The Polonia Brothers continue to impress, and not always in a good way. Their 1996 movie, Feeders, which they directed with Jon McBride, is a case in point. Shot over the course of a few days in 1994, the production came eight years and five movies after Hallucinations, yet one would be hard-pressed to point out where they have grown as filmmakers.
In plot, they have regressed. In their ability to direct acting talent, they have regressed. Worst of all, in special effects, they have regressed.
Funny thing about that last point, though. Feeders is an alien invasion horror flick about little grey men that are attacking folks in rural Pennsylvania. The aliens are not masterworks of makeup or animatronics. Rather, they are puppets in the up-the-bum style made legendary by the Jim Henson Company. One never sees their legs, because they have none, and they move around with that bouncy gait familiar to anyone who grew up watching Sesame Street or The Muppets. For the subject matter, it’s wholly inappropriate, yet it’s so damned funny that the aliens carry the movie. My main gripe with the effects is the gore. The Polonias had shown a fantastic understanding of what makes audiences squirm. In Feeders, they just didn’t utilize that understanding to the extent I felt the movie called for. Since this movie had a reported budget of five-hundred bucks, who am I to complain? Like with all their other movies, it’s an accomplishment that they got it made and released at all.
The movie stars John Polonia and McBride as Bennett and Derek, two young guys on a cross-country road trip taking in the sites of Pennsylvania (other than a short onscreen appearance, Mark Polonia was behind the scenes for this movie).
Meanwhile, alien spacecraft are buzzing across the sky and the little alien buggers are chewing on the locals. Bennett and Derek find themselves targeted, and spend the rest of the movie trying to escape and maybe inform the authorities, or something. That’s about it.
Like many ultra-low-budget movies, rather than an interesting plot, most of what viewers get is a flick packed full of amateur performances, and local charm befitting time and place. Maybe some of the featured players were friends of the Polonias, or maybe they had aspirations for future stardom. Whatever the case may be, most of this movie’s mercifully short running time is spent watching a desperate grade of thespians mutter their lines, in perfect imitation of a grade school holiday pageant. That’s some bad acting, folks.
Everyone gets theirs in the end, thank goodness. Those stupid aliens are just so precious. I wish they were real, like murderous ferrets, and I could take a pair of them home.
Feeders is about as bad as a movie can get and still have at least one endearing quality. It doesn’t have the cachet of Birdemic or The Room, but the Polonias have been churning out movies of that ilk, with much more of a creative spark, for decades. I think it is well past time they, and their frequent collaborators, were given their due.
Feeders takes over the #453 spot in the Watchability Index from Doggie B. Stay away, unless one is a legitimate shitty movie masochist.