Sunday, August 10, 2008

Meet the Feebles (1989)

Imagine an episode of The Muppet Show where Kermit shoots up heroin and has Vietnam flashbacks. Miss Piggy runs around naked with a machine gun. Ralph has a three-way with two cats and get infected with AIDS.

A decade before Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson made a nasty-ass puppet movie. Meet the Feebles. Gaining fame for his disgusting "splatstick" film, Bad Taste, the director began to raise financing for a project which would turn a familiar genre on its head. Thanks to a group iof Japanese investors, Jackson was able to release Feebles in 1989.

Feebles follows a theatre troupe as they prepare for a live television broadcast. The audience gets a behind-the-scenes look at the production and all the vile, perverted, illegal, and disgusting activities that ensue. You just haven't lived until you watch a fly eating shit--with a spoon--on the big screen.

This is the type of movies that gets passed around between junior high/high school kids, bootleg tape-style. That's how I first saw it. The "noise composer" who made short films on the weekend with the Bowie haircut/leather jacket combo at my school (every school has one) slipped me a tape of Feebles and Videodrome. Locked the bedroom door, popped it in the VHS player, kept the volume down low and watched the most stomach-wrenching flicks I'd ever seen. Then I passed the tape on to my friend Brad.

After that day, I was always talking about Meet the Feebles. Occasionally, I would run into someone who had seen it and we would reminisce over the "nasal sex" scene, the chickephant baby, and the Deer Hunter homage.

I was lucky enough to catch this on the big screen last weekend. Jesse Hawthorne, the host of Midnites for Maniacs, put together an unbelievable triple feature which just happened to take place on my birthday! The evening begun with a childhood favorite, Return to Oz, moved into Beetlejuice, and at midnight, closed with Meet the Feebles.

The Castro Theatre was packed when we showed up. By the time midnight rolled around most of the audience was still there. Ninety minutes of groans, gasps, and Oh My God's. Jackson's nasty-ass puppet movie still completely holds up. It's belly-laugh funny and gross-out disgusting right where it's supposed to be. Netflix has this one on "SAVE" so call up your local video stores and track down a copy. Or call up the lead singer from Snatch Sandwich (or whatever your town's band was called) and see if he still has that tape lying around next to his GWAR singles, syringe needle choker, and leftover copies of his zine.


The Film Fiend said...

I passed on an opportunity to see "Meet the Feebles" on the big screen years ago, and I've regretted it ever since. Needless to say, I'm very green.

Great blog!

Fox said...

Dead Alive is playing at a theater here in Austin two weeks from today. I am very excited.

Bless the people who - in our age of DVDs, DVRs, Netflix, DIRECTV, etc. - are keeping the big screen alive... especially for these lesser seen films.

elgringo said...

TFF - Thanks a lot. Sorry you missed Feebles on the big screen though. If you ever get the chance again, check it out.

Fox - Dead Alive, hell yes! That was on day one of my 12 movie meme.

Also, these guys are great. Thanks to Jesse, I've been able to see the following triple features:

1. Return to Oz, Beetlejuice, Meet the Feebles

2. Explorers, Aliens, Dark Star

3. Lucas, Say Anything, My Bloody Valentine

4. Heartbeeps, Weird Science, Joysticks

5. Rumble Fish, The Warriors, Streets of Fire

6. Animals Attacking Humans Marathon - Phase IV, Alligator, Jaws, Day of the Animals, and Piranha 2: The Spawning


J.D. said...

FEEBLES is a keeper and particularly funny/traumatizing if you've ever grown up watch THE MUPPETS. I really hope that Peter Jackson gives this the deluxe Special Edition DVD treatment as he has other films of his.