionados. Amazon.
2. Meet the Feebles (1989)
Don’t be fooled into thinking this puppet-based movie is one to watch with the kids. This biting satire features puppet sex, drugs and murder. Alternates between being difficult to watch and impossible to tear your eyes away. Amazon
3. Braindead (1993)
After the, ahem, limited success of Meet the Feebles, Jackson returned to comedy splatter to make a film widely regarded as one of the goriest movies ever made. This zombie flick was censored in many countries to reduce the blood and guts. One infamous scene involves zombies and a running lawnmower. You may also find this movie under the title Dead Alive. Amazon
4. Heavenly Creatures (1994)
With Heavenly Creatures, Jackson moves into more mature film making and garners his first Academy Award nomination. This movie is based on the true story of two teenage girls in 1950s Christchurch, New Zealand who murder one of the girls’ mothers. Kate Winslet (Titanic) and Melanie Lynskey (Two and a Half Men) have their film debuts as the murderous duo. The visual effects of the girls’ fantasy world were created by newly formed Weta Digital.
Fans of bestselling mystery author Anne Perry may be especially interested in this film as she was one of the real life girls who changed her name and moved to the UK after being released from prison. Amazon
5. The Frighteners (1996)
Jackson and Fran Walsh, his co-writer and partner, originally wrote the script for director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) who intended to direct it as a spin-off of the Tales from the Crypt TV show. Instead, Jackson ended up directing the comedy horror film himself.
It stars Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future) as a psychic who really can see ghosts, but uses his gifts to con people until he realizes a serial killing entity appearing as the Grim Reaper is murdering people around him. Amazon