Meet The Feebles (1989)

Meet the Feebles Poster.jpg

Meet The Feebles is the second film that was created by Peter Jackson after he finished making Bad Taste. Unlike the other two horror films that make up Peter Jackson’s early trilogy of works – Bad Taste and BraindeadMeet The Feebles is a gross out comedy of extreme proportions. Thematically, Meet The Feebles is a parody of The Muppets Show, however, Meet The Feebles asks the questions: what if The Muppets were actually the sleaziest, grossest, nastiest characters behind the scenes?

Firstly, for Peter Jackson’s second film, especially one that was shot in New Zealand on a low budget of $750,000 NZ, Meet The Feebles is an incredibly impressive feat of talent. The cast of Meet The Feebles is entirely made up of 44 full-bodied puppets, some controlled by string, some portrayed by actors in body suits. All the puppets were handmade by a crew of 4 people, one of which was Peter Jackson himself. It’s amazing to think that Meet The Feebles was the result of pure hard work and dedication from Peter Jackson and his friends from Wing Nut films, Peter Jackson’s first production company based solely in New Zealand, because the film is incredibly detailed when it comes to the costumes, sets, characterization and vocal performances. Meet The Feebles is also technically impressive as well. The film is very well shot with very creative lighting and elegant, yet grimy, cinematography: the lighting manages to reflect the tone of the film –  dark and grungy for the villain escapades, vivid and warm for the hero’s struggles – and the film picks very detailed camera angles for each dirty scene. Thus, it’s clearly evident that Peter Jackson payed very close attention to mis-en-scene, as each shot of Meet The Feebles is quite striking and well put together. One would be very hard-pressed to find a visible puppeteer or crew member throughout the entirety of the film, an accomplishment by Peter Jackson his production crew on sch as low budget venture.

However, the main aspect, and indeed the focal point of Meet The Feebles, is the immature, juvenile, disgusting humour on display from the opening scene to the end credits. Meet The Feebles takes a similar stance to puppet comedy as Team America World Police would 15 years later: because they’re puppets, we can do whatever we want to them and it’ll still be funny. In Meet The Feebles, characters are shot, squashed, melted, drugged, eaten and mutilated; they also engage in very lewd acts such as orgies, drug abuse, S&M, panty sniffing and even date raping. However, Meet The Feebles focuses on the story and characters in order to make the more ‘extreme’ content feel appropriate for the insane, quirky characters that make up the cast of the Feebles Variety Hour. Meet The Feebles sets out to create memorable characters, rather than creating a deep story-line, and the film pays close attention to each character individually: their backstory and their motivations that carry the plot along. The villains are portrayed as powerful, irredeemable assholes, and the protagonists are portrayed as struggling cast members just trying to deal with the pressure from both the villains, and the stress of putting on a stage show itself. As a result, the film enjoys scenes of violent catharsis and emotional struggle as the characters interact with each other, and the ending couldn’t be more satisfying to watch as everything comes to a boiling point and each character gets their just desserts.

Meet The Feebles is my favourite gross-out comedy film. It’s really stupid, really disgusting, but in my opinion, it’s really fun to watch. It’s a film that set out to offend as many people as it can, and I have a soft spot for films that don’t care, don’t pretend to care and offer a crazy ride through off-the-wall sequences of sex, drugs and catchy musical numbers. In conclusion: I love this film, and I recommend it to anyone who doesn’t take the film industry too seriously with the stomach to handle a lot of gross, immature humor.

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