New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson has gained the reputation of being a genuine class act, thanks to films like 1994’s Heavenly Creatures, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and his 2005 remake of King Kong. But Jackson began his career occupying decidedly schlockier territory with the terrific low budget horror films Bad Taste (1987), and Dead Alive (1992) and his berserk Muppets parody Meet the Feebles (1989), which is the subject of this week’s new critical assessment from director Joe Dante’s website, Trailers from Hell.
“This is a parody of a behind-the-scenes of a Muppet-like variety show,” says filmmaker Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider! Don’t Kill It) in his commentary. “Heidi the Hippo is the star of the long-running troupe, who has her heart broken when she realizes that her boyfriend and show producer Bletch, a large walrus, is secretly having an affair with his secretary who is a tiny pussycat. Having trouble picturing that? No worries! Peter Jackson is here to show you very graphically what that looks like. The protagoinst of the film is a starstruck hedgehog named Robert who is new to the troupe. It is through his eyes that we see the backstage debauchery that is plaguing the Feebles variety troupe. Drug abuse, pornography, STDs, flatulence and loads of inter-special sex — nothing is too taboo for this whacked-out group of theater performers.”
Hear Mendez’s full commentary, above.