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‘REAL ACTUAL FILTH!’: Finally some John Waters movies in high def
07:31 am

‘Multiple Maniacs’ poster on sale at Westgate Gallery
I wonder how many film snobs are out there who buy every single new Blu-Ray released by the Criterion Collection as a kind of Cliff Notes subscription to “Impeccable Taste in Cinema.” You know the type—if you suggest seeing a movie, they rush straight to Meta-Critic before committing to anything. I relish their reaction to Multiple Maniacs, John Waters’ self-described “celluloid atrocity,” a riveting, rancid, rollickingly funny B&W snapshot of everything we now cherish from his greatest work, of which MM absolutely must be included. It’s all here, all for the first time: corpulent diva Divine starring as a dominant, foul-mouthed, white-trash bitch goddess, narcissistic and deliciously cruel, yet oddly endearing and cloaked in charisma; the equally talented Mink Stole, creating the first of her many deeply disturbed fabulous underdog characters for Waters; Cookie Mueller (“a mean hippie who was recently released from a mental hospital”) and Edith Massey, (playing herself, a wacky barmaid at Dreamland Studios’ favorite dive, Pete’s Hotel); reams of overwrought, razor-sharp, quotable dialogue; vicious satire unleashed equally upon the Peace & Love generation and Nixon voters; striking jolts of surrealism which both pay homage to and parody experimental and art films; and plenty of scabrous, black-comedy shocks. It’s even better than amyl nitrate.

In Multiple Maniacs, the surreal and the shocking reach their mutual pinnacle in a jaw-dropping sequence in the second half of the movie:  Lady Divine’s mission of vengeance against her cheating boyfriend (David Lochary) and his brainless blonde chatterbox lover (Mary Vivian Pearce) is waylaid when a “religious whore” (Mink) lures Divine into a church to perform a rectal “rosary-job” accompanied by Divine’s orgasmic visions of the life of Jesus Christ (George Figgs), complete with miracles (the “fishes & loaves” here represented by canned cat food and Wonder Bread), Edie as the Virgin Mary and a positively Gibsonian crucifixion, all played for very queasy laughs, of course. 

‘Divine Saves the World’ stageplay/‘Multiple Maniacs’ poster from 1972

Historically the most difficult Waters film to see that’s actually worth seeing, Multiple Maniacs’ most successful cinematic run was as a pre-Pink Flamingos midnight show at San Francisco’s Palace Theatre circa 1971, where it became a deeply offensive sensation, often accompanied by live stage shows written and directed by Sebastian of The Cockettes, with titles like “The Heartbreak of Psoriasis” and “Divine Saves The World.”  Never blown up to 35mm when New Line Cinema began distributing it post-smash-Pink Flamingos, it got an “okay” VHS release in 1987, but never made it to DVD.  Anyone familiar with battered 16mm repertory prints or the shrill, tinny videotape may think they’re experiencing their own rosary-job hallucination—Multiple Maniacs looks amazing in HD (Waters himself remarked “Finally, Multiple Maniacs looks like a bad John Cassavetes film!”) and sounds even better. With one rather key caveat: due to music licensing rights- and cost issues, the entire brilliant, bootleg soundtrack of dozens of inspired songs from multiple decades has been replaced by a new score by composer George S. Clinton. Which is a truly tragic loss. This devil’s bargain does yield some choice extras: a Waters audio commentary, interviews with surviving cast and crew, and more.

Italian ‘Desperate Living’ poster
So as far as Golden Age John Waters in HD, this package is as good as it gets for now: Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble have yet to surface anywhere in HD, and while a gorgeous-looking HD Polyester is available for rental and purchase via Amazon Video, they used a version WITHOUT the flashing Odorama numbers… that stupidly retains the intro with “Dr Arnold Quackenshaw” explaining how to use the Odorama scratch ‘n’ sniff card (not hard to locate them even now if you try) which is essential to fully enjoying the film.  However, iTunes currently has Desperate Living in HD, so that could possibly mean a Criterion edition of this fucked-up masterpiece might be in the works. The sharp transfer brought tears to these perverted eyes—turns out it IS very pretty, what a town without pity can do.
More after the jump…

Posted by Christian McLaughlin
07:31 am
Notes From The Niallist #10: Tranarchy’s 24 Hour John Waters Movie Marathon

Call us crazy, call us stupid… we don’t care.

This is what Tranarchy is doing this weekend, a tribute to all things trashy, sleazy, skeezy, strange and Baltimorean. Yup, we’re showing every single full length film by cult auteur and Pope of Trash, the Ayatollah of Crud, the Prince of Puke, the one and only John Waters.

Every single one. In a row. Non-stop. For 24 hours.

The only things we’re not showing are his hard-to-find early short, and hell, if we can find ‘em, we’ll probably show them too!

You know, maybe we are crazy. And a little bit stupid. But we still don’t care. This movie marathon is something some of our members have dreamed of doing their whole lives, and just like the Dreamlanders, Tranarchy is dedicated to making our craziest, stupidest dreams a reality.

Let’s face it. watching all of these films back to back non-stop for 24 hours is going to be quite an endurance test. We are inviting patrons to sleep over, and Manchester’s Islington Mill (the venue for this festival of freakiness) are kindly letting us convert one of their heated gallery spaces into a giant bedroom for anyone who needs a break.

There will be lots of interactivity’s for patrons , including a Waters-inspired photo booth featuring some of his most iconic movie scenes, free popcorn, edible turds, and for the final film, a dance-a-long screening of Hairspray, dance lessons that will teach you to do The Madison. We’ll want you to go two up and two back with a big, strong turn. The brilliant artwork, above, by Manchester-based illustrator David Bailey, will also be available to buy as limited edition prints.

Even now, 42 years after the Dreamlanders made their first ripples in the puddle of public consciousness with the release of Pink Flamingos (our midnight show, of course!) they are THE SHIT. They were punks before there were punks (they died their hair with pen ink because colored dye was not commercially available back then.) They were openly queer before there was such a thing as queer culture (in fact, they were a huge part of defining what queer culture could and would be.) They were one of the only pockets of hippie-resistance outside of Warhol’s Factory, and their couldn’t-give-a-flying-fuck attitude is inspirational to this day. Cookie Meuller, Mink Stole, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pierce, Pat Moran, Vincent Peranio, Divine and John Waters, we salute you. For 24 fucking hours.

The Facebook event page for Tranarchy’s 24 Hour John Waters Movie Marathon is here.

In sourcing the content for the movie marathon we’ve collected some interesting curios and documentaries about John Waters and the Drreamlanders. Thankfully, some of them have appeared on Dangerous Minds before, including the excellent Incredibly Strange Move Show with Jonathan Ross and the brilliant Divine Trash. But here’s a little curio I am happy to say has never been on this site before. It’s an appearance on Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous, where he gives us a tour of his Baltimore home and its cavalcade of perversions: 

John Waters on Lifestyles Of The Rich And Famous:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:

You know, we’ve been posting about John Waters on DM almost since its very inception. There are just too many great posts about the man to list them all individually. So instead of singling them out, have a scroll through the John Waters-tag page.

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
07:12 pm
John Candy as Divine as Peter Pan

From the Canadian sketch show SCTV, this clip has been causing some confusion among Divine fans as it’s labelled on YouTube “Divine as Peter Pan”. Thankfully original Dreamlander Mink Stole was on hand to help clear the matter up:

That’s not Divine— I think it’s actually John Candy doing a Divine parody—which is in itself a tribute.

Who knew Candy made such a good drag queen?!

BONUS! Here’s Candy, again as Divine, doing “Santa Bring My Baby Back To Me”

via I Am Divine with thanks to Mink Stole

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile
07:45 pm
John Waters and Divine interview from 1975

R. Couri Hay talks with Divine, John Waters, Mink Stole and David Lochary at Anton Perich Studio, formerly ‘The Factory’, in 1975. This must be a promo outing for Female Trouble. The video quality leaves a lot to be desired, but this is 58 minutes of pop culture history and well-worth watching. Waters is amusing as always, Divine looks Garboesque, and it’s rare to see see David Lochary and Mink Stole being interviewed. Rich kid R. Couri Hay was a contributor to Warhol’s Interview magazine and gossip columnist for The National Inquirer in the mid-to-late 1970’s.

Posted by Marc Campbell
12:25 am