Meet the Feebles

In Meet the Feebles, a 1989 adults-only puppet movie now making its way to art houses, a long-snouted animal of indeterminate species engages in “nasal porn” with a cow, and a jilted hippo consoles herself by emptying the shelves of a pastry shop, then emptying a machine gun into most of the characters. You can’t say you’ve seen this before. Meet the Feebles is like an unholy fusion of Jim Henson and Ralph Bakshi, and sometimes the nonstop nastiness gets monotonous (the squeamish should stay home). But Peter Jackson, the New Zealand director who went on to make the ecstatically gory Dead Alive and the fevered, Oscar-nominated Heavenly Creatures, works with a punk-rock glee that pushes this far beyond a dirty Muppet parody. There’s a beautifully realized swipe at the Russian-roulette scene in The Deer Hunter, of all things, and Jackson finds lyricism in the unlikeliest places — a giant spider wrapping its legs around a car; the glow of a stage light shimmering off a pool of puppet blood. Meet the Feebles could have used a little more visual variety: Most of it unfolds inside the squalid theater where the Feebles (like the Muppets) are rehearsing for a live TV show, and the picture quality of the exterior scenes is very spotty. But you have to love — I have to love, anyway — a director who gives one of his characters a show-stopping song extolling the virtues of sodomy. The movie deserves its probable status as the cult favorite of the decade.

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Explore posts in the same categories: comedy, cult

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