November 1, 2017

Slapstick and Zombies: Films That Have Inspired Peter Jackson's Work

From mindless zombies to Buster Keaton, Peter Jackson has been inspired by them all.

The moment you mention Peter Jackson's name, you immediately think of what? Middle Earth, the Shire, hobbits, and epic battle sequences between the courageous Fellowship and disgustingly repulsive orcs. But even though The Lord of the Rings series made Jackson one of the most successful directors in the industry, he actually got his start directing low-budget horror comedies, like Bad Taste and Dead Alive, a genre that is clearly miles away from the fantasy adventure films he's known for today. 

This departure from form and content might seem strange at first glance, but once you know which films influenced the work of the New Zealand-born filmmaker, you might get a much clearer understanding of his creative origins. Fandor shares five of these films in the video below.

I've been a Peter Jackson fan for decades and I never even knew it. His 1992 splatter flick Evil Dead was the first horror film that ever made me physically ill, so, you know, of course, I loved it, but I had no clue that the guy who directed all of those Lord of the Ring movies was the same guy who used a lawnmower to decimate hoards of disgusting, oozing zombies. (The tapioca scene is unbearably disgusting and worth every moment of repulsion.) 

But after taking a look at his list of favorite films, his earlier projects should make a lot more sense.

  • King Kong (dir. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933)
  • Dawn of the Dead  (dir. George Romero, 1978)
  • The General (dir. Buster Keaton, 1927)
  • Goodfellas (dir. Martin Scorsese, 1990)
  • Jaws (dir. Steven Spielberg, 1975)

This list looks like a perfect microcosm of Jackson as a filmmaker: a little bit of horror, a little bit of comedy, with plenty of classically good directing and storytelling to go around.      

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2 Comments

I think you meant Dead Alive, not Evil Dead...

November 2, 2017 at 8:05AM

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Michael Schmucker
Producer, Cinematographer, Animator
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This is one of the best articles I have come across. Keep up the good work. Tweakbox iOS 11

November 3, 2017 at 7:57AM

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Johnny
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