14 years before The Lord of the Rings
Peter Jackson is a well-known filmmaker today, particularly famous for directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which was released between 2001 and 2003. Before working on such blockbuster projects, Jackson started his career by directing horror comedies, including his first film, Bad Taste, released in 1987.
A Real Springboard
In the 1980s, Peter Jackson was an aspiring director creating short films. After making several shorts and gathering funds, he finally managed to raise approximately $25,000. This amount was considered sufficient to produce his first feature film. He embarked on a science fiction project in which aliens invade a small village in New Zealand with the intention of kidnapping humans for their space-based fast food restaurants.
Over the course of four years, Peter Jackson and his friends worked on this film during their free time. On set, Jackson took on multiple roles, including producer, director, cinematographer, and even actor with two roles. After significant effort, the team completed Bad Taste and set their sights on releasing it in theaters. Surprisingly, the film became a success after being presented at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival, bringing unexpected recognition to Peter Jackson.
This initial success, though modest, paved the way for his next project, Freebies, a horror parody of The Muppet Show, released two years later. It wasn’t until 1994, with the release of his fantasy drama, Celestial Creatures, that Peter Jackson truly experienced significant success. This achievement caught the attention of Hollywood studios, ultimately leading to the opportunity to adapt Lord of the Rings.