Taxidermy: Stuff The World, BBC2

by | Aug 22, 2005 | All, Reviews


• The whole tone of Morgan Matthews’ documentary about the 2005 World Taxidermy Championships in Springfield, Illinois. Sure, it’s a bit of a macabre subject and we grimaced our way through its 90-minute duration, but this film was also amusing, impressive and nonjudgmental.

• The lunatic logic of Texan Ron after he shoots dead a leopard – “I just love being able to take something that’s lifeless and give it life back again. Make it look like it was, you know, out there in the wild.”

• Victoria Wolks, aged nine. Also known as Killer. She has ribbons in her hair and a gun in her hand. “I like to kill animals. It’s fun. God made the creatures for me to shoot them.”

As she posed for a photograph, riding a buck she’d just killed, her weight made blood pour from the wound. “It’s gushing. It’s actually funny,” she giggled. Her proud father presented her with the creature’s heart. “Wow that’s cool,” she said, while fingering the organ.

• The bright and breezy Jeanette from Nevada, showing us proudly round her home. “There’s a kitty-cat head in my freezer. He stinks, too!” Stuffed and mounted wolf testicles have a prominent place in the living front room. “I love dead animals. Some guys would give you roses, or chocolate. The best gift I could get would be a dead coyote.” That or “a bouquet of antlers.”

• The annoying Yorkshireman Jack Fishwick who flew the flag for Britain but wasn’t the sort you’d ever cheer on. He’s one of those horribly arrogant people who insist: “People misplace arrogance for confidence.” His morals prohibit him from stuffing animals that have been killed for the purpose – “There are so many natural causes for a bird to die of. No need for hunting, shooting or maiming” – but he’s quite happy to mount two kingfishers while they’re copulating. His colleague, a Dane called Thomas, has misgivings about their entry (“This is an area dotted in minefields”).

• The stuffed piglet emerging from a sow’s birth canal. “It’s adding a little dimension to it,” said a thrilled judge.

• The 2003 world champion Matthias, a 39-year-old security guard from Switzerland. He stuffs small freshwater fish and has abandoned friends and a social life (and taken to drink and drugs) to develop new taxidermy techniques. Despite his 2003 victory, Jesus has told him not to bother this year. “When you get a medal, you see it has two sides,” said the Kurt Cobain of taxidermy in one of his creepy contributions. “One is shiny and beautiful, but the other side is not golden. It is dark.”

• Canadian Ken casually going up to an airline information desk and saying: “I’m picking up a polar bear.” His speciality in the world of taxidermy is to recreate animals piecing together bits from others. “Frankenstein came from five or seven men. My animals come from two or more other animals.”

• A woman explaining why her stuffed elk is on wheels. “If I have company and he’s not convenient in this part of the den, he can be rolled out to another part.”

• The ponderous, scrupulous judges as they inspected the entries and spotted defects such as “anal aperture anomalies” and lopsided lips.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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