Polyester, Desperate Living

Part of the fun of breaking limbs (Amy commented today that I’m starting to look familiar in a cast) is staying home, checking out, and renting movies. Saturday brought home a pair of John Waters films.

Waters’ goal for years was to make sure that each film outdid the last in bad taste … though Polyester broke that tradition somewhat in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. It’s still my favorite, and I still have one of the original Odorama cards in a box somewhere.

Desperate Living somewhat harder to watch unless you’re thirsty for 90 minutes of extreme, wonderful trash. Picture Queen Carlotta as a “special” actress missing two front teeth, half-spherical, giant red hair, ruling prone from her perch on a four-poster cot held aloft by Castro boys in leather motorcycle caps and black mesh shirts.


Peggy Gravel: The citizens of Mortville are beneath contempt. Only the rich should be allowed to live.

Queen Carlotta: I like the way you think. I’ll give you a trial run. Your first duty will be to help my soldiers spread rabies to the whole town. Do you think you can handle that?

Gravel: Oh, yes, your majesty. And I know just the person I want to give it to first.

Now imagine 90 minutes of similarly insane scene making and you get the basic idea of Desperate Living. If you’ve already seen your share of Waters’ films, his directors’ commentaries on the DVDs make them worth re-watching.

4 Replies to “Polyester, Desperate Living”

  1. When I was in 7th grade, I fell off the fence and tore up my leg. The tearing up was so severe that they treated it as a burn rather than attempting the thousands of stitches it would have needed. I had to sit in the armchair in the living room with the leg up on the ottoman for three days, and there was nothing to do but watch TV. It was possibly the best three days of my life, and we didn’t even have cable or a VCR back then.

    Hope you’re healing quickly.

  2. “The Children are having sex!” – Peggy Gravel

    “How can you ever hope to repay
    the seconds you have STOLEN from my life,
    I hate you, your children, and your relatives”
    – Peggy Gravel – speaking to a wrong number…

    I watched my first John Waters film tripping,
    pink flamingo’s. It was a riot!

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