In John Waters’ movies, filth is bliss, and Divine (“every homophobe’s nightmare”, per Piotr Mirski) makes a great slob Marlene to grace his Sternberg-like tribute. The first color feature they made together, Pink Flamingos not only proved an instant box-office sensation, but revealed a tender streak in Waters that no one (even him) can deny – or resist. The story is one of savage rivalry between Divine’s multi-generational trailer-trash family and a couple engaged in grotesque sex trafficking: the prize they all crave is the title of “the filthiest people alive” (and Waters does them all one better by making his movie, of course).
Assorted atrocities include grossly ravished chickens and eagerly gorged dog’s feces, so that the film seems to condone Divine’s on-camera capsule of her political beliefs: “Kill everyone now”. Still, Pink Flamingos depicts a family unit that – however wacky – is not exactly dysfunctional, and there’s no denying that the sinister couple played by David Lochary and Mink Stole is in such a perfect sexual sync, and so devoted to one another, that you can’t help yourself but want to be like them when you grow up.