Director: Peter Jackson
Starring: Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie, Mark Hadlow, Brian Sergent, Peter Vere-Jones
Hell hath no fury like a hippo with a machine gun
Robert is the newest addition to the popular musical variety show called The Feebles. The Feebles is ran by Bletch while the main star is his wife Heidi. Heidi is at her end of her 15 minutes of fame and has started to let her looks go, which makes Bletch consider to replace her with his side girl Samantha. He also uses drugs and violence to control his performers.
Robert quickly finds himself attracted to one of the backup singers named Lucille and tries to get her attention and they start to develop a sweet relationship together. The Feebles then gets a big deal to do a television show, but things are not going well when the performers are either suicidal, drug addicted or got some other personal problems.
Meet The Feebles is black comedy that is done with puppets. It’s one of the three splatter films that Peter Jackson did before he went over and became a mainstream director. It is probably the funniest movies with puppets ever made and you can spot some criticism towards show business and fame aswell.
Bletch is the typical money hungry boss who is only worried about his dollars. Heidi is the typical famous star who can’t accept that she is not young and hot anymore. Robert is the naive newcomer who hasn’t been affected by the industry yet and does not want to speak up for himself. Lucille is the innocent female version of Robert and another peek on how the innocent usually get exploited in the showbiz. Samantha is the housewrecker who is willing to use her body to go higher up the food chain. Wynyard is the ex-soldier who is hooked on drugs and just like most Vietnam vets and people who struggle with addiction in the industry, he does not get help but is instead fed more drugs to keep him up and keep the show running. Sebastian is a director who is more interested in telling his story and do his thing and couldn’t care less about the other performers or the show itself. And we got a fly (the animal, not fly fly) news reporter that is willing to literally eat shit to get a good story, regardless if it’s true or not.
As you can see, all the characters represent different characters that are common in the entertainment industry. It also shows that what you are sold by the entertainment industry is usually sugar-coated and not the truth. I don’t have a habit of looking underneath films and try to find the real message of them and you will rarely read about that in my reviews, but when you have seen a film as many times as I have seen Feebles then stuff like that does start to show and become very obvious after a while.
The idea of using puppets for this makes us allowed to laugh and have fun with the shocking stuff that is going on in the show. If this was redone with human characters then it would have turned into a very, very dark movie. The puppets really come to life and the direction by Peter Jackson is right on the money. Seeing how well he has done for himself with stuff like Lord of the Rings and King Kong, rewatching this again makes me wish he would go back to his roots for another low budget horror/splatter/comedy one more time.
Meet The Feebles is a shocking and hilarious film that will entertain anyone that has some dark humour in them. It is well executed and another proof that Peter Jackson was one of the most creative young talent in genre movies at the start of the 90’s.