In the next of our Bad Taste themed interviews, we chat with Pete O'Herne. Pete played a character who was a member of the As...
Bad Taste is a movie that has gained cult status, and is well known as director Peter Jackson's (also director of Lord of the Rings) first successes. Pete O'Herne played a character who was a member of the Astro Investigation and Defence Service, aka The Boys, whose job was to rid the Earth of these pesky invaders!
DVDActive: Hi Pete, thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview with DVDActive.
Pete O'Herne: Hi Malcolm, thanks for inviting me to do this interview for your site.
DVDActive: From what I have heard of the movie, Bad Taste started out as a "short," what got you started making the "short" that ended up becoming Bad Taste?
Pete O'Herne: Well thats a cool question, I grew up with Pete basically going to school with him. I would go over to his house and we would talk about movies like King Kong and anything to do with Ray Harry Hausen, and Pete was right into making models to animate them on one of his super 8 camera's, he loved special effects and make up that could transform an actor into a creature or zombie. So if I was over there we would make masks using plastacine moulds and such like. In between that we would pop around the neighborhood and film at locations like the war movie that is featured in doco on the Ltd DVD. That was a hoot doing that as we were only about 12-13 years old and you can see a little Pete O'Herne running around in the film dressed as a german soldier ... hahahaha.
It just grew from there really, if we weren't filming a story based on what we were fans of, we were filming special FX scenes - like jumping in the air and take a frame then move slightly forward then jump and frame shot and so-on, and the end result was one of us flying thru the air standing up.
Basically we ended up just going out every weekend filming. There was the time at college where Pete made a sort of film called "The Valley" which was a project for a TV show. I was there but I couldn't be involved as I had left school; Pete didn't win with that but he got a special commendation for it though. We just kept shooting films till we ended up on Bad Taste.
Pete and Me and Ken Hammon were over at Pauatahanui at an old grave yard shooting scenes for our horror film "The Curse of the Grave Walkers". I was all dressed up as a Zombie for the shoot and Pete was talking about doing a short film where a group of SAS soldiers raid a house with guns and explosions and all that, and from there Bad Taste was born.
DVDActive: Bad Taste has won many awards over the years, did you ever think whilst making the film that it would end up being such a cult classic?
Pete O'Herne: When we were making the film I always had faith in Pete's desires, it was something I certainly shared in the fact that one day you get into a field that creates a certain amount of escapism and entertainment for the fans.
Me and Pete would joke about how famous the film would be, but we never envisioned any of this, pete actually made Bad Taste for the home video market and wasn't too concerned with cinema release. At the time there were a lot of low budget films being made for that concept - but too have the film with the label that it has now - is a big compliment. We had a lot of fun making that film and a lot of great memories around the whole era of the eighties.
DVDActive: Do you still keep in touch with the rest of "the boys" from AIDS?
Pete O'Herne: Sure do. I speak to Craig Smith quite a lot and Mike too. Ken I speak to about once a month, and Terry I see when he passes through here. I havent spoken to Pete since '99 for the reasons that will be made clear in December ... hahahahaha, but it's only a matter of time with catching up with him.
DVDActive: Bad Taste has so many scenes that have stuck in my memory over the years, what was your faviourite scene in Bad Taste?
Pete O'Herne: Wow that's a hard one to answer. I would say the cliff top scenes were cool, filming them was so scary too. Scenes where Pete was hanging upside down as Robert and i was down the bank filming, and bits of gravel were slipping away from under me. :) I hope that answers that okay, it's more the experience of filming the way we did, just the entire movie was a blast to do.
DVDActive: Were there any scenes that you wished had made it into the film, please describe them if so?
Pete O'Herne A lot of times the film was going to be something completely different to the way it turned out. At one point it was going to reveal that I was an alien too and transform in front of everyone, the scenes were shot and all, but we just kept coming up with so many ideas as the film rolled along that Pete ended up with about 9 hours of Rushes. I think the end result is cool and if the fans are happy then we are happy - as we are fans too - of the whole genre.
DVDActive: How come Bad Taste took so long to create? Wasn't it four years?
Pete O'Herne It took four years to make yeah, the thing with BadTaste was it was a labor of love, and the opportunities to film weren't there all the time. We had to utilise the weekends to the limit, if the weather didn't hold us back, our family life did. Sometimes Pete would have a break as he may not have had things ready for the shoot, also too there were parties or things that you may have no control over, that delayed filming. Most of the time was used to the advantage of the film - nobody can ever say we rushed it though ... HAHAHAHAHA.
DVDActive: While filming BadTaste over those four years, what did you do in real-life?
Pete O'Herne: I had my Job working for a government department, that was so boring. A means to an end that job. I liked to party too - still do, and if I wasn't doing that i was with my girlfriend and we were over at Pete's house watching movies. Pete had a big screen so he would set his lounge up with the screen and we would sit there and watch movies, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I remember Pete asked me over to his place one day and I ended up helping him dig out under the house so he could build a home cinema. It looked great when it was finished, either that or I had my head in a plaster of paris mould - that was my real life - and it was great fun too, i would do it again in a minute. :)
DVDActive: It's been years since Bad Taste was released, when was the last time you saw Bad Taste and what did you think of it?
I saw it in August of this year, it still cracks me up too. It's like any movie you watch over and over, after a while you look for the parts you like the most - the scene where Derek cuts thru the wall HAHAHAHAHA. Too funny, and the bonus for me is it brings back all the times again.
DVDActive: What have you been up to since Bad Taste was completed?
Pete O'Herne Well i was injured in '89 so i was limited for a while. I have the same desires as Pete but have been unable to fulfil those because of the injury for a long time. Pete has asked me if I would like to be in Braindead but I had to say no with the situation and all. Things only started coming right last year and I signed up with a gymm and rehabbed the injury which has all but gone cept for the odd pain and twitch. There has been projects that I have been working on though and I am waiting to see if the results from that, and of course I can't say anything about those just yet.
DVDActive: Has the recent interest in Lord of the Rings resulted in you being asked about Bad Taste a lot more?
Pete O'Herne Yeah it has, I got this computer last year and have talked about nothing else and none of them are my age either, they are all 17 - 25 year olds
cool too see - a bit like hearing about Bands like AC/DC Selling out at
concerts - a big fan of those guys.
DVDActive: How difficult was it to create the illusion of a completely deserted town like that?
Pete O'Herne: There were a few times we went out filming through the week, any excuse to get away from that job! :) And that town was a place called Makara, it was quite deserted in the fact that everyone was at work. There were a couple of people who were watching us from behind thier curtains - quite an eerie feeling there though. Sometimes the odd car went past but not too much of a problem. Luck was on our side. :)
DVDActive: The cliff face looked incredibly steep, almost vertical, was it at all difficult or dangerous shooting those scenes?
Pete O'Herne Yea it was incredibly dangerous up there. When we did the kicking off of Derek the Dummy we had to do that quite a few times as the dummy didn't go all the way down. So Pete climbed down to get it and then bring it back up and start over again. The final one we shot, the dummy went so far down that we had to go down to the beach all the way at the bottom and
climb up the bank to get the dummy. We weren't going to climb back down to get it so we went the long way which was back down through the normal route and halfway through the town and down too the beach.
When we finally got there the dummy was further up than we thought. Ken got the task of going up the cliff to throw it the rest of the way, we had walkie talkies that day so it was good to communicte that way, but it always went wrong. The dummy when it was thrown kept getting tangled up in bushes and trees. We settled for using a rock island area to finish that scene - which is
where the dummy frame snapped on the way down and looked so realistic we kept it in. There was a rope that we used in the clifftop scenes that was tied to Robert's foot, we used that a lot just to balance ourselves to get to area we were filming. The grass was long and slippery.
Of course the classic one is the sledgehammer fight where the guys were swinging the sledge hammers around attacking each other and mike was standing minding his own business. Whoever it was swung a sledgehammer too quickly and it left his grip and flew past Mike's head
by about an inch and sailed out over the cliff to the rocks below, 'not sure if someone went and retrieved it or if it's still there now ... hahahaha.
DVDActive: I bet someone's down there now looking for it! :) Was it true that because you had forgotten to shave on the first scene, you had to look like that for the rest of the movie?
Pete O'Herne: Yep that is so true. I forgot to shave, we were filming all day doing scenes that set up my character in the movie. I said my unshaven face was annoying me and Pete looked at me and said well you can only shave once a week till filming finishes, I got used to it but my job didn't
which suited me fine. Now I still can't break the unshaven habit! :)
DVDActive: Anchor Bay didn't do a commentary track for the limited edition release of the DVD, out of interest, did they approach you about such a feature? Would you have done one if they did?
Pete O'Herne: Anchor Bay wrote too me in the middle of August and were very keen to have a commentary, but geographically it was near impossible to set up at short notice and also with Pete doing "Lord of the Rings" there was no way it could have been done. If there was no Pete it would have been missing the main element associated with those great times. I would have loved to have done commentary on that, I have a lot of items from those days, pix and memorabillia so it would be a laugh.
DVDActive: Finally, would you ever consider doing a follow-up movie, where Derek arrives back on the alien world to wreak havoc?
Pete O'Herne Yes, I would love to do a sequel to Bad Taste. It has always been talked about too. Pete has always mentioned about doing Bad Taste 2. It would be cool to get together with the boys again.
Thank you Pete for finding the time to take part in this DVDActive interview! Anchor Bay have just released the special limited edition copy of Bad Taste featuring a remastered transfer and documentary. You can obtain a copy from most good region one online retailers.
DVDActive would also like to thank Hamish Towgood who runs The Ultimate Bad Taste Fan Site for helping us to get into contact with Pete O'Herne! If you are interested in the movie Bad Taste, then Hamish's site offers some excellent exclusive information, click here.
Editorial by Malcolm Campbell
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