Peter Jackson has established himself as one of the most visionary and fantastical directors in history, thanks to films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, yet his early years were spent up to his ankles in fake blood. After decades away from the horror genre, the filmmaker recently revealed he'd gladly embrace his genre roots for the right story.
"I'm very happy to be disgusting again if the right project comes along," Jackson shared with The Hollywood Reporter. "It would be interesting to see how disgusting [collaborator] Fran [Walsh] and I could be in our older age compared to our younger years because we've learned a few things since then. We know a little bit more about the world than we did then, so maybe our levels of disgusting could go into whole new places!"
Jackson's early films, like Braindead, Bad Taste, and Meet the Feebles were independent endeavors that featured all manner of gruesome events. While these films might not necessarily be pictures that every Lord of the Rings fan should check out, they offer a unique glimpse into the early days of the imaginative filmmaker.
The lack of involvement from major studios meant the projects could incorporate any manner of violent scenes without having to worry about what higher-ups would have to say.
"Our only philosophy was that we were going to be as disgusting as we possibly could," he admitted. "And we didn't have any studio types on set or reading with us, because there was no script to read, really — we were just writing it as we went along."
Crafting gory genre films isn't a surefire trajectory to get into the blockbuster business, but Jackson isn't the only director who has followed this path. Sam Raimi, for example, directed what many consider to be the defining Spider-Man films beginning in 2002, though he spent his early days covered in fake blood in a remote cabin in the woods to deliver audiences his Evil Dead films.
Making matters all the more interesting is that Jackson's Lord of the Rings films only exist thanks to his horror efforts.
Jackson directed 1996's The Frighteners, about a grim reaper spirit that was killing off ghosts permanently. The film utilized complex visuals effects, forcing the director to lean into CGI to bring the story to life. It was by seeing what could be accomplished through these visual effects that Jackson was inspired to use these techniques to make The Lord of the Rings, a feat that would have been far more difficult with more rudimentary technology.
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