|Photo by Joshua Handler|
CELLULOID ATROCITY NIGHT AT
FILM SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER
By Joshua Handler
This past Thursday, FSLC held "Celluloid Atrocity Night" where two of Waters' early films, Multiple Maniacs and Mondo Trasho were shown along with his short film, "The Diane Linkletter Story". These films were shown on Waters' own 16mm prints (Mondo Trasho one was so damaged though that 30 seconds in, the reel was taken out and a DVD was used in its place). Waters was also in for an extended Q&A.
|John Waters at Celluloid Atrocity Night|
Photo by Joshua Handler
Multiple Maniacs tells the story of a group of performers who use their show, Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions (the tents were set up on Waters' parents' house), as a front for their real "profession", kidnapping. It features all of the gleefully dirty sequences and characters that Waters is known for and has a finale that you'll never forget. It comes out of left field and had the entire audience dying of laughter.
While Maniacs isn't as memorable as Waters' other more famous work, it's a delight. Multiple Maniacs is like Waters' calling card. He made Pink Flamingos immediately after, and it's almost as if this was a warning for the glory that was to come.
Viewing the film on a 16mm print added to the grunge of this film. The print was in surprisingly good shape, and watching a low-budget film on 16mm, grain, scratches, dirt and all is an unmatched experience. It was as if I was transported back to the grindhouses of the 1970s.
Waters was around for a Q&A after Maniacs. Dennis Demody of Paper Magazine moderated. In one scene of Maniacs, Divine and a woman are in a church and Divine is given a "rosary job". To actually shoot inside of the church, Waters had his team distract the priest while they shot the scene. The priest ended up coming to the premiere of the film.
Waters said that there was a place that they shot the film that was even too nasty for Divine, Pete's, the place in which actress Edith Massey worked. "I'm not going into that wino pit," said Divine.
And, on a final note that will please Pink Flamingos fans, the "singing asshole" from Pink Flamingos is alive and well and shows up to Waters' Christmas party every year, according to Waters. According to the director, the "asshole" said about the body part he's most famous for, "The muscles ain't what they used to be." As you might've been able to figure out, this was a fun night.