Following the masterful restoration work done on the WW1 footage for his feature documentary “They Will Not Grow Old,” filmmaker Peter Jackson will be using some of that tech to help in a 4K restoration of his first four feature films.
Jackson’s work from 1996’s “The Frighteners” onwards is all readily available in HD and on Blu-ray, but the four films he did before that – alien invasion horror-comedy “Bad Taste,” the raunchy puppet film “Meet the Feebles,” the super gory “Braindead” and the Oscar-nominated psychological thriller “Heavenly Creatures” – are not.
In fact, it’s hard to find these titles in decent quality. Jackson opted to try out the ‘Grow Old’ tech on the old films to see how it would go in terms of restoring them. He tells Heat Vision:
“I’ve decided to go back and do this to my old films – the first four I made, which I own but never re-released. I’ve done some tests on Braindead, where we took the 16mm negative and put it through our World War I restoration pipeline – and s–t, it looks fantastic!… I’m pretty keen to actually just get them back out there again. That’s sort of my plan for now: to do a nice little box set – the early years! The naughty years!.”
Jackson says “Bad Taste” was in the most need of restoration, and not only will the picture quality be improved but the audio will be retooled into high definition sound. In addition, plenty of behind-the-scenes footage collected during the making of there early movies will be restored to assemble a documentary:
“I’ve always had video diaries being shot. So I’ve got about an hour or two of us shooting Bad Taste, seven or eight hours of us shooting The Feebles, 50 to 60 hours of us filming Braindead, and at least 70 hours of us doing Heavenly Creatures. And it’s not just people talking to the camera. It’s actually a guy on the set filming us making the film. So there’s some pretty interesting stuff there and none of it has ever been out.”
Jackson also says he’d be open to doing splatter films again, adding that “it would be interesting to see how disgusting Fran [Walsh] and I could be in our older age… 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.”