When you become a filmmaker, you have to develop a personal brand. When your name gets attached to a project, that project has to fit into your particular ‘brand’, or else you have the potential to lose the audience that you’ve spent so much hard work building up.
As a result, it’s incredibly rare to see a recognized filmmaker step out of their creative comfort zone and make something completely off-brand. If they do make a film that’s wholly different from their esteemed output, it usually comes at the beginning of their career, before they've released their massive hit and subsequently been compelled to make follow-ups in its image.
Sometimes, when looking at a director’s early work, it’s fascinating to see how far they were willing to go to make something original before breaking in to the business. Other times, though, an avant-garde filmmaker will just create something spectacularly different because they grow bored of their own brand, and they want to showcase something new for their own personal sense of achievement. Whatever the reason, there are times when a notable director can make films so weird that it clashes with every other film they've made. Here are some examples.
10. Peter Jackson - Meet The Feebles
Peter Jackson became a household name with the epic The Lord Of The Rings trilogy of movies, and even before then he had a hit in the American horror market with The Frighteners. However, if you were to dig into Jackson's New Zealand back catalogue, you will find three films that are totally different to his later output, especially his more serious movies such as Heavenly Creatures, District 9, and The Lovely Bones.
The first and third films, Bad Taste and Braindead respectively, were bizarre enough with an emphasis on incredibly gory comedy. However, the second film of his career, 1989’s Meet the Feebles, is the strangest and most deranged that Jackson ever made.
A precursor to such adult puppet media as The Happytime Murders, Fur TV and Avenue Q, Meet The Feebles is a parody of The Muppets Variety Hour. However, whereas The Muppets were wholesome and child-friendly, The Feebles are anything but. The story revolves around a cast of drug-addled, tragically deranged individuals who try to put on as best a variety as show they can with a drug-dealing porn baron as boss and an emotionally unstable hippopotamus in the lead role.
Meet The Feebles is every shade of disgustingly perverse. It may have carved its own niche audience over time, but it will forever stay as the strangest, most disgusting thing that carries Jackson’s name.