Meet the Feebles (1989)
By: Devon B. on August 13, 2009  | 
Stomp Visual (Australia). All Regions, NTSC. 4:3. English DD 2.0. 92 minutes
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Peter Jackson
Voices: Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie, Mark Hadlow, Peter Vere Jones, Ross Jolley
Screenplay: Peter Jackson, Danny Mulheron, Stephen Sinclair, Frances Walsh
Country: New Zealand
External Links
Purchase IMDB YouTube
Perhaps the greatest tragedy in my life is that I grew up in the cultural vacuum known as America; I'm trying to correct 25 years of shoddy environment by living in Australia now. One of the best examples of America's lack of culture is that Peter Jackson's Meet The Feebles didn't get released in the US until 1995. A few years later, when DVD was starting to really crack the retail market, a Canadian DVD company called Substance put out Feebles. They also put out Cannibal Holocaust and Bad Taste. I never had their Feebles release, but I did have the other two, and I always thought they were a bit dodgy, especially Bad Taste which was clearly taken from a used VHS master. The rumour now is that Substance was a bootleg company, but because they were based in Canada, American retailers thought they were legit and imported the DVDs. Whether they were legal copies or not, they certainly weren't top quality transfers, so I was a bit surprised when I opened up my Stomp release of Feebles to find a Substance DVD inside. I guess Stomp bought the leftover discs and have unleashed them on Australia?

The Feebles are about to air a major special on live TV. They barely get through the opening act before the film confirms, despite the majority of the cast being puppets, this one ain't for kiddies. The Feebles troupe is made up of a variety of animals (only one human), and they get up to all sorts of hijinks. Drugs, sex, and show business have never been so…naughty. Into this den of depravity comes Wobert the Hedgehog, who quickly becomes infatuated with another newbie named Lucille, seemingly the only other innocent on set. Meanwhile the show's producer is trying to figure out how to handle the show's star Heidi, a hippo that's gone past her prime and now weighs more than…I dunno, a skinnier hippo. The producer is off scoring some other pussy, and that may just be the thing that causes Heidi to really lose it. Will Wobert and Lucille's true love win out trapped in this cavalcade of depravity, and even more importantly will the director ever get to do his show stopping musical number?

A traditional plot synopsis is a bit difficult because the movie is really like a series of intersecting vignettes. This is certainly Jackson's kitchen sink film. There's a Scottish wart hog, the filthiest paparazzi ever, drugs, blood, machine gunning, STDs, POW camps, jutty hippo nipples, an alien from Bad Taste, paternity disputes, and porn. That last one is particularly nasty; the porno film-within-a-film is a whole pile of wrongness and invents a whole new fetish. At least I hope it invented the fetish, because it is disgusting. Feebles is certainly disjointed, but all the tangents are amusing, and it remains funny despite its chaos. It's probably the least accessible of Jackson's first three films, and he certainly became much more polished – and had more money – with Braindead.

In a setting as bizarre as Feebles', it's oddly suiting that the hardest thing for me to suspend my disbelief about is that the shrill hippo is a famous singer, but then Mariah Carey sold millions of records so what do I know?
The film is presented at 1.33:1. This isn't the theatrical release's aspect ratio, but it was shot on 16mm so the full screen presentation is just an uncropped image. The film is a bit murky, but I expected worse. Substance DVDs were always sourced from some other release, and this one at least has come from a fairly clean VHS. There're a few VHS lines and glitches and one drop out.
Meet the Feebles has a serviceable two channel audio track. It's probably the original audio, but could do with a clean up. The romantic musical cues will sound vaguely familiar to fans of Jackson's next film.
Extra Features
The Verdict
Meet the Feebles is a hugely ambitious follow up to Bad Taste, and deserves a special edition release. If you've already got a video I wouldn't bother upgrading, but if you haven't got the film and can score the disc cheap, pick it up. But make sure it's really, really cheap.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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