Retrospective: Pink Flamingos - A Masterclass in Filth

You are unlikely to ever forget seeing your first John Waters film. If you're sitting there, unsure of whether you've seen one or not, chances are that you have not - you would know. Waters' films are an unforgettable combination of hardcore trash, unique comedy and outlandish performances, each written by Waters himself. So if you've not see them, we're offering you the chance to broaden your horizons in our new retrospective, looking at all of Waters' features from Pink Flamingos to his most recent, A Dirty Shame. If you have seen the films, it is a chance to be naughty and relive these trashtastic masterpieces all over again.

So let's get started with Waters' most well known feature, Pink Flamingos. We are introduced to notorious Baltimore criminal and underworld icon, Divine, who has been named 'the filthiest person alive' by a tabloid paper. Upon seeing this Divine's biggest rivals, Connie (Mink Stole) and Raymond Marbles (David Lochary) set out to destroy Divine and claim her title.

In Pink Flamingos you are going to see things, that chances are you've never seen before - from turd eating to twisted sex acts (some involving chickens...). Waters' truly pushes the boundaries of film and I cannot think of anyone else more deserving of the term, King of Underground cinema.

Divine, Waters' regular collaborator is truly magnetic, even when committing some repulsive acts. It's hard not to be drawn to her, even when she's whapping raw meat up her skirt and proudly strolling around town. Divine may be filthy and as she puts it (in one of the finest lines of dialogue in cinema) "You know who I am, bitch! I'm the filthiest person alive, that's who I am!", but she's also incredibly sweet. You just need to watch the scenes where she sits with her mentally ill mother (played by Edith Massey), a woman obsessed with eggs.

That said, its difficult to call a character that performs oral sex on her son sweet. This is no shock when you consider Divine's political message is "Kill everyone now! Condone first degree murder! Advocate cannibalism! Eat shit! Filth are my politics, filth is my life!". Pink Flamingos is filled with random moments of complete hilarity from Divine's wholly or possibly 'ass-wholly' inappropriate birthday party to a sequence when Divine and son perform a trailer trash voodoo ritual on the Marbles house - it mainly consists of licking every piece of furniture and spawned the classic line "Oh my God! The couch ... it ... it rejected you!"

Praise must also go to Waters' other collaborators from the disgustingly brilliant and David Lochary and Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pierce and my personal favourite, Edith Massey. I could literally watch Massey sit in a kids playpen and talk about eggs for days.

If anything, Pink Flamingos must be seen to be believed, try something different and order it up. Even if you hate it you'll be transfixed. Surely any film that Variety called “one of the most vile, stupid and repulsive films ever made.” makes you want to see it, as far as we're concerned, Variety can eat shit, Pink Flamingos is a twisted masterpiece.


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