John Waters’ gloriously grotesque, unavailable-for-decades second feature comes to theaters at long last, replete with all manner of depravity, from robbery to murder to one of cinema’s most memorably blasphemous moments. Made on a shoestring budget in Baltimore, with Waters taking on nearly every technical task, this gleeful mockery of the peace-and-love ethos of its era features the Cavalcade of Perversion, a traveling show put on by a troupe of misfits whose shocking proclivities are topped only by those of their leader: the glammer-than-glam, larger-than-life Divine, who’s out for blood after discovering her lover’s affair. Starring Waters’ beloved regular cast the Dreamlanders (including David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, Edith Massey, and Cookie Mueller), Multiple Maniacs is an anarchist masterwork from an artist who has doggedly tested the limits of taste for decades.
“A monster movie for people who would rather watch a comedy. It’s gross. It has sensational sex. And in a bravura performance as the story’s maniac in chief, the drag actor known as Divine becomes the most unusual leading lady in cinema right before our eyes.” – Linda Yablonsky, Criterion
“More scandalous than the [carnival] activities themselves is the fact that the freaks are enjoying themselves so damn much. Something similar could be said about Multiple Maniacs itself: as well as being a scorching blast of proto-punk rebellion and a sophisticated mélange of eclectic formal influences, it’s a gleefully slapdash exercise in doing what feels good.” – Sight & Sound
“This is camp in the highest order: not merely the weird bravado and melodrama of American Horror Story, but the act of embracing the lowest culture, the filthiest, ugliest things and bending them to become weaponized against the gatekeepers of proper “social order”. The performances, the textures (“Like a bad Cassavetes film,” quips Waters), the very artifice of Multiple Maniacs and John Waters’s incendiary camp serves to offend the arbiters of marginalization.” Kyle Turner, Brooklyn
- 6/22 | 8:00PM