In the spring of 2017, I partially closed the door on one of the most bizarre and elusive “Easter Egg Hunts” ever conceived regarding a grade-z, no budget, straight to VHS cinematic phenomena. For the better part of 7 years, I pursued the many tidbits of the myths and hearsay surrounding the film titled The Meateater. As in-depth and emotionally lambasting as this endeavor was, I must start from the very beginning…
I’ve always unwaveringly conveyed that I grew up in the wrong era. I just missed being one of the ‘Baby New Years’ of 1985 having been born January 9th. As I grew older, I felt much more intellectually intuitive than any of my siblings, cousins, schoolmates, etc. And as an adult I found myself befriending 50 somethings, picking their brain about whatever era they survived from. I was diagnosed as an ‘old soul’ by family and friends.
I believe one of the direct results of this was my early introduction to music and film at an extremely early age. My great-grandmother was an anomaly to almost everyone that met her…except me. She was a tough, hardened, and small by stature Native American woman with a mean streak for cynics to her family but the softest spot for those within. And I happened to be her favorite.
During the early-80s and into the 90s, my great-grandmother was an avid collector of movies, particularly VHS tapes. Weekends were filled with flea market rummaging for tapes, catalog browsing for new releases (Sugg. Retail price of 119.99!), scoping out new & old VHS rental stores, and dumpster diving behind said rental shops for all of the glorious VHS boxes they were throwing away, in favor of their generic plastic clams of choice.
I can remember some of our greatest purchases like it was yesterday: The Thriller big box of Dr. Butcher M.D., Paragon versions of The Gates of Hell & Nightbeast, the RCA spine flap slipcase of La Bamba, the Thorn/EMI clam for The Evil Dead and the Prism holographic slip of Demon Wind; but a mere few of the many gems we had in our collection.
I watched these and others countless times; torturing myself with the extreme gore and sadistic sexual themes that mostly flew over my head. Like clockwork, I always found my way under my LA Raiders blanket when Capt. Rhodes gets torn in half in Romero’s Day of the Dead or when the filmmakers finally meet their visceral end in Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust. But it was all in good fun. It was movie magic! Extreme magic tricks performed by some of the most talented people on the planet. Tom Savini’s Scream Greats was another viewing I remember consuming with glee, finally seeing the behind-the-scenes movie magic and shaking my head in a disillusioned disbelief.
The collection grew exponentially. At my last count back in the mid-90s we were at nearly 2000s tapes and quickly running out of room. Sadly, when my great-grandmother past away in 2002, the collection faltered into the hands of others. I only have a few tapes saved from that collection: a box-less/label-less copy of Street Trash (found for a quarter at a flea market back in 1994 and intended to be used for dubbing episodes of Beavis and Butthead), a really cool copy of Tongs: An American Nightmare on Academy Video, and a Video Treasures EP version of The Meateater…
Part 2 of ORIGINS: The Meateater Coming Soon!