I’m not quite sure that the chapter will turn out as focussed as this description makes it sound – it seems like I’ll need to bring in a host of other NZ horror films to make a strong case – but I proposed this for a book looking for something on cannibalism:

New Zealand Lamb is People: Bad Taste, Black Sheep, and Farming

It seems that everyone knows that there are more sheep in New Zealand than people. The historian James Bellich, in his Paradise Reforged: A History of the New Zealanders calls the movement of lamb “the protein bridge” between the South Seas and England. Peter Jackson’s mock-documentary Forgotten Silver (1996) bases much of its humour on the incongruity of a peripheral nation at the centre of cinema history; when it comes to the circulation of meat, his 1987 splatter-horror-comedy Bad Taste is firmly rooted in the truth: New Zealand resides much closer to the centre.

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Bad Taste pits a slapstick defense force against invading aliens, concentrating just as much on what the characters put in themselves as what comes out of them. In the film’s most memorable scene, Frank eats a bowl of alien vomit and finds it quite tasty. Jackson shot the film on weekends, close to home, in places like Porirua, where the first McDonalds in New Zealand opened in 1976. Perhaps the location’s history informed Jackson’s decision to make the vomit-eating alien invaders the vanguard of an intergalactic fast food chain intent on factory-farming Earth. Black Sheep (2006) picks up where Bad Taste leaves off, pairing “danger” and “sheep” with trends in GM farming practices spurred by global (or intergalactic) demand for what New Zealand has to offer.

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The true figure of horror in New Zealand cinema, it seems, is not a zombie (Dead Alive), a fascist government (Sleeping Dogs) or a gunman (Out of the Blue). It is sheep. New Zealand horror films like Bad Taste and Black Sheep reveal that the danger that the alien invasion of American-style factory farming and fast food chains represents to New Zealand would make New Zealanders cannibals: Unless they fight against factory and GM farming, kiwis will become lambs.

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