Multiple Maniacs Film Details
Overview: Three determined women, Divine, Cookie and Mink Stole, set out to solve the Sharon Tate murders.
Tagline: You won’t believe this one!
Review: The best reason to watch this early John Waters film is because it is the debut of one of the funniest and strangest actresses in history, the snaggle-toothed Edith Massey. While she is in a relatively normal role (and nothing like the Egg Lady in PINK FLAMINGOS), it’s great to see her continually messing up her lines even worse than usual. As far as the rest of the film goes, it’s a heck of a lot better made than Waters’ previous full-length, the almost unwatchable MONDO TRASHO. Now I am NOT saying that MULTIPLE MANIACS is normal–no, it’s very sick and perverse. But, it has a real sense of story and narrative even given its low budget. In many ways, despite being in black and white, it’s a lot like later films like POLYESTER, FEMALE TROUBLE or DESPERATE LIVING. TRASHO, in contrast desperately needed editing and just looked like a home movie made by schizophrenics and lacked humor!! The film begins with David Lochary announcing a free “Cavalcade of Perversion Show” and rounds up a bunch of squares who said they were disgusted but still gladly attended! It’s all pretty dirty and gross, but also pretty funny hearing these “upright” people talking about how sick it was and loving every minute of it!! Then, in a twist, the patrons are all bound and robbed. Later, it seems Divine becomes bored with this and decides it’s just easier to kill people and skip the show! It seems that Divine is like a goddess or cult leader of this group of self-proclaimed “scum of the Earth” and like her persona in later films, he/she acts like the most beautiful woman in the world. If you like the joke, then you’ll enjoy the film. The only problem for this group of lovable thieving sickos is that Lochary is discontented and wants out of the gang. He apparently can’t leave, though, as he was apparently involved with the Manson family murders of Sharon Tate–Lochary the one who wrote “pigs” all over the walls with her blood. This and the later scene where Divine talks quite casually with her naked daughter as the daughter makes out with a member of the Weatherman terrorist organization were in incredibly bad taste back in 1970. Today, given almost 40 years, it made me laugh quite loudly–and I felt ashamed of myself. But it was just so sick and surreal to see this scene made in horribly bad taste but with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Next, in a very bizarre scene, Divine looks up to see a divine messenger there to rescue her, “the King of Prague” (a cute four year-old dressed like a king) and they go for a walk to the local church. There, Divine thanks god for sending the king to rescue her and thinks about the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5000. In this version, there are only about a dozen and they feast on cans of tuna and bread. Divine prays and asks for forgiveness for her life, but then confesses that she’s really never done anything particularly bad!! “The uneducated members of the clergy” might disagree, Divine reasons, she’s always justified in her murders! The life of Jesus is then acted out by Waters’ repertory group (with Edith as Mary) and it’s actually reasonably accurate. At the same time, he/she has a love scene involving a rosary with Mink Stole in one of the pews–complete with loud moaning. I think all this probably would offend a few folks out there! Next, Lochary and his bimbo, Mary Vivian Pearce plot to kill Divine. Instead, they accidentally killed Divine’s nympho daughter (no great loss). In the meantime, Divine and her new girlfriend, Stole, kill a cop for kicks. When the final showdown occurs, Divine hacks Pearce and Lochary to death and then eats Lochary’s innards–raw, even. But that’s not all…by the end of this scene, the room is filled with bodies and fake blood. So, there’s been a “Cavalcade of Perversion Show”, sex in church, multiple murders, cannibalism and lots of nudity….so what could possibly come next?! Yep, you probably guessed it…Divine is suddenly attacked and raped by a giant lobster. And, amazingly, the sex was great. For the next few minutes, the film is padded–with Divine walking about the neighborhood smashing things, foaming at the mouth, stealing cars and attacking a small crowd until she is eventually shot dead by a group of hippies who are supposed to be with the military (yeah, right–get haircuts, you beatniks!). And so ends this sick little romp. Overall, this film is very sick and perverse and definitely a guilty pleasure. As sick as it is, however, aside from all the sacrilege, it’s not nearly as gross and unappealing as the next film, PINK FLAMINGOS, which sets the standard for grossness in a John Waters film. Not for the faint-hearted, but still funny and reasonably watchable–just NEVER let your kids, friends or neighbors know you like this sort of crap! FYI–“Extreme unction” is the term meaning to give the last rites to someone on their death.
Duration: 91 min
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Horror
Also known as: Multiple Maniacs,Множественные маньяки,Pełny wybór maniaków,Maníacos múltiples,マルチプル・マニアックス