After seeing The Muppets a few weeks ago, my friends got it in their heads to watch Meet the Feebles as a movie chaser. The first (and only) time I saw it was at the Cleveland Cinematheque around 1996. But I found a copy on DVD for about $5-$8. And apparently it's been sitting in my collection for just the day to watch it with another group of people.
When I saw the film, I was just a couple years out of college, and, while I realized it was an extreme film it didn't really bother me. I've always said that seeing the double feature of Robocop and Monty Pythons Meaning of Life when I was a senior in high school was when I got broken. After those two films I felt I could take on the world.
And then in college, I went even crazier. Evil Dead 1 & 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1, 2 & 3, a couple of the Hellraisers, a couple John Waters films, Sweet Movie (which I do not recommend), and John Woo's The Killer were just some of the movies that I saw. But I don't want to make out that I was a complete heathen in college. I was just looking to have a visceral experience, and these films gave that to me. I never got really scared from some of these horror films simply because I grew up reading about how they made them, and watching every making-of special on TV that came on.
And it wasn't just movies - I read a lot of weird stuff, too. Bret Easton Ellis made his first appearance on my radar in college. And then there were the incredibly well-drawn but very strange (to put it mildly) Glenn Danzig comic books.
And here's the thing. When you first read or see any of this stuff, you have a reaction. Some people get a charge out of extreme films, some people see one and they're done, and others, like myself, pick and choose. John Waters is a good example for me. I appreciate his films. Female Trouble and Polyester were worth watching. Serial Mom was one of my favorite films of 1994 (like top 3). But I wasn't happy until I saw Pink Flamingos. And I got to see it on the big screen. Once was enough. But at least I can say that I saw it. It's almost a badge of honor.
All of this occurred in the 90's. And years later when I went back to revisit some of these things, I wondered what I was thinking. Have I matured? Was it a phase? Am I satisfied with my life enough now that I don't need to watch anything as extreme anymore? The Human Centipede was calling out my name until I saw the South Park episode, and that seemed to have sated me. (And South Park's extremism is still something that I seem to have not outgrown).
When I rewatched Meet the Feebles, I was struck by how violent, gross and wrong it was. I remember that it was crazy, but I didn't remember how crazy. It's an innovative film, with some great songs, but it's so not what I sit at home and watch anymore. And I don't know if my tastes have changed or if my mind isn't ready for this type of experience anymore. All I can think of is that as I get older maybe I'm getting more lame. But I might be okay with that. Or maybe I need to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 again.