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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 <email@example.com>
Unforgettable freak show from the puke-loving pope of pop culture
"Desperate Living" and "Female Trouble" are Waters' best films, fully realized trash epics with great characters, gorgeous production design and an unapologetic affection for trailer trash values.
The story is simple. Peggy Gravel (Mink Stole), a neurotic suburban snob, flees to Mortville, the town where criminals live scot-free, after her obese maid, Grizelda Brown (Jean Hill), sits on and squashes her sermonizing husband, Bosley Gravel (the great George Stover). The women share a bed in Mortville under the roof of a disgusting hovel run by Mole McHenry (Susan Lowe), a snot-dispensing, pre-op transsexual with impeccable table manners and a luscious lesbian lover Muffy St. Jacques (Liz Renay). But the living arrangements prove less than harmonious and the entire place is trashed when the women offer refuge to Princess Coo-Coo (Mary Vivian Pearce), the downtrodden offspring of the domineering, boy-crazy Queen of Mortville (Edith Massey), who objects to her daughter's hippy-fied lifestyle. Complications ensue once the sycophantic Peggy worms her way into the Queen's chamber (and confidence) and a groundswell of support for a revolution intensifies.
The set-up of "Desperate Living" is pure magic. The idea of there being a town where miscreants can live scot-free is brilliant, as is Waters' enthusiastic take on the entire thing. The tone is that of a fairytale painted with snot and mucus and every detail is consistent in its intention to make you want to puke. The sight of Mary Vivean Pearce doing the town with rabies is a green, grotesque delight, as is the scene in which Mole's new penis is severed, then roughly sewn back on.
This is an unforgettable freak show from the puke-loving pope of popular culture.
You'd be a misfit to miss it.
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