The travelling sideshow 'Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions' is actually a front for a group of psychotic kidnappers, with Lady Divine herself the most vicious and depraved of all - but... See full summary »
The travelling sideshow 'Lady Divine's Cavalcade of Perversions' is actually a front for a group of psychotic kidnappers, with Lady Divine herself the most vicious and depraved of all - but her life changes after she gets raped by a fifteen-foot lobster... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A lot of people look at the performances in Waters' early films as crude but I think both Multiple Maniacs and Pink Flamingos (and, to a lesser degree, Mondo Trasho) are a testament to the talent the Waters' troupe really had. Divine has probably been discussed enough though I think she remains sadly underrated as an actress but what stands out for me in Maniacs is David Lochary's performance. He steals the show and improbably manages to provide some genuine soul to a contemptible character, perhaps because he looks positively saintly compared to Divine. Lochary is funny, sincere, scared and ultimately empathetic as the helpless, brainwashed victim of the implacable force which is the Lady Divine. You couldn't just hire regular actors to play the Lochary or Divine roles - you had to have the real deal and the magic of these movies does come from the superior casting.
I think Waters' early films are by far his best, the movies he made before he learned "how to make movies." Some of his later work is cute but never as engaging and fresh as Maniacs and Flamingos. How exactly did Waters manage to combine slimy depravity with wide-eyed innocence in equal doses?
The rosary job is perhaps the finest scene Waters ever concocted and then there's Lobstora, one of the most inspired moments the cinema has ever brought us.
I don't think of Maniacs as mere camp. I think it's genuinely great film making with far more verve and inventiveness than most of the so-called "well-made" Academy fare.
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