Though filmmaker Peter Jackson has many modern film fans that admire his work because of how he was able to realize Tolkein’s Middle-earth on the big screen, there are some who are a fan of what he himself refers to as “The Naughty Years.” Jackson’s earliest work captured the minds of genre film fans around the world with the likes of the alien-invasion/splatter-comedy Bad Taste, the lewd Muppet parody Meet the Feebles, and the absurdly gorey Dead Alive (aka Braindead), which put the filmmaker on the map and eventually lead to The Lord of the Rings and King Kong. These films were released on DVD and VHS many years ago but like other titles haven’t yet made the leap to blu-ray or 4K, but they might finally clear that hurdle very soon.
In the years since Jackson has teased working on restoring his original movies for 4K home media, much like the treatment he gave the footage for They Shall Not Grow Old and The Beatles: Get Back. Speaking in an interview with Uproxx about his upcoming Disney+ mini-series, Jackson confirmed that work on the 4K restorations of his early films is still in the works but that work on The Beatles pressed the pause button for them. The good news is he seems confident that they could be ready within the next year or so.
“We’ve been held up a bit by doing this Beatles film, but we are trying to remaster all those early films,” Jackson said. “It would’ve been a little bit of a crappy quality for this, because all the DVDs that were out there were done back in the 1990s. So we are doing a remastering and whole digital 4K thing and it looks great. But we’ve been trying to do all that in between Beatles stuff, and that’s been put on a shelf for a while. But, hopefully, within another year or so they’ll come out remastered.”
An interview with The Hollywood Reporter back in 2018 was the place where Jackson confirmed that he was working on restoring his early work, revealing that he sent his films through the same restoration pipeline that they treated the footage used in They Shall Not Grow Old and the end result was “fantastic.”
Jackson reflected on what he and his collaborator Fran Walsh were able to get away with while working on those movies as well, adding: “Our only philosophy was that we were going to be as disgusting as we possibly could, and we didn’t have any studio types on set or reading with us, because there was no script to read, really – we were just writing it as we went along.”
Check back here for more updates on Jackson’s highly-anticipated box set as we learn more.