Saturday, May 18, 2013

#1,006. Pink Flamingos (1972)

Directed By: John Waters

Starring: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce

Tag line: "The filthiest people alive! Their loves, their hates and their unquenchable thirst for notoriety!"

Trivia: Filming only took place on weekends; John Waters raised money during the week

Director John Waters , who author William Burroughs once called the “Pope of Trash”, has made a career out of exploring the vile, the revolting, and the despicable, all of which can be found in his 1972 underground classic, Pink Flamingos. Starring a drag queen named Divine, Pink Flamingos pushes the boundaries of bad taste like no film has before (or, some would argue, since).

Divine, who the press has labeled the “filthiest person alive”, lives in a secluded trailer with her companion, Cotton (Mary Vivian Pearce), her son Crackers (Danny Mills), and her egg-loving mother (Edith Massey). But Divine’s reign as the queen of muck is about to be challenged by Connie Marble (Mink Stole) and her husband, Raymond (David Lochary), who run a “business” in which they kidnap young girls, impregnate them, then sell the babies to lesbian couples for $5,000. Convinced they’re the most disgusting people in the world, Connie and Raymond declare war on Divine and her clan of misfits. Who will ultimately win the battle, and with it, the title of the filthiest person alive?

Obviously, the most notorious scene in Pink Flamingos is the final one, where Divine eats a pile of dog feces (no trick photography here, folks; she chows down on actual doggie doo). But as nasty and repulsive as this sequence is, it’s simply the icing on the cake that is Pink Flamingos. Some of what you can expect to see, crammed into the film’s hour and a half, are a masturbating butler (played by Channing Wilroy) who injects his semen, by way of a needle, into a woman’s vagina; an exhibitionist with a sausage tied to his penis; some cannibalism; oral sex (performed by a mother on her son); and the murder of an actual chicken (which is crushed between two people having sex). Needless to say, Pink Flamingos is a movie where just about anything goes.

And its spirit of anarchy is what makes the film so appealing. Designed as a spoof of, among other things, mass media and the American family, Pink Flamingos presents its various obscenities with a gleeful energy, one that’s hard to resist. Sure, the movie will gross you out; that’s what it’s supposed to do. But you’ll be surprised how often it’ll also bring a smile to your face.

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