John Waters - Stuff at amazon

c.22/29 April, 1946 - died, nope

Pope Of Trash

-N. A. Hayes

Filmmaker John Waters began his career working in the underground/midnight idiom, as it existed in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Younger than most of the notable directors in said idiom (Jack Smith, Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol) he was able to inject a sense of enjoyment that outweighed any (if any existed) conceptual weight in his films.

His attack on culture was perhaps enhanced in the early years by his irreverence toward his product. He describes his early process as getting stoned and imagining what his friends would laugh at. These works are negerotic, anti-pornographic in nature, revealing how horribly ludicrous the human body is. Sex acts are depicted graphically—frottage of limp penes on unattractive bodies, incest, an actor raping his female alter ego.

The early works also highlighted Devine, the progenitor of Drag Terrible. This perhaps created the greatest irony in his work; he gave the world Divine in his anti-pornography who inspired Chi Chi La Rue who is one of pornography's greatest contemporary auteurs. (Mr. Waters was also a judge at the Fourth Annual Gay Erotic Video Awards, which expresses some knowledge of his position in regards to contemporary porn.) He should also be remembered for publicizing the secondary use of the rosary in Multiple Maniacs as anal beads, which helped break cultural ground on which Divine Interventions [no relation to the performer] has since been built.

Lately his work has been bourgeois and upbeat starting with Hairspray (now a Broadway musical) and continuing through, Cry Baby, Serial Mom, Pecker, Cecil B. Demented (which guts and renders his early contemporaries and influences a little bit bubble gummy.) His strength no longer exists in creating shocking images—a losing battle since we have recently had MTV's Jackass, and NBC's Fear Factor on prime time TV. However his ability to juxtapose cultural personalities in itself is his current genius (consider Porn Queen Traci Lords, Symbionese Liberationist Patricia Hearst, and Screen Dream Johnny Depp as co-stars in Cry Baby.) This talent is perhaps rivaled only in Gregg Araki's Teen Angst Cycle.


  • Hag in a Black Leather Jacket (1964)
  • Roman Candles (1966)
  • Eat Your Makeup (1968)
  • Mondo Trasho (1969)
  • The Diane Linkletter Story (1969)
  • Multiple Maniacs (1970)
  • Pink Flamingos (1972)
  • Female Trouble (1974)
  • Desperate Living (1977)
  • Polyester (1981)
  • Hairspray (1988)
  • Cry-Baby (1990)
  • Serial Mom (1994)
  • Pecker (1998)
  • Cecil B. DeMented (2000)
  • A Dirty Shame (2004)

John Waters on the web