Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against Connie & Raymond Marble, a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive".
After a tragic car accident that killed his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people but when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.
Michael J. Fox,
Roger Cobb is a Vietnam vet whose career as a horror novelist has taken a turn for the worse when his son Jimmy mysteriously disappears while visiting his aunt's house. Roger's search for ... See full summary »
A wealthy, fatherless British clan kidnaps bums and hippies and forces them to participate in an elaborate role-playing game in which they are the perfect family; those who refuse or attempt escape are ritualistically murdered.
A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return as no longer human. Can two college dropouts save humankind from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
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 »
A rich housewife murders her husband with the help of her overweight maid, and the two go on the run, ending up in Mortville, a town providing refuge for criminals. They shack up with a lesbian ex-wrestler and her murderess lover, before running into the tyrannical Queen Carlotta, ruler of Mortville... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There is a portrait of Charles Manson in Queen Carlotta's cardboard castle. Also, someone in Mortville cries out "Squeaky Fromme, where are you when we need you?" Lynette Fromme, aka "Squeaky", was a Manson follower who tried to assassinate US President 'Gerald Ford'. See more »
When Mole first meets Peggy and Grizelda she tells them that there are no toilets in Mortville, but at the lesbian bar there are toilets, where Peggy is harassed by the 'bathroom pervert'. See more »
[Kids are in the attic playing doctor]
Breathe hard. Do it again.
[Giggles as she breathes]
Let me do it to you.
[Enters room and goes berserk when she sees the kids]
[Rushes to them]
CAUGHT RIGHT IN A SEX ORGY! FILTHY! DIRTY! FILTHY!
We're only playing!
Is that what you learned in private school?
Don't, Mother, we're only playing!
[Hysterically to herself]
NUDE! NUDE! NUDE!
[...] See more »
Desperate Living's opening credits appear beside an overhead shot of a formal table setting, in which a maid serves a cooked rat as the main course, which is salted and eaten. See more »
It's hard for me to believe that there could be John Waters fans who know only his mainstream films. They're pretty good movies, don't get me wrong; but they walk meekly in the shadow cast by his amazing Trash Trio (this, FEMALE TROUBLE & PINK FLAMINGOS). This one is his all-time best, partly because of Divine's absence. Had he been available, he would not only have nabbed the Queen Carlotta role, but become the focus of every viewer's attention as he usually did. (Well, nobody cites FEMALE TROUBLE for the Donald Dasher character, right?) The way DESPERATE LIVING worked out, you finally get a chance to see how good Waters' other Dreamland divas really were; and they're very, very good. Fact, DESPERATE features some of the most inspired, OTT female acting ever featured in a movie, "trash" or otherwise.
Mink Stole is unbeLIEVABLE as Peggy Gravel; she seethes with constant neurotic dementia throughout. Her portrayal of misery to the power of ten is less overacting than it is finding the perfect pitch for the role, and making camp on the very spot. The movie-opening running tantrum she spews is one of the funniest things I've ever seen - every third or fourth word is shouted for maniacal emphasis ("The CHILDREN are having SEX!! Beth is PREGNANT!! And I NARROWLY escaped an ASSASSINATION attempt!!") Brilliant. But she's matched, step for weaving step, by Susan Lowe's unforgettable diesel-dyke Mole and the nonpareil Edith Massey as the evil Queen of the criminal shanty-kingdom, Mortville. (If you've never experienced Edith Massey, nothing I can say could possibly prepare you for her....unique...greatness. Let's just leave it at that, okay?) And that's not to discount the typically outre work by Mary Vivian Pearce - who plays her character as if she'd gotten lost on her way to the set of a Julie Andrews musical - or the CGI effect that is Miss Jean Hill. This assembly of female firepower results in one incredible movie that STILL has the power to make you squirt liquid out your nose in helpless laughter, Farrelly Brothers or no Farrelly Brothers. As a matter of fact, the more Waters' early assaults on good taste have become absorbed into mainstream entertainment, the better and more shocking his films look for it. When DESPERATE LIVING stood alone, one hardly knew what to make of it. Now that every lesser talent in show-biz is trying to finance a swimming pool by imitating the Waters touch, it's easy to see, and appreciate, who the innovator and true original is. When Waters made this movie, he was a pariah with nothing to lose...he knew better, but still didn't care. Thus, there's an intoxicating power and thrift-shop integrity to DESPERATE LIVING that none of the Johnny-come-latelies can approach, now that "bad taste" is boxoffice, and safe as milk. If you're gonna wallow in slime, then accept no substitutes, folks: demand DESPERATE LIVING.
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