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Overall Rating

Awesome: 33.33%
Worth A Look36.67%
Average: 20%
Pretty Bad: 6.67%
Total Crap: 3.33%

3 reviews, 12 user ratings

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Multiple Maniacs
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by Dr. Isaksson

"Divine is a Maniac now!"
5 stars

John Waters' second full length feature "Multiple Maniacs" has a strong aim. It reaches for big time craziness and in case you're wondering it manages to pull off the roaring rants, the acts of indecency and most of all, the out of control insanity with near perfect results. With all this taken into account, I have to mention that those who have seen and can handle early John Waters' work can agree with me when I say that "Multiple Maniacs" is a hilarious film.

Released in 1970, Multiple Maniacs must have been viewed as a warped freak fest. In those days, society had not quite come to accept the 'anything goes' motto. Still, I'm sure there's no way anyone could actually be prepared for John Waters' very unique style and vision as an inspiring filmmaker. (Yeah I think he is that good.) But then again, one must remember that pot, acid, LSD and all those other mind trippin' drugs were being ingested by tons of hippies and beatniks at the time so it was only natural that films like these would become cult hits. Waters had something funny to say and a bunch of his friends (the cast of his films who were called the 'Dreamlanders') had the guts to get up and act out his warped dialogue.

The story is this. Lady Divine (played by Divine) is the fearless and mentally unstable leader of a traveling freak show called 'The Cavalcade of Perversions'. Her boyfriend of six years Mr. David (David Lochary), is the master of ceremonies for the show. The Cavalcade travels from city to city, sickening the local townsfolk with their 'acts of depravity'. These 'acts' consist of a woman who licks bicycle seats, a slut who 'exposes her sacred reproductive organs to the ever probing eye of the camera,' a man who is going through heroin withdrawal and even two men who actually 'kiss like lovers on the lips'! The catch is this, after the stunned customers view such quality entertainment, Lady Divine makes her entrance and holds them at gunpoint, robbing them of all their money and valuables. (Gotta make a living.) But there is trouble. The cops have been closing in on the bunch and everybody is beginning to get shaky, (especially Lady Divine).

Mr. David has been cheating on Lady Divine with a blonde hussy named Bonnie.(Mary Vivian Pearce, who really looks like Jean Harlowe here.) Bonnie tries to join the 'Calvacade' as an auto-erotic-comprephasiac and a geronto-pheliac?! but Lady Divine shoots that hope down. Mr. David and Bonnie conclude that they must set up a secret rendezvous at the local Inn called Pete's. While this is going on, Lady Divine has taken up residence with her trashy daughter Cookie (Cookie Mueller).

It's at Cookie's place that Lady Divine learns of the affair. She gets a phone call from the barmaid at Pete's (Edith Massey) and goes off with the intent to confront and kill the two cheaters. However, on the way there, she is overtaken by a religious reverie and ends up in a church where, while praying, she is coursed into a lesbian encounter with a church whore named Mink Stole (Mink Stole.) (This scene almost crosses the line on what should be shown on film but it's wickedly funny if you can separate yourself from your moral standards while watching it.)

The two women then head off to find Mr. David and Bonnie. All the while Mr. David has convinced Bonnie that she must kill Lady Divine so they can be together. A final showdown occurs at Cookie's apartment and the results are some of the most unbelievably twisted and hilarious scenes I have ever seen. Watching Lady Divine walk around in the snow wearing underwear and a fur coat trashing a Plymouth Fury with a sledge hammer is just too good to pass up! John Waters wanted Lady Divine to be a monster in this film. He wanted the people in his film to run from her like she was a creature from another planet and in Multiple Maniacs, they run like hell.

I half to admit that Multiple Maniacs is crudely filmed and the dialogue is not too true as to how people really speak. But the film isn't meant to be a work of cinematic genius. There's a few moments where the characters only talk about the crimes of Lady Divine and how dastardly she is. Of course Waters just didn't have the means to show you all the crimes that they speak of but I actually thought it was great to hear the characters talk about what Lady Divine has done. It leaves a lot to the imagination.

The film is ultimately meant to make you laugh and it made me laugh a lot. The acting by the Dreamlanders can go a bit over the top but this only adds to the film's charm, making it all the more memorable. I guess if you think about the plot, there is no other way the actors could say such lines without such gusto. As weird as this may sound, I really think that Divine is a great actor. He takes his role and runs with it. The rest of the cast is also very good. They each have their own unique personality and I understand why John Waters wanted to put them all in his films. I can truly admit that I have become a die hard Waters fan after seeing Multiple Maniacs. It's just so damn twisted!

"Multiple Maniacs" is one of John Waters finest hours. A real festival of lunacy and I promise you this. Nothing can prepare you for LOBSTORA! ***** 5 Stars

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originally posted: 02/20/02 18:39:21
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User Comments

5/08/17 mr.mike A must-see for its historical value. 4 stars
6/17/16 Joanie Totally gross. Don't watch this flick. 1 stars
1/16/14 Justin I used to have this on VHS. Fantastic, hilarious, depraved film! I wanna watch it again. 4 stars
11/10/11 matthew thompson dalldorf Tasteless but funny. 4 stars
12/22/10 a blank hilarious screen classic - twisted hippies run amok! 5 stars
3/18/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Why is this not on DVD? 4 stars
6/08/03 earl hoffert great 5 stars
4/26/02 Charles Tatum Meanders worse than "Pink Flamingos" 2 stars
10/17/01 Jake This and Polyester are my favorites!"You fool! you fool you killed Ricky!",FOOL IDIOT!" 5 stars
6/18/01 GeorgE I enjoyed this movie and the giant lobster & edith massey looks less repulsive than usual. 4 stars
6/15/01 Zoticus Some great scenes, but many long ones with repetitive (improvised) dialogue 2 stars
3/15/01 Sthenno Masterpiece of mania!Visions of bleach blonde husseys,gigolos and Divine abound! LOBSTORA! 5 stars
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  10-Apr-1970 (NR)

  N/A (18)

  10-Apr-1970 (R)

Directed by
  John Waters

Written by
  John Waters

  David Lochary
  Mink Stole
  Edith Massey
  Mary Vivian Pearce
  Susan Lowe

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