It is critical to recognise and honour John Waters‘ remarkable and controversial career in light of the recently announced Criterion Collection release of his midnight film masterpiece Pink Flamingos. According to Collider, this list will order the eleven features that define John Waters as a legendary director, ranging from “scratch-and-sniff melodramas to musical celebrations of racial fairness” , as said by Collider.
Table of Contents
1. Polyester (1981)
Cast- Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey
The sad Baltimore housewife with a golden heart and a keen sense of smell, Francine Fishpaw, witnesses her already chaotic life go from bad to worse while being abused, mistreated, and, most importantly, tormented in her own home. Francine’s dishonest husband Elmer, the proprietor of the neighbourhood X-rated theatre, is divorcing her for another woman, her contemptuous daughter Lu-Lu is pregnant with the child of her troubled lover, and her glue-sniffing son Dexter is developing a violent foot fetish. Then, out of nowhere, Todd Tomorrow, a charming blonde, enters the picture, and Francine feels loved for the first time in her life.
2. Serial Mom (1994)
Cast- Kathleen Turner, John Waters, Matthew Lillard
Unbelievably, a middle-class family discovers that one of their neighbours is getting harassing phone calls. It turns out that the mother, who takes slights against her family very personally, is the one who is bothering the neighbour. The world of the beloved family is threatened as more slights are meted out to them, more people are killed, and the police are getting closer to the truth.
3. Multiple Maniacs (1970)
Cast- Divine, Mary Vivian Pierce, David Lochary
Divine and Mr. David (David Lochary), her boyfriend, have a rapid breakdown of their relationship after robbing the straights. He and Bonnie, his new girlfriend, are secretly planning to murder her (Mary Vivian Pearce). Divine suddenly experiences a rape while on her way to capture them in the act. Divine, who has been traumatised and left dazed, enters a local church after having a vision of the Infant Jesus of Prague, where she is enticed by Mink Stole, another regular visitor to Dreamland.
4. Hairspray (1988)
Cast- John Waters, Divine, Ricki Lake
Tracy Turnblad, a girl who is described as “Pleasantly Plump,” fulfils her dream of appearing regularly on the Corny Collins Dance Show. Now a teen heroine, she begins to utilise her reputation to advocate for the causes she supports, most notably integration. By doing this, she incurs the wrath of the manipulative, segregation-supporting parents of Amber Von Tussle, the former star of the programme. As Amber and Tracy compete for the title of Miss Auto Show 1963, the animosity reaches a boiling point.
5. Female Trouble (1974)
Cast- Divine, Mary Vivian Pierce, David Lochary
Along with her two companions, Dave Davenport is an irate, overweight youngster who despises school. Dave only wants cha-cha heels as Christmas approaches. She leaves her traditional suburban home and makes love with a greasy man named Earl when she doesn’t receive them for Christmas. She subsequently has a daughter named Taffy, but she doesn’t treat her with any respect. At a saloon managed by a married couple named the Dashers who value crime and beauty, all Dawn does is commit crimes and get her hair done. Taffy and Ida Nelson, the neighbour next door, attempt to stop Dawn from becoming a crime model.
6. Pink Flamingos (1972)
Cast- Divine, David Lochary, John Waters
Divine, the filthiest person alive, lives in a trailer in the woods under the alias Babs Johnson with her egg-craving mother Edie, her crazy hippy son Crackers, and her travelling buddy Cotton. In order to sell their offspring to lesbian couples, envious Connie and Raymond Marble kidnap and impregnate female hitchhikers. With the money they make from doing this, they buy heroin that is sold in schools. To fight for the title of The Filthiest People Alive, they pay Cookie to have sex with Crackers and spy on Divine. Connie and Raymond Marble discover Divine’s claim to the crown as the competition gets underway.
7. Desperate Living (1977)
Cast- Mink Stole, Liz Renay, Edith Massey
Peggy Gravel is utterly convinced that she is unpredictable. She attacks her husband and kills him alongside her caregiver, Grizelda. Both attempt to remain hidden, but a police officer with a fetish for women’s undergarments forces them to reside in Mortville. Under Queen Carlotta’s matriarchal reign, the town of Mortville is a sad place where convicts reside in appalling conditions. Both are housemates with stunning Muffy and sexy Mole. Peggy helps the queen in ridding Mortville of the undesirables after Princess Coo-Coo falls in love with a garbage man at a nearby nudist resort. They are soon opposed by Mole, Muffy, and their allies.
8. Cry-Baby (1990)
Cast- Johnny Depp, Amy Locane, Kim McGuire
Allison is a square decent girl who decides she wants to go evil and develops a strong attraction to the Greaser Cry-Baby Walker. This film parodies Elvis movies and juvenile delinquency scare pictures from the 1950s. It follows the exploits of Cry-Baby, who—despite being commit to juvie—is determine to overcome class and taste barriers in order to reunite with Allison.
9. Cecil B. Demented (2000)
Cast- Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Honey Whitlock is a snarky and elderly star of big-budget froth. She gets abduct by a group of cinema revolutionaries in Baltimore under the direction of guerilla filmmaker Cecil B. Demented. Cecil wants her to appear in his film, a critique of Hollywood, which they shoot while conducting blitzkrieg attacks on a theatre, filming a press conference for the Maryland Film Commission, and filming on the set of the sequel to Forrest Gump (1994). The actors and crew put their sexual energy into the play even though he insisted on celibacy. Cecil needs support from the porn, kung-fu, and drive-in crowds since they are being pursued by the police, a family-values coalition, and angry Teamsters.
10. Pecker (1998)
Cast- Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci, Martha Plimpton
As his success and fame grow, the teenage boy finds himself less welcome in his hometown and decides to turn the tables on the elitist art snobs of the city. A young boy is obsess with taking pictures of everything he sees around him, get discover by an aggressive gallery owner from New York who sees the youngster as a fresh young talent worth entertaining.
11. A Dirty Shame (2004)
Cast- Johnny Knoxville, Selma Blair, Tracey Ullman
Middle-aged and sexually subjugated This John Waters movie, which is based in North Baltimore, is about Sylvia Stickles. While she is serving a home detention order for moral depravity, she forbids her husband, Vaughn Stickles, from having sex with her and locks her highly endowed daughter, Caprice, in her room. On Harford Road, Sylvia and her mother Big Ethel are the leaders of a group that calls itself the “neuters” and advocates decency. Sylvia’s sexual conduct, however, suddenly changes from prude to prostitute after she unintentionally gets smack in the head by a lawnmower that was hanging out of a passing pickup truck. In a journey of pleasure and ecstasy, she encounters the sexual healer Ray Ray Perkins, who is sex addict. She later becomes his twelfth apostle of sex.