Pink Flamingos Review

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Two trailer-trash families compete for the title 'The Filthiest People Alive'.


Somewhere in the 1970s, amid the prevailing atmosphere of liberation (feminism chief among it) and a new form of gritty moviemaking care of Scorsese, along came a decidedly un-PC man who had a vial of poison which he gleefully shot into the arm of cinema. He was a Catholic, small-town rebel called John Waters and with Pink Flamingos, he invented a cult genre called filth that could shake the reactionaries and please the students. It was bad taste and inordinately funny.

With the passing of time, we can see all the more clearly Waters' legacy. No one wants to eat dogshit, and nor did Waters, but everyone should see Divine eat shit once in their life.

The story is of two families who are competing for the title 'The Filthiest People Alive'. Divine is the grotesque original white trailer-trash slag Babs Johnson, living with her pervy son Crackers (who likes pumping live chickens), her travelling companion Cotton (Vivian Pearce) and her spluttering mentally-ill mother (Edith Massey, whose cleavage deserves its own chair). Divine is in conflict with some utter nutcases who want to be as filthy as her; they're called Connie and Raymond Marble, who run an illegal adoption ring, kidnap girls, get 'em preggers and sell off the offspring to lesbian couples. As a snapshot of American life, Waters was almost prophetic.

John Waters was way ahead of his time with this corruscating '70s vision of small-town Americana.