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Polyester (1981)

R | | Comedy | 29 May 1981 (USA)
A suburban housewife's world falls apart when her pornographer husband admits he's serially unfaithful to her, her daughter gets pregnant, and her son is suspected of being the foot-fetishist who's been breaking local women's feet.




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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
David Samson ...
Elmer Fishpaw
Mary Garlington ...
Lu-Lu Fishpaw
Dexter Fishpaw
Sandra Sullivan
Joni Ruth White ...
La Rue
Hans Kramm ...
Stiv Bators ...
Bo-Bo Belsinger
Rick Breitenfeld ...
Dr. Quackenshaw
Michael Watson ...
Freddy Ashton
Derek Neal ...
Gospel Bus Hijacker
Jim Hill ...
Picket Reporter


Francine Fishpaw is an upper middle class suburban housewife in Baltimore. Unfortunately for this "good Christian woman", the money to support her lifestyle comes from her husband's porno theater, the neighbors are protesting, her son is the notorious "Baltimore Stomper", her daughter is knocked up by a local hoodlum, and her husband is having an affair with his secretary. Written by Stephen J. LeBlanc <sjl@townsend.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Filmed in ODORAMA See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

29 May 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hullu haiseva maailma  »

Box Office


$300,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The smells on the Odorama Card were as follows:

1 - A rose flower.

2 - Flatulence.

3 - Model Airplane Glue.

4 - Pizza.

5 - Gasoline in a can.

6 - Skunk.

7 - Natural Gas from an oven.

8 - A new car smell of leather upholstery.

9 - Dirty shoes.

10 - Air Freshener from an aerosol can. See more »


In the opening scene in the living room, as the Fishpaws are arguing, a boom mic is visible. This was corrected for later DVD releases. See more »


Elmer Fishpaw: Choose your words with care, and I won't get riled!
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, the title song "Polyester" describes the action seen on screen, leading the audience through a helicopter shot of the suburbs into Francine's house (commenting on its French Provincial decor) and upstairs to meet her. See more »


Featured in In Bad Taste (2000) See more »


(love song)
Words and music by Debbie Harry and Michael Kamen
Vocals by Bill Murray
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Waters' last really gross movie
17 August 2000 | by (DVD Drive-In) – See all my reviews

My first John Waters gross-out movie had me hooked to his works, but after seeing his other, much better earlier movies, I see that POLYESTER isn't as great as it was cracked up to be.

Divine is much too whiny (but good and campy) as Francine Fishpaw, a troubled housewife whose husband is a cheating porno theater owner, daugher is a slut, son is a glue-sniffing foot fetishist, and mother is a hateful kleptomaniac. She finds salvation in her friend Cuddles(played superbly by Edith Massey) and new beau Todd Tomorrow (an overacting Tab Hunter). While POLYESTER has plenty of great scenes (Dexter stomping on womens' feet, LuLu ditching a dorky date for her real boyfriend BoBo, the gigantic Jean Hill hijacking a bus and popping a car tire with her teeth), it is one of the weaker Waters movies. Yet it still hasn't swayed totally into the mainstream and therefore has a cheap, low-budget feel about it. It also features great cameos from Waters regulars Mink Stole (Elmer's mistress), Mary Vivian Pearce (a nun), Susan Lowe (foot stomper victim), Cookie Mueller (foot stomper victim), Marina Melin (foot stomper victim), Sharon Niesp (a nun), George Figgs (abortion picketer), and the guy who played Dawn Davenport's teacher in FEMALE TROUBLE.

POLYESTER is not one of my highly recommended Waters movies, but is a great start for those who want to gradually build a following of his films and is a nice farewell to lovable Edith Massey in her last Waters movie.

5 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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