Edith Massey

Edith Massey

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Pink Flamingos Review

Back in 1972, the world had no idea what it was in for. John Waters' Pink Flamingos is a film that defies description, even by today's lowly standards. Sure, a chicken gets killed as part of a sex scene, but that's not even the tip of the iceberg. There's a kidnapping plot wherein the victims are forced into pregnancy, their babies sold and the mothers disposed of. There's a flasher who ties sausage to his willy. There's a kangaroo court and a dual execution. And of course, there's Divine eating a pile of dog shit -- for real.

What kind of plot could hold all this nastiness together? Well, naturally it's a story about a rivalry between Divine (played, strangely enough, by Divine) and Mink Stole's fellow degenerate as they spar over bragging rights for Filthiest Person Alive. This results in arsons and murders a-plenty, and you can rest assured that Stole's got nothing on Divine, particularly in the gastronomic department.

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Polyester Review

John Waters' 1981 Polyester was his final really-low-budget, non-SAG production. Starring Divine, paired of course with the rakish Tab Hunter (Damn Yankees!), it's a classic entry into his gross-out genre, best known for his use of "Odorama," a scratch-and-sniff card handed out to moviegoers before the film and number-coded to certain nose-friendly scenes within the movie.

Shot for $300,000 and set (of course) in Baltimore (not to mention starring virtually all of its residents), Polyester tells the story of harried suburban wife Francine Fishpaw (Divine), who faces the triple threat of a pornographer husband (David Samson), a pregnant daughter (Mary Garlington), and a drug addict son (Ken King) who stomps the feet of local women. Not to mention her wild obesity and alcoholism (and of course, she's a man, but that's another story).

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Desperate Living Review

Now this is sick. Originally rated X (and now officially "not rated"), John Waters' Desperate Living is an exercise in the truly disgusting and not a lot more than that.

After its elegant opening credits -- in which a real rat is served cooked on fine china and picked-at by an unseen diner while the actors' names are displayed -- the movie degenerates (yes, even further!) into the gross-out nether reaches of cinema. We are introduced to the insane, rich housewife Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole), who, with the aid of her enormous maid Grizelda (Jean Hill), kills Peggy's hapless husband. The two go on the run, ending up in a bizarre "town" called Mortville, ruled over by a fat "queen" named Carlotta (Waters regular Edith Massey) and populated with the largely naked, mostly lesbian women and men dressed in leather pants.

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