It might shock some fans of The Lord of the Rings and King Kong, but three-time Oscar winner Peter Jackson wasn't always known for big-budget, high-concept genre films. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the knighted New Zealand director was known for making schlocky exploitation films that crept through the underground grindhouse scene.
His biggest hits from this period of his career were 1987's Bad Taste, a crude and brutal dark comedy about aliens using humans as ingredients for meals at their fast food chains, and 1992's Dead Alive, a slapstick horror movie about a tyrannical matriarch slowly turning into a zombified, decrepit cannibal.
Both films are pretty much comedy classics from the school of film that Jackson once shared with the likes of David Cronenberg, John Carpenter, and George Romero, which inspired modern directors like James Gunn, Eli Roth, and Sam Raimi. Unfortunately, having been filmed in the '80s and '90s on shoestring budgets, the movies were shot, edited, and screened on subpar celluloid.
However, Jackson—who is a vocal film preservation advocate—has announced that he is working on converting his previous films to 4K quality. "Anything from those films that is available is, like, 1990s Telecine things, which is the best that we had … compared to now, they look bloody awful," Jackson explained on The Empire Film Podcast.
"I just haven’t re-released them because, if I do, I want them to look really good," Jackson explained. "We’ve actually done some experiments. They look bloody fantastic. They look like they’re shot on 35mm."
Jackson didn't say specifically when these re-releases could be expected, but the near future seems like a good bet.