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Mondo Trasho More at IMDbPro »

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

John Waters' First Feature Length Film...

Author: Film-Reviewer
25 May 2003

It's amazing that one of John Waters best films would be his first feature length film. After making three short films, cult film director directed 'Mondo Trasho', a silent movie filled with a rock and roll soundtrack. It certainly shows some of the surreal brilliance that was to come in his movies and has a very dream like feeling. The plot, if you can call it that, is of a modern day Cinderella (Mary Vivian Pearce) who is run over by the sexy driver Divine (Divine). For the rest of the day, Divine and the corpse wander about all of Baltimore trying to find ways to get out of this nightmare and meet up with reporters, mental patients, a topless dancer (Mink Stole), saints, pigs and an insane doctor called Dr. Coathanger (David Lochary in arguably his best performance). It's a strange piece of fiction with the occasional unsynchronised dialogue. It hints at the brilliance that John Waters would achieve with the likes of 'Female Trouble', 'Hairspray' and 'Serial Mom'. It's actually quite good even though Waters always jokes about how bad it is and how over long it is. I found it be very fast paced and funny and satiric proving that John Waters is the best satirist in modern day America and always puts a new view on things. The acting in this film is also endearing. Although none of these people knew how to act, that's the beauty of many of John's earlier films. Divine's performance consists of looking sexy and doing exaggerated movements all the time. Lochary is good in this film, if only he hadn't died so young, I'm convinced he would have won an oscar. It's also an interesting note for Waters fans to watch this because everyone looks so young. Truthfully, the living members of Waters crew like Pearce and Stole don't really look old today but it's amazing to see them pre-cult fame. Although, it's a very hard film to get hold of and even if you do, it will probably be in bad quality, it's a must for Waters fans and people interested in him as well since it's one of his more accesible films.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Hail John Waters For Giving Us This

Author: Kelv-1
25 September 2002

All of John Water's films have their quirks and their staying power and each one is truly a beautiful piece of art but nothing comes close to "Mondo Trasho", John's earlier trash epic. Not only does it have a faster pace than some of his other films but the "story" keeps on coming with more and mnore drug induced imagery. Divine, John Water's regular performer, delivers an hilarious over the top performance as a gum chewing trashy splendor, driving about looking for men until she is distracted by a nude hitcher and runs over an un-named fashion fanatic played by Mary Vivian Pearce. In the course of the next 24 hours, they go through a variety of different adventues, each one unique. This film boasts some great performances by the likes of Mink Stole, David Lochary, Divine and Mary Vivian Pearce. The film also features a great soundtrack, comprised of hundreds of John Water's favorite tunes. No good tune is left untouched in this trash epic. The film is definitely a more mild one than, say, "Pink Flamingos", meaning that this film doesn't have a lot of gross acts although it does have chickens being killed for real and toe sucking. This John Waters film is definitely one of his most unkown and one of his best.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Bizarre, Strange and Weird. I like it!!

Author: Miyagis_Sweaty_wifebeater ( from Sacramento, CA
5 October 2003

John Waters feature length film debut is a schlocky montage of crazy events following Mary Vivian Pearce and Divine as they travel throughout the gutters and alleyways of "Charm City" Baltimore. I can't do this film just by trying to describe the events that transpire. This film has to be seen to be believed. There's no dialog in this film, most of the soundtrack is a collage of 50's and 60's pop music, They're used as dialog and as a Foley track. I wonder if Mr. Waters received permission from the performers for use in this film?

Filmed on a shoe string budget and shot on 16mm uses a cast of friends, Waters hit the Midnight Movie/cult circuit big time. Only a sign of things to come.

Recommended, if you can find it.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

"Oh God! Oh Mary! Oh Holy Trinity!"

Author: Vince-5 from Pennsylvania
15 September 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Possible minor spoilers ahead.

John Waters's first official feature, Mondo Trasho proves (as if there was any doubt) that "it isn't easy being Divine." Jean Harlow-lookalike Mary Vivian Pearce (who, incidentally, prided herself on the resemblance) walks around Baltimore, smokes a Kool, reads Hollywood Babylon on the bus, and has an erotic encounter in a public park. A very young Divine, made up like an elephantine Jayne Mansfield in gold lame capri pants and halter top, speeds around in a 1959 El Dorado and promptly locks her eagle eyes on a sexy blonde hitchhiker. The women's lives collide, and then...things get REALLY outrageous!

This picture is a must for underground film buffs. It's a witty, cleverly made epic that comes off surprisingly well, considering the lack of funds and experience behind it. The use of music is undoubtedly the best I've ever experienced; everyone from Little Richard to Janis Joplin to Mae West to Perry Como turns up on the soundtrack to perfectly compliment the wonderfully raw, black-and-white visuals. Complete with Cinderella stories, a topless tapdancer (the ever-wonderful Mink Stole), a sinister moo-cow glaring at the camera, and so much more than I could ever mention here, Mondo Trasho maintains a bizarre authenticity throughout. An avant-garde trash treat; those who found Titanic to be their particular cup of Drano best steer clear. Thank you, Dreamland!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:


Author: machineel
14 August 2000

Seeing any film by John Waters is an "at-your-own-risk" movie experience -- the story of CINDERELLA is one of several fantasy sequences within the film with "foot" or "shoe" themes. The WILD SOUND takes some adjustment for persons used to lip-synched dialogues. The movie could have been edited down to 77 enjoyable minutes, but I think Mr. Waters was preoccupied with including as much shock/schlock into his footage that he possiby could. IT'S WORTH SEEING AT LEAST ONCE. It is curious that Mr. Waters never made a twisted 'JEAN HARLOW' bio story, considering that Mary Vivian Pearce was a startling look-a-like during her teen years. The film is in black & white, and the opening scenes are astonishing!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Got A.D.D? This is your film.

Author: quiquo from United States
6 May 2006

One can safely expect to sit still for a couple of hours, block-out the world around them, and pay attention to what's happening upon the screen for the duration of a film, right? Well, for most films, yes.

This isn't like most films, lol.

"Mondo Trasho" is one of my favorite John Waters flicks. I first rented this film back in 1998 after seeing "Pink Flamingos" the previous year. I've definitely seen "Mondo Trasho" over a hundred times by now. It's a real treat for us John Waters fans but it definitely is NOT for your common movie-goer.

You must already be familiar with and appreciate John Waters' film-making in order to get anything out of this film. It's also advisable to do something while watching this film. Yes, you read that correctly - do something while watching this. It's a great film to have on while working on your computer or while organizing and cleaning-up the place. As long as you've got a view of the screen at all times, you'll be OK. I don't think I've ever watched this film sitting down and doing nothing. Pay attention too closely and you will either grow impatient or fall asleep.

This is a very turbulent film. It's like a weird dream. It's grainy, gritty, and garish. The soundtrack jumps around erratically and can sufficiently mystify the viewer upon hearing what at first seems like odd choices in music. That impression quickly gives way to irony that is often times invoked by the soundtrack playing against its accompanying visuals. The effect is often times striking, sometimes silly, other times charming, and many times just plain bizarre. Though, there never is a bad musical-visual sequence, as all of Water's choices blend together beautifully to create an audio/motion-picture collage that feels more like a tweaker's nightmare than an Academy Award-generating production. But that's what makes it so great!

Putting this soundtrack together was obviously a monumental task for Waters and his efforts are probably what makes this film what it is. As I've already mentioned before, this film is definitely not one to sit through. It's like those videos that play upon multiple T.V. screens at dance clubs - nobody really pays too much attention to them but they provide an orgy of visuals, teamed-up with music and designed to stir the senses far beyond what most people are ready for.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant Waters experiment

Author: Casey-52 from DVD Drive-In
27 March 2000

When people ask me what my favorite John Waters movie is, I have to place a tie between "Mondo Trasho" and "Female Trouble". Even though "Mondo Trasho" contains hardly any dialogue, it has that certain Waters touch that makes it a classic in my book. Divine, Mary Vivian Pearce, and David Lochary are the real stars of the show, but Mink Stole does a nice job as a topless tapdancer in an insane asylum. Divine looks gorgeous, as usual, and that little jiggle while walking down the Baltimore sidestreets in her gold lame pantsuit is undeniably sexy. Mary Vivian Pearce has her biggest role in her entire Waters career and resembles a trashy photocopy of Jean Harlow. David Lochary uses his lack of dialogue to an advantage by using outlandish facial expressions and matter-of-fact physical mannerisms. His expression of mixed surprise and disgust when Divine discovers him operating on Mary Vivian is hilarious! While there isn't a lot of great acting involved (save for the three aforementioned and Bernica Cipcus as the hillbilly nurse), the soundtrack is the real reason to watch the movie. If you don't love the movie as much as other Waters movies, just pop it into the VCR and listen for the music while cleaning up house, working with photo albums, God knows what else. Culled from Waters' personal album collection (and a few from his friends and parents, I'm sure), the music spans from rock and roll to opera, from jazz to acid rock. Of course, all of the music is illegally used with no regard for copyrights, which shows Waters' got some balls! But that sadly means that the possibility of this movie getting re-released is nil. It would cost a bloody fortune to buy the rights to music from Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Janis Joplin, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and the hundreds of other artists featured here! But this should please all Waters fanatics and despite its lack of trademark Waters dialogue, it is wonderfully sleazy and appealing throughout.

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Good, but a little sick

Author: anonymous from nj
18 May 1999

Mondo Trasho is a great movie. The movie is funny, yet serious, and really makes a statement. The plot is thin, yet confusing even though there is no dialogue. At times, the movie gets a little sickening, like the very first scene. Or the Dr. Coat Hanger scene. But what makes this movie great is the music. I recommend this movie to anyone, that is, if you can find it anywhere.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:


Author: buddypatrick from Brisbane, Australia
22 October 2007

"Mondo Trasho" stars a lot of the original Dreamlander crew; Divine, Mary Vivian Pearce, David Lochary, Mink Stole -- you name it. This is about the only thing that kept me watching Mondo Trasho was seeing our beloved cult actors prance across the screen and of course Divine shop lifting (who would have thought?). It's interesting to see the Dreamlander crew get up to their old guerrilla tricks, but tedious to sit through its long, silent and uneventful duration.

You can see John Waters used this a reference when he made Cecil B. Demented as the cast and crew were arrested during the making of this film for public obscenities (I won't spoil it). The biggest problem with this film John Waters said himself; this was made a ninety minute film when it should have been twenty minutes. With scenes dragging on and on making you skip about you wish it was a short film. Due to bad pacing a lot of scenes drag on after the humour has gone, the music becomes repetitive and there is no dialogue which is a huge letdown because it's a hoot to listen to Dreamlander's have conversations – whether it be arguing or bonding John Waters always writes hilarious dialogue – but as I said, there is none so it's a letdown. There are of course some redeeming aspects (David Lochay's character) and other scenes with public nudity which provide some insight to the early Dreamlander years.

Mondo Trasho isn't the most perfect movie Waters made, it's littered in amateurish film making but this is a perfect look into what Waters and the Dreamlanders were up to before feature film making. If you aren't a die-hard fan of Waters' films or the Dreamlander's then this will be a waste of time because this is definitely something to be seen by the fans of Waters. This will never see the light of day for a DVD release as copyright laws will forever forbid it (the soundtrack) but you can download it thanks to the internet; it's rare but nowhere near as rare as the early 60's short films. So if you're enough of a fan-boy and you've seen all of John Waters' movies and wanted more like I did then see Mondo Trasho because you're never going to see Divine or David Lochary act ever again.

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Waters Fans Might Enjoy It

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
11 January 2017

Mondo Trasho (1969)

** (out of 4)

If you're looking for a deep plot then you're certainly not going to find it here. The film starts off with a weird man in a mask cutting up a live chicken. From here we meet a woman who goes out for a walk and is eventually stalked by a man who likes feet. From here we meet another young lady (Divine) who ends up killing a person and from this point on we just see how this messed up day goes.

John Waters' first feature has a wide range of reviews and different opinions. Some call it a trash masterpiece while many call it one of the worst films ever made. I think both of those opinions are a bit extreme because this is easily one of the director's less interesting films but at the same time it's impossible not to find parts of it interesting and entertaining.

I think the film will work best for fans of the director who want to see him at the start of his career. Obviously there are some shock moments here including the bit with the chicken but I think this film works as a curiosity because you can view it and see how the director would change over the next couple pictures. Of course, there are several people here that would appear in future films from the director so again you've got that to hold your attention as well.

MONDO TRASHO, for the most part, isn't all that funny and I personally didn't find it too shocking. There are some really long stretches in it where not much happens so one wishes that Waters had gone further and delivered more shocks. Still, if you're a fan of the director then it's worth watching.

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