Four tasteless film classics from John Waters screen at Row House Cinema | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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Four tasteless film classics from John Waters screen at Row House Cinema 

Get filthy with Multiple Maniacs, Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble and Polyester

Divine in Multiple Maniacs - PHOTO COURTESY OF LAWRENCE IRVIN
  • Photo courtesy of Lawrence Irvin
  • Divine in Multiple Maniacs

It’s a four-pack of John Waters classics filling up the screen at Row House Cinema, starting Fri., Jan. 12. In today’s seen-it-all culture, these former midnight movies can never be as shocking as they once were, but they still offer enjoyable tasteless humor. Each film stars Waters’ greatest collaborator, Divine.

MULTIPLE MANIACS. Waters’ 1970 spectacle of filth and depravity, a.k.a. his low-budget and hilarious dark comedy about a bunch of Baltimore no-gooders who travel under the sideshow banner of “Lady Divine’s Cavalcade of Perversions.” It stars Divine and Waters regulars including Mink Stole, David Lochary and Edith Massey. Jan. 12-15, Jan. 16 and Jan. 18

PINK FLAMINGOS. It’s been decades since its outrageous debut, but there are still squirms left in Waters’ hilarious 1972 homage to/send-up of the filthiest people on the planet (or, minimally, the greater Baltimore area). Some shocks have paled or been chitchatted to death; others remain jaw-dropping. One delight amidst all the flat “acting” is Divine, whose believable character seems so genuine, both in outrageousness and warmth. This film rests in great part on her ample form. Jan. 12-15 and Jan. 17-18

FEMALE TROUBLE. It’s Christmas in July! This 1974 cult classic opens with some seasonal mayhem: Divine goes on a rampage after not finding the cha-cha heels she wanted under the tree. Such domestic trouble jumpstarts this epic tale of unrepentant bad girl Dawn Davenport (Divine), from her early years in the 1960s as hair-hopping juvenile delinquent to her defiant death in the electric chair. Here, Waters cranks up one of his favorite obsessions — twisted beauty. The hair-salon scenes are hilarious, the costumes and ’dos fantastic, and no other film features the mainlining of eyeliner. Jan. 12-15, Jan. 16 and Jan. 18

POLYESTER. Suburban mom Francine Fishpaw (Divine) struggles to keep her troubled family together: Her husband’s having an affair, her daughter is a hellcat, and her son has some serious psycho-sexual foot issues. What Francine needs is a romance: Enter dreamboat Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter). Straddling Waters’ earlier gross-out works with his soon-to-come mainstream efforts, 1981’s Polyester is a luridly colored social satire, skewering the suburbs, family and Hollywood romance. Jan. 12-18


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