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WTF Moments: Zombie sex (and the resulting zombie baby) in Peter Jackson's Braindead

By Eric Vespe
Braindead (Dead Alive) zombie sex

Listen, you can scramble up every scene of Peter Jackson's zombie gorefest Braindead (1992) and pick one at random and it'd be the most f***ed-up thing in any other movie. Jackson's everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach to Braindead (also known as Dead Alive) means you've barely had time to recover from the last crazy thing you've seen before you're hit upside the head by the next.

Set in Wellington, New Zealand in the 1950s, the story at the heart of all the blood and guts is actually a sweet one. It's a love story between a timid guy named Lionel (Timothy Balme) and a fiesty shopgirl named Paquita (Diana Peñalver). Things get complicated when Lionel's domineering mum gets bitten by a rare Sumatran Rat Monkey, becomes a zombie and Lionel, trying to keep everything quiet, has to juggle the growing number of infected.

Two of the zombie gang are a nearly decapitated nurse, who Lionel has to feed through her esophagus hole, and an undead priest who was killed while using his holy kung fu on a batch of zombie greasers. They have the hots for each other, get it on, and immediately produce a zombie baby.

In a movie that rightfully claims to be the bloodiest film ever made, it's really tough to pick one WTF moment, but two zombies boning and making a zombie baby is a pretty good one to focus on. By this point, we'd seen Rosemary's baby turn out not so right and It's Alive (1974) showcase a mutated infant, but never before had we seen a zombie baby like this — and we sure as hell had never seen the act that produced that zombie baby.

As you can imagine, zombie sex isn't the most loving act. In fact, the Nurse Zombie rips the lips off of her lover, giving him a gruesome smile for the rest of his screentime. And she eats them, of course.

Jackson's energetic filmmaking flips into overdrive when Baby Selwyn is born and Lionel tries to take it to the park like other parents. Of course, his baby carriage is laced with barb wire to keep his monster out and away from the regular kids.

Again, in a movie that has a pile of guts come to life to strangle the good guy, it's difficult to point out one single WTF moment, but this smaller scene essentially paves the way for the insanity of the third act, where Lionel literally brings a lawnmower to a zombie party. When you see two zombies have sex and produce an evil little zombie baby you're either going to turn off the movie and walk away or you're committed to the ride. After you see something like that you're ready for whatever's going to come next.

It's especially fun to remind people how messed up Academy Award-winning director Jackson's early films were. Bad Taste (1987), Meet the Feebles (1989), and Braindead are three of the craziest, raunchiest, most hilariously foul movies ever made... and then he went on to make the beautiful and delicate Heavenly Creatures (1994) and some obscure fantasy trilogy called The Lord of the Rings.

Fun Braindead fact to leave you all with: The opening of the movie has the Wellington Zoo official taking the Sumatran Rat Monkey from its native habitat, which just so happens to be Skull Island. So technically you can view Braindead as a sequel to Jackson's King Kong (2005). Now that would be a hell of a double feature...