Dir: Peter Jackson, 1989
Peter Jackson’s second film after the brilliant Bad Taste is a no holds barred tour de force of perversion.
A very unsubtle take on Jim Henson’s The Muppets, Jackson’s tale of a anthropomorphic theatre troupe is one of his lesser known films.
There isn’t really much of a plot. It’s just a series of vulgar sketches and scenarios linked together by the characters.
Whereas Bad Taste was gory, this is scatological.
The blockbuster director -in-waiting revels in the shit and vomit on display.
The Muppets were innocent and family entertainment, this tries to cram in as much adult stuff it can think of.
Whether it’s drugs, rape, pornography or sex, there’s plenty of it to offend the most sensitive of viewers.
But, this doesn’t make it a good film.
In trying to make it as obscenely offensive as possible, a very important ingredient was forgotten…. the jokes.
And that is where it falls down. It just simply isn’t funny.
Crass humour can be very funny if it’s done right but director Jackson doesn’t know how.
The idea isn’t particularly original. Adult versions of, what is primarily, children’s entertainment has been done before.
Whether it’s cartoons such as Pischa’s Jungle Burger or Ralph Bakshi’s Fritz the Cat, to XXX-rated films like Alice in Wonderland, adding a perverse slant takes a certain kind of comedy that very few people can master.
The puppets are good and the animation side of it is to be praised but that’s all I can give it in terms of acclaim.
A disappointing release from a highly imaginative film maker who is capable of so much more.
However, Jackson made up for it with his next film, the zombie comedy Braindead.
An overambitious effort that doesn’t fire on the majority of its cylinders.