Meet the Feebles



1989 | Color | 92 min.

Starring: Danny Mulheron, Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie, Mark Hadlow, Ross Jolly, Brian Sergent, Peter Vere-Jones, Mark Wright, Jay Snowfield, and Doug Wren.

Directed By: Peter Jackson

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It’s almost showtime for the cast and crew of the Feebles Variety Hour and things aren’t going well. Mere hours before the show is set to go live, the star of the show, Heidi, a talented but emotionally unstable hippo, discovers that her lover and the show’s producer, a morally bankrupt walrus named Bletch, is having an affair with another performer. As a result, Heidi is spending her few precious rehearsal hours alternating between bouts of binge eating and rage-fueled breakdowns.

The rest of the cast isn’t faring much better. The show’s other star, Harry Rabbit, may well be suffering from a terminal STD thanks to his propensity for, shall we say, doing what rabbits do best. Harry desperately wants to keep his illness a secret but FW, an annoying little member of the fly paparazzi, is determined to get the story out. Meanwhile, the show’s knife throwing frog, a drug-addled Vietnam vet named Wynyard, is in serious need of a fix. Unfortunately his dealer, Trevor, a part-time fetish pornographer and Bletch’s top henchman, is refusing to sell Wynyard any more stuff until the pitiable frog settles his tab with the wretched little rat. With Wynyard suffering from severe withdrawal, his act is, well, also suffering a bit. The show’s director, a hyperactive and flamboyantly gay fox named Sebastian, who is watching everything go to hell right in front of his eyes, is suffering a lot.

“♫ Never hit your grandma with a shovel... ♫”

“♫ Never hit your grandma with a shovel… ♫”

Joining this dysfunctional collection of degenerates is Robert, a naive young hedgehog who has just arrived for his first day on the job as a member of the Feebles. Fortunately for Robert, there are actually a couple of decent folks who work on the show. For instance, the show’s stage manager, a kindly, old worm named Arthur, who takes the little hedgehog under his wing and even helps the painfully shy Robert woo another member of the chorus, a beautiful dog named Lucille. Can Robert, Lucille, and the rest of the Feebles pull together in time and put on the show of their lives, or will it all blow up in their faces like a rampaging hippo with a machine gun?

That hippo has a machine gun.  I think we are about to die.

That hippo has a machine gun. I think we are about to die.

Peter Jackson’s Meet The Feebles (yes, that Peter Jackson) is vulgar, violent, and unrelentingly offensive. Numerous characters are shot, dismembered, and squished. Anteaters become sexually aroused as they sniff dirty panties, flies carry on conversations while dining on freshly laid turds, and homosexual foxes sing tender—and hilarious—songs of tribute to the act of sodomy. There is also lots of gratuitous puppet sex (is there any other kind?), as animals of all species take turns humping one another all throughout the flick. I tell you, “catnip” is a rather unsettling term when expressed as two words. Not to mention the hippo nips…ugh.

Apparently, some tricks aren't just for kids...

Apparently, some tricks aren’t just for kids…

Had Meet The Feebles featured a live action cast, it would have been an unwatchable mess—little more than a ninety minute stream of pointless vulgarity. However, the sheer absurdity of having puppets committing these various atrocities somehow makes everything much more palatable. As former Mystery Science Theater 3000 writer and puppeteer, Trace Beaulieu once said, “You can get away with … a lot of things with a puppet that you can’t with a human.”

Chick-ephant:  Close relative of that “croco-duck” Kirk Cameron is always blathering about.

Chick-ephant: Close relative of that “croco-duck”
Kirk Cameron is always blathering about.

The film itself, despite its lowbrow nature, was actually quite an ambitious undertaking, considering how notoriously difficult it is to do anything extravagant with puppets. A simple thing like having a character walk down a hall and open a door would require intricate blocking, several different camera setups, and numerous takes for a few paltry seconds of screen-time. Mr. Jackson was obviously working on a tight budget and this fact does show through on numerous occasions throughout the final film. The main attraction, the puppets, are serviceable, but far from spectacular. A keen eye will also notice the crowds at the live show aren’t puppets at all, but merely a bunch of masks attached to sticks. Of course being a Peter Jackson film, the saving grace is the visual effects, which are outstanding and quite often, thoroughly disgusting.

“What?  It's no worse than eating at The Olive Garden!”

“What? It’s no worse than eating at The Olive Garden!”

While this film does feature an all-puppet cast, Meet the Feebles is definitely NOT appropriate for children. Nor should you go anywhere near it if you find yourself anywhere near the politically correct (Oh, how I loathe that term and everything it stands for…) side of things. Actually, you need to be just a little off to begin with to even sit through this film. If you find yourself offended by the idea of puppets having sex, spouting foul language, or spurting various bodily fluids, you will hate Meet The Feebles with the fury of a thousand machine gun-wielding hippos. If, however, you have a slightly cracked sense of humor (for instance, the scene below, where the Feebles’ resident contortionist, Abi, has a little, um, mishap, made me laugh far more than I am comfortable admitting.), you will love Meet The Feebles. You are also one sick, twisted, antisocial degenerate.

May I be the first to say, welcome to the club.

 

Reviewed By Derek Miller
Posted June 21, 2013

 


Video Clip – Passage to India

Like I said earlier, I am ashamed of how hilarious I find this scene.


Additional Screenshots (Click an image to view full-size)

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