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Copyright © Kitley's Krypt
2013 RONDO AWARD
First and foremost, I would like to thank Pete O’Herne (Barry), Mike Minett (Frank), and Craig Smith (Giles), for letting me bother them with all these questions, especially when they are about a movie that was started over 17 years ago. I also want to apologize for the missing photos that we used to have posted here. Pete O'Herne had sent us tons of great behind-the-scenes photos, but after our last computer crash, we lost them. But we still have the interview intact, which I hope will still be intertaining.
I also want to thank Tom at Video Junkie and Will Wilson for additional questions.
written material is copyrighted by Kitley’s Krypt, and cannot be reproduced
without permission. The photos are copyrighted by Pete O’herne and also cannot
be used without permission.
How did you get involved with BAD TASTE?
I was friends with Peter Jackson and Ken Hammon. Pete purchased a second hand
16mm Bolex camera and around late ’82 – early ’83 a plan was hatched to
make a 20 minute short for the Wellington Film Festival. We settled on ROAST OF
THE DAY as the working title – the project took on a life of its own and
eventually became Bad Taste.
Pete O'Herne Today
Well I grew up with Pete Jackson. I
have known him since I was about 9 years old.
It was a laugh going around to his house and seeing Pete making movies of
some kind or working out special effects that the guys that Pete admired as
a kid. He was a fan of people like
Willis O'Brien and Ray Harryhausen. So
I was there all the way through being cast as a villain or one of the
undead in various films that Pete would experiment with.
Mike Minett Today
A lot of the people in BAD TASTE all worked at Wellington Newspapers.
Pete Jackson, Terry (Ozzy) Potter, and myself worked in the same
department as photo lithographers. We
had all done our apprenticeships and ended up working together at the Evening
Post. We became good buddies and
had the same sense of humour. So
life at the Post was a lot of fun. Pranks
and jokes and all that . . .
How long did the film take to make?
started pre-production mid ’83 and finished mid ’87.
took four years to make which was quite funny cause the end of the first days
filming, Pete looked at me and said “You’re gonna have to look like that
till we finished filming. Which was
hilarious, as I didn’t shave, so for four years I could only shave once a
week. That was okay though, any
excuse not to, I say….heehee!
of the expense and also Pete was paying out of his own pocket, it took about
three years. We mainly filmed in
the weekends, as that was the only time we could all be together.
I think Pete filmed little bits here and there at night during the week
at home. Because it took so long,
it sort of became routine, so it was never that exciting.
It was part of our lives . . . like going to work.
We all had wives and girlfriends and kids (except Pete at that time.
He was on a mission), so the Sundays we filmed was sort of like a bit of
hassle cause we were away from our home life.
But we stuck with it and it was good to actually finish the film.
Although, now I kinda miss those good old days of madness.
Did you ever think that it would become this big of a cult film?
hoped it would find an audience but didn’t anticipate the loyal following it
would gain over the years - whenever I talk to fans the first question is always
“when are you guys going to make BAD TASTE 2. The film wasn’t a success in
the movie theatres but came into its own on video. It’ll be interesting to see
how well the DVD does on its release next year.
I always said to people that it would turn out ok but I never imagined the cult
status that it has gained. Maybe I
could develop my singing voice and cut an album…heehee!!
I didn’t. I don’t think anyone did.
Having worked on it, and seeing how it was made, it seemed improbable
that it would become anywhere near as big a hit as it did.
I mean, fake plastic guns, scratches on the film for gunshots, jeeze.
For the film to win awards overseas and things like that.
Well it’s extraordinary. Good
What were your other job duties besides actor?
name it. I did it – camera operator, sound guy, special effects technician,
seagull puppeteer, driver, set builder, the list goes on.
We were all cast, crew and extras, which was cool as we got to shoot film
As I said in Question 1, we started off being goffers and as time passed
got more involved. We carried stuff
round and up bloody great hills. We
helped with effects, mainly gunshot wounds.
Pete would have all these plastic tubes hooked up to the wound of the
day, and as he filmed, we would push these syringes in all the same time and
splosh out would shoot the blood (heaps of blood).
That stuff was sticky and sweet. We
would be covered in the stuff . . . horrible.
Did all the crew double as 3rd class aliens?
There’s a scene where we are being pursued by three third class aliens – in
fact it’s us in the costumes. We shot our scenes first then put on the alien
suits and shot the pursuit – the alien waving the A-47 over his head is me.
Yea we did and that means all of us...lol.
Except for that night at gear homestead where Pete got a whole pile of
people to do the Vomit scene.
Hey, what’s with this 3rd Class business?
We were all 1st Class all the way, thank you very much.
Yeah, I think we all at some stage played other bits.
But whoa, do you mean those horrible aliens in the freaky suits?
Oh dear I think you do. Noooo,
I never had to dress up in that crap. By
that stage, we had some other guys there so they were the designated aliens.
I forget how many there were, five or six or so.
Anyway, it was my job to kill the bastards…teehee.
Craig, how long did you have to sit in that barrel of water?
We shot that over two Sunday afternoons. It was one of the more pleasant
set-ups in the movie - we did it in Jackson’s garage. The days were sunny and
they kept me topped up with warm water. During the breaks I could snack on the
fruit floating in the tub.
What was in that vomit punch?
That was funny. It was a mixture of yoghurt, green food coloring, frozen
vegetables and muesli.
Was there a script? If so, was it followed pretty closely, or was
The film was shot over 4 years and during that time we had 2 marriages,
two nervous breakdowns, a divorce, one case of testicular cancer, and one death.
All of the main players save Pete O’herne and Peter Jackson left the project
for one reason or another (we all shot death scenes!) then returned. The story
had to evolve to take into account what was happening in our lives. There’s
hours of footage in the can that never made it into the final film. For example,
there was going to be a sequence involving Pete O’herne and myself being
chased by a rabid sheep – we spent hours running around a paddock but the
scene was dropped in favour of the exploding sheep gag.
remember Pete telling me about John Carpenter and whenever he used to do a
script and go out and shoot it, what was written was changed on the day and this
is what happened with us. Basically
because we or Pete would come up with something better.
You’ve got to be joking, mate. I
don’t think there ever was a script as such.
Pete might have started out with one, but things changed all the time
over such a long period of time. I
remember in some interior car scenes we had bits of cardboard stuck all over the
place. But mind, you when we had to
sync the dialogue up to the movie in the studio we had to say what our lips were
saying, so I suppose we followed some sort of direction. Although I think we just made up stuff on the day of filming
and worked it out later. The others
might remember more or they might have sat around discussing things, but I
don’t remember too much of that.
Was the script a collaboration?
To be honest, there really wasn't a script as such until the very final
stages - Pete always claimed that he was carrying it round in his head, but we
all had our doubts about that! We all threw ideas into the movie as it
The script was Pete Jackson’s vehicle for sure, but there was
definitely a team effort as well as additional material was also given by Ken
Hammon. It all depended on the day.
Like we would shoot certain scenes and we would say, “Hey Pete, how
about if we did this or that.” And
Pete would certainly take the cast’s suggestions.
Peter is very easy going to work with.
Also there was a dialogue sheet that we used too, which I still have
script? There really was no script as such. We made things up as we went along. But Pete must have done his homework, probably with a rough
soundtrack, ‘cause we had a sound mic most of the time. We overdubbed all the
dialogue right at the end in a studio. So
someone (Pete) knew what we had to say. It’s a bit hazy, but I think we just said things at the
time. That’s probably why the
script (dialogue) is a weak part of the movie.
But having said that, there are some funny lines said.
What was the film's final budget?
Hard to say really. Pete would buy film stock as he could afford it. Most
of the costumes and effects were homemade. Eventually the New Zealand Film
Commission started taking us seriously and ponied up some cash – including
NZ$30,000 to complete principal photography.
You know I can’t remember. I
think it was a figure of NZ$250,000.-$400,000.
I’m not sure about that. For
years Pete paid out of his own pocket, buying film, getting it developed.
We all chipped in as much as we could before he went to the film
commission and got a grant from them. I
don’t know for how much though.
What was the most complicated effect to make?
would have to be the exploding car sequence – we got a derelict Toyota Corolla
from a wreckers, painted it to look like Mike’s Ford Capri, filled it with two
garbage sacks full of petrol, two sticks of gelignite, got six cameras turning
over (because we could only afford to do it once) and kaboom! It wasn’t
completely successful though because the car was supposed to fly into the air.
I think one of them
had to be doing the gear homestead as it was a protected historical house.
So Pete had to set and make scale models one the size of a small house
and then smaller until he had one the size of a record turntable which is how
Pete got it to spin in space.
Even though I helped with a lot of effects, it was Pete who ran the whole
show. I mean I don’t want to talk
as though it were my ideas and that…very modest is I.
Also, lots of very good scenes were shot away from our prying eyes.
Pete didn’t want to show us the whole shebang.
He wanted to surprise us when we saw the entire movie for the first time.
And boy did he surprise us…Wheeeeeeee.
What was the most deceiving effect?
Robert didn’t really pull the rear fender off my car. I was moving
house a few days before we were going to film those scenes. The trailer I was
towing was too heavy and caused the tow bar (with fender attached) to tear off
the back of the car. The car wasn’t worth fixing so we worked the fender gag
into the plot. Strictly speaking not really an effects shot – but a good
I get a lot of people asking about the sheep-exploding scene.
And really it was a small table that Pete and I set up one day on the way
home from location. The table
consisted of explosives and sheepskin. Pete
and me went across the road to set the camera up and we blew it up...the rest is
The gunshots were strange. While
filming, we just pointed these plastic guns at whatever and sort of shook them
as in recoil. Later, Pete (at work) used exposed film and simply put
scratches on them in certain places. Later
on he somehow married them up to the shooting scenes, thus, along with sound
effects, looked like…BLAM BLAM BLAM in the movie.
It looked great.
What was your best memory of making the movie? Any other fond
The best thing about making the movie was the relationship that developed
between the boys. We had some great times together.
I think my best memories of the movie, to be honest was the humor on the
set. It was a laugh as we were all
fans of Monty Python so the joking around was quite zany.
I have to say that none of us have changed in that outlook.
I remember Pete having that Brown Bess Musket and he was firing it and
Mike was late, so Pete said to us "Hey guys! I'm gonna play a joke on
Mike when he turns up, mike came around the corner and Pete had it loaded
with blanks. Pete shouted at Mike,
”Hey I told you not to be late”, and he fired the gun. Mike was shocked and clutched his chest and we burst out
Hmmm, this is a hard one. It
was over ten years ago. There are
so many thoughts flashing through my head, it’s hard to pin them down. The main one would be the way the five or six of us regulars
would meet up on Sundays and just fool about and laugh and giggle about stupid
things. Like I said, we all had a
wacky sense of humour and only we could find the things we found funny (a bit
like the Beatles I suppose). We
formed a small band of…ummm nuts.
What was your worst memory of making the movie?
That would probably have to be scene where I’m lying on the ground
between Mike and Terry as they’re firing their handguns at the approaching
alien horde – it was a wet cold day (sub zero temperatures) and all I had on
was my costume. I got a mild case of hypothermia. And there was the time when a
squib almost took out my balls… We
weren’t big on taking safety precautions.
I would say my worst memory was the weather.
Man it would get bloody cold out there.
Also we had to take some of the equipment to location which meant we had
to trek thru native bush with these very cumbersome tracks that were homemade by
Pete, and they were made out of wooden 2x4’s. They were heavy.
This one is easy. There’s a scene where Derek (Pete Jackson) gets chased on
the hilltop by two aliens. These
guys have got a sledgehammer each and they take a few swings at Pete.
This hilltop had a huge drop down to the beach about a mile below.
Anyway, these two guys were practicing their swings with these
sledgehammers, right? One was a
real one, while the other was a fake one. Pete’s
setting up the camera angle and I’m standing on the edge of this huge drop
admiring the scenery. I turn round
and face this one guy with the real sledgehammer and he’s going berserk,
swinging it round, really going to town. Suddenly
he lets this thing go. It’s a
beautiful day, still and sunny, and all I see (in slow motion) is this hammer,
head first, coming straight at me. I’m
paralysed. Everything froze except
this hammer coming towards me. It
went whoosing past me, missing my head by (I am not kidding) two inches. I was in shock. I
sat down on the ground and shook for a while.
Then looked down the hill. The
sledgehammer was three quarters of the way down the hill . . .miles down.
If that thing had hit me it would have caved my head in and also thrown
me over the hill onto the beach below. If
that had happened, all Pete would have said was “Shit.
I wish I’d got that on film.”
KK: Have you had any memorable/odd encounters with fans of the film?
Just recently I’ve been corresponding with a heavy metal band in France
who’ve called themselves Bad Taste in honour of the movie and are keen on
being involved in the production of BAD TASTE 2…..
really. People are pretty friendly
and I haven’t changed my appearance. So
I am quite recognisable. Some
people have come up to me and asked how’s my music going, so I’m not sure
who they think I am. Ha ha…Gotta
cut that record.
not really. Every so often someone will come up to me in a pub or
something and talk about the movie. But
I think in New Zealand, no one really cares if you’re famous unless you’re
an All Black (NZ Rugby team). Although
when people do recognise me, I get a nice buzz and have a laugh with them.
Were you involved with Jackson's earlier project CURSE OF THE GRAVE
No, I came on the scene just as that project was grinding to a halt.
Pete was very much into Hammer Horror films as we all were.
I remember we used to see all of them at the time and they are still
great today. So Pete ordered a
cinescope lens from England and we would go out any chance we got to shoot this.
I was the bad guy in it playing a vampire and as it was only a few of us,
I got to play the undead too. It
was halfway thru this film that Pete came up with the idea for a group of SAS
soldiers who raid a house. This
film was only going to be about 10 minutes long but became BAD TASTE.
I know absolutely nothing about this.
When we used to go round to Pete’s for those ‘video’ nights, we
watched films and stuff that Pete, Pete O’herne and Ken had made as kids.
I thought they were pretty amateur and didn’t give them much thought. But now I realize they were part of the dream and love of
movie making that Pete had inside him. This
may sound corny, but you could say that Pete was driven from a very early age to
become what he is today.
Did you stay in the film business?
No. I had a major motorcycle accident in early ’88 that had me laid up
for 4 months. After I got back on my feet I decided to do a bit of travelling.
Went to England for a working holiday and stayed seven years. While I was in
Europe I did some guest spots at splatter film fests, and had some involvement
with a couple of projects that unfortunately didn’t get off the drawing board.
I’m always open to offers of course!
1989, I injured myself from a car accident, which left me incapable of working
at my regular job. So I basically
have been on a type of injury related income.
But I go to the gym and I do weightlifting and such to keep fit.
There are other things I am working on right now, such as a script called
Colors of the Damned for a comic. And
I have written a script called Study Time for a comic called Zomibe
Holocaust. I can’t say anything else at this stage as it is still new,
but I still have lots of ideas to put down.
There are other plans happening too, but it is all in negotiation.
No. None of us apart from
Jackson and Ken (to a certain extent) stayed in the film business.
To this day, I don’t know what happened.
The film came out to good reviews. The
whole film world loves it but we all just carried on with our lives.
I think we all got a bit big headed and expected to be whisked off to
Hollywood or something, but that never happened.
Like I said, we all had wives and kids back then and full time jobs, so
that took up a lot of our time. Terry
and I had our bands to keep us busy, although they never really went
anywhere…more like a hobby. Jackson
never kept in touch with us, cause he was busy making films.
What is your own personal favorite moment in the film?
The scene where Derek takes a nose-dive into Lord Crumb – how do you
My favorite moment in the film is the clifftop scenes. They were pretty scary at the time. But looking back, I think it was hilarious to film those
shots. I think pretty much the
whole thing was a great experience.
This would have to be doing the song for the soundtrack. Pete originally wanted to use Beatle music but couldn’t get
permission (I don’t know who he asked, probably that Ono witch).
So I said to him, “If I can write a good song, would you use it?”
So Pete said okay. So I went
home and the song just wrote itself really.
It came together so easily. I
made a quick recording using a four track drum machine, my mate on guitar, me on
bass and sang a rough vocal. Rushed
off down to play it to Pete and Tony Hiles and they liked it.
I was rapt. Later we went
into the studio and recorded it properly though the bass was done in one take.
I should have done it better but time was money.
I can’t really sing that well (a bit like Dylan on a bad day) so that
was a problem. “Get a fucking singer!” was one comment that kept coming
through the studio glass…teehee. But
with a bit of echo and some studio effects, I did enough to get by.
Some dude in Germany made a double record of the whole film soundtrack
and my song was on it twice. I’ve
got a copy of it somewhere.
KK: One of my favorite parts / lines in the movie, is in the beginning where you pull the gun out to shoot the alien. After you pull the gun out and start to aim, you hear Derek say "I thought you were left-handed?" Then you switch hands. Was that bit of dialog added in later as an after thought, or was that joke there from the beginning?
Pete O'Herne: Actually the joke was there from the beginning and it was a gag that works really well because the scene was Barry under pressure, trying to kill the alien (played Ken Hammon) and he literally forgets how to shoot. The gag was more on how Derek was a stickler for correctness in a Governmental clerical way.
How did Jackson originally pitch the movie to you to get your enthusiasm
up and running?
We were a bunch of friends going out to have some laughs and make a short
film. We thought we'd knock it off in six months and move on to something bigger
and better - little did we suspect how the thing would come to dominate our
lives for so long!
Well, he sort of just came up with the idea for a short film while doing
CURSE OF THE GRAVE WALKERS, and he put it to me and we were keen as we just
enjoyed what we were doing. And it
kept us off the streets too…Heehee!!
Pete (Jackson) and I worked together and most of the talk was about films
and stuff. Video recorders had more
or less just come out and he would talk non stop about this film and that film
and also about movies he had made or was making.
Real oogy stuff like vampires and spooks.
All new to me, as I was more into music and bands and guitars.
Things went on from there. In
the end, I ended up going out to wherever he was filming and helping out until
finally he included “The Boys” into the script. The rest is history.
What was the original plan for the 10-minute film that turned into BAD
TASTE? How did it become a
Basically it was going to be the charity collector walking into town,
being captured, and cooked by the aliens - hence the working title ROAST OF THE
DAY. The further we got into shooting the more ideas started being incorporated,
and the film became more complex.
the original plan for BAD TASTE was a raid on an old homestead by a group of
elite soldiers, as we were fans of TV shows from England like THE PROFESSIONALS.
The reason it became a full length feature was because we kept coming up
with more material as we went along.
I can remember about this is that Pete had shot a lot of boring film of Craig
driving around in that little car of his. We
had seen the footage at his place with no sound and man it was pretty
unexciting. Ha! I’m not
sure exactly what happened, but after Terry and I came onto the scene Pete
somehow decided to spice up the film. So
he kept what he had shot already but added a new storyline and included us more
and more. Lucky us.
I remember Craig went away for a while, so we got more and more parts.
We loved it. Talk about ham
While you made the film did your other friends and relatives think you
guys were wasting your time and/or just plain nuts?
ABSOLUTLY! There was a lot of smirking going on behind our backs.
definitely. All my friends or relatives thought we were barking mad and
on cloud nine. At times it just
adds to the determination. Also
when we did the film, you kind of got the attitude that you were in a different
world…and we were shooting everything in sight.
Mike Minett: That’s a funny question, but a good one. I’ll tell you something, half the time we thought we were crazy and wasting our time, let alone other people. Once we got involved, it went on and on and on…and we couldn’t back out. There were long periods of standing around doing nothing. It got a bit much at times, cause I had a wife and kid at home…blah, blah, blah. But looking back I’m glad I stuck with it. As for being nuts, we were lucky that we all had crazy funnybones. We kept each other amused. Right now, I e-mail Craig and O’herne most days and our humor is still blue. Our weekend newspapers were full of Peter Jackson, as he’s just finished filming LORD OF THE RINGS. He had a big party but we weren’t invited. He’s forgotten about ‘The Boys’. The bastard.
KK: What was the reaction from locals after the film was shown there?
Craig Smith: It's well regarded within its fan base but has never had a high profile in NZ. At the time it was released the New Zealand Film Commission didn't quite know what to make of it - art films are more it's stock in trade. Consequently, It was badly marketed and had a very limited run in the movie houses. I think if more of the mainstream audience had been exposed to it, it would have generated a lot more controversy.
It was greeting with standing ovations everywhere and there was a lot of
news coverage in local papers too.
I don’t really know. Like
I told you, in New Zealand, people don’t really get into hero worship.
If you fuck up, people will knock you.
But if you’re a winner they don’t really care.
Strange really. I did expect
more or a reaction from everyone but…hardly nothing. It seems to me that people over seas have gone more ballistic
about BAD TASTE than people in NZ. I
think New Zealanders are pretty level headed and umm…boring.
Like you can spot someone like Neil Finn (Split Enz) in a shopping mall
and you just go “Gidday mate”. It’s
not a big deal really. I wish I was
really well know and rich and famous, but I’m not.
I’ve got bills to pay and a full time job.
I just try and enjoy myself and have a good time.
My girlfriend hates it…but like I say to her “Fuck it…You only live
once. Party, party, party.” I’m
a party animal. I’ll get up at 7
o’clock in the morning, crack a bottle of wine, have a joint, wind up the
guitar…I wish I could meet Keith Richards. . .
Any news of BAD TASTE 2?
I think Pete still likes the idea of a BT 2 but its been almost three
years since I last spoke to him about it and it'll probably be another three
years before he's got some spare time. If we ever did get round to making it, it
would probably be made in the same way as the original. But we are all getting
older and less energetic.
This is one of my most asked questions and Pete gets asked that a lot
too. I know that Pete has said that
we can’t rule it out as he has indicated that he would love to take a year off
and get back to grass roots and shoot a sequel in much same way the first one
was shot. Although there would be
bigger guns…heehee!!! It may
happen, just a question of good timing.
Pete always said there would be a part 2, but he got sidetracked with
MEET THE FEEBLES and it never came about. I
think BRAINDEAD satisfied his fantasy of making a good zombie movie so he just
went on from there. I do not think
it would be necessary for a BAD TASTE 2. It’s
a pity but that’s the way the blood flow …teehee.