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Dead Alive (1992)

Braindead (original title)
A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.


Peter Jackson


Stephen Sinclair (story), Stephen Sinclair (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
3,862 ( 496)
14 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Timothy Balme ... Lionel Cosgrove
Diana Peñalver ... Paquita Maria Sanchez
Elizabeth Moody ... Mum (Vera Cosgrove)
Ian Watkin Ian Watkin ... Uncle Les
Brenda Kendall Brenda Kendall ... Nurse McTavish
Stuart Devenie ... Father McGruder
Jed Brophy ... Void
Stephen Papps Stephen Papps ... Zombie McGruder
Murray Keane Murray Keane ... Scroat
Glenis Levestam Glenis Levestam ... Nora Matheson
Lewis Rowe Lewis Rowe ... Mr. Matheson
Elizabeth Mulfaxe Elizabeth Mulfaxe ... Rita
Harry Sinclair ... Roger
Davina Whitehouse ... Paquita's Grandmother
Silvio Famularo Silvio Famularo ... Paquita's Father


In New Zealand's peaceful town of Wellington, Lionel Cosgrove--an oppressed bachelor who is still living with his despotic mother, Vera--has finally found his soulmate: the kind grocery store clerk, Paquita. However, before long, things will take a turn for the worse in Lionel's already messed-up world, when Skull Island's vicious Sumatran Rat-Monkey bites Vera after a visit to the local zoo. Now that Vera's got the "bite", the virulent infection is rapidly turning her into a puss-squirting flesh-eating living dead, and the volatile situation is bound to get out of hand, as an ever-growing collection of dead bodies and other stimulant-enhanced zombie misfits start to cram Lionel's basement. Poor Lionel--whether you like it or not--you need to man up and clean up the mess; moreover, summon up the courage to confront your decomposing mummy, and the family's ugly secret. Nevertheless, has Lionel what it takes to save the day, and get the girl? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


This film is like nothing you've ever seen! See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for an abundance of outrageous gore | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Peter Jackson is a well-known aficionado of the original 1933 version of King Kong (1933). In the beginning of Braindead, the New Zealand Zoo official is stealing the rat monkey from Skull Island. That's Jackson's nod to Skull Island's more famous resident, King Kong. Jackson would 'return' to Skull Island for his 2005 remake of King Kong (2005). See more »


The display outside the fruit shop, where Paquita works, is partly stacked on green plastic apple crates. These were introduced in New Zealand in the mid 1970s. The film is set in 1957. See more »


Uncle Les: Christ! What a stink!
Lionel Cosgrove: Uh... yeah. A dog must have uh, crawled under the house and died.
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Alternate Versions

Braindead also contains the following scene missing from both versions of Dead Alive:
  • Just before Lionel makes his entrance with the lawnmower, Paquita and friend (the one with glasses) are attacked by Voids legs (cut off in the bathroom scene) and a horde of zombies. Paquita and the girl grab a leg each and rip them apart. They then use these limbs to attack any zombie that comes near them.
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Heat of My Thoughts
Composed and performed by Tony Backhouse
copyright central
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User Reviews

Like an Abattoir Massacre on LSD...
19 September 2020 | by XstalSee all my reviews

I think it's called the sweet spot, that place when everything comes together at the right moment: the build up has been great, the levels on all the gauges are optimised, you have all the ingredients, the recipe for success has been perfected and then you unleash the beast, and what a butcher of a beast you unleash!

If you dig too deep for the secrets or contrast it with today you'll end up burying yourself however, do be mindful and in awe of the immense crafts these artisans had developed in the early 90s and, above all, revel in the way those talents were recombined to produce a true work of ground breaking genius that will keep those fascinated by such majesty capitated, bowled and limbed for as long as is inhumanly possible.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Official Sites:

NZonScreen listing


New Zealand


English | Spanish

Release Date:

12 February 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dead Alive See more »


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$23,765, 15 February 1993

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (R-rated) | (unrated) | (FSK 16) | (1992) (1993) (cut) | (heavily cut) | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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