There are so many demented moments in John Waters’ films, yet he will be forever remembered for that infamous ending of his classic Pink Flamingos (1972), where Divine, his friend and, until Divine passed away in 1988, his muse, devours an actual dog turd. Waters is still as cheerfully provocative as ever, but after the election in 2016, even Waters is having trouble making jokes:
”I’m struggling to think of something funny to say. I hate liberals who say: ‘I’m leaving the country’. Oh, like it’s going to matter. You’re not that important, go ahead. But the only thing I can think that’s positive is that a new kind of anarchy is going to happen next.”
Waters early films focused on gangs of outlaws running wild around his home town of Baltimore causing crazy criminal chaos. His movie Multiple Maniacs (1970) feels particularly prescient today, with its look at an era when the USA had a criminal president while experiencing a wave of domestic terrorism, student uprisings and protests in the streets. Waters:
”You forget, there were skyjackings every day.”
Water made Multiple Maniacs for $5,000, a loan from Waters’ father, and it is the only one of his films that his mother never saw. It barely has a plot, but the chaotic, deranged, sprawling story somehow involves the anarchistic adventures of a troupe of hippies who are part of a travelling roadshow called ”Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversion”. Human exhibits include a gerontophile (sexual attraction to the elderly), a woman with hairy armpits, and ”two actual queers, kissing each other”. The gang kidnaps the show’s ”straight” audience, ties them up and forcibly injects them with LSD. The whole thing climaxes with Divine being raped by a giant lobster. It is Waters’ highest-rating film on Rotten Tomatoes, at 100% approval.