7.2/10
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56 user 44 critic

Desperate Living (1977)

A neurotic society woman murders her husband with the help of her maid and, on the lam, escape to Mortville, a homeless community ruled over by a fascist queen.

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Liz Renay ... Muffy St. Jacques
Mink Stole ... Peggy Gravel
Susan Lowe ... Mole McHenry
Edith Massey ... Queen Carlotta
Mary Vivian Pearce ... Princess Coo-Coo
Jean Hill ... Grizelda Brown
Brook Yeaton ... Bosley Jr. (as Brook Blake)
Karen Gerwig Karen Gerwig ... Beth
Jay Allan Jay Allan ... Kid
Al Strapelli Al Strapelli ... Doctor Evans
George Stover ... Bosley Gravel
Turkey Joe Turkey Joe ... Motorcycle Cop
Willie Brooks Willie Brooks ... Pieman
James Yeaton James Yeaton ... Dead Bum
Ed Peranio Ed Peranio ... Lieutenant Wilson
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Storyline

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 <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

queen | murder | maid | shack | lesbian | See All (137) »

Taglines:

It isn't very pretty.....


Certificate:

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Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 1977 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mortville See more »

Filming Locations:

Baltimore, Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$65,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Charm City Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Production designer Vincent Peranio cooked a real rat so that it could be "eaten" during the opening titles. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Peggy Gravel: Why did you tell me to come this way, Grizelda? You know I hate nature! Look at those disgusting trees, stealing my oxygen. Oh, I can't stand this scenery another minute. All natural forests should be turned into housing developments! I want cement covering every blade of grass in this nation. Don't we taxpayers have a voice anymore?
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the closing credits, both Lieutenant Wilson and Lieutenant Williams are credited as being played by Ed Peranio. See more »

Connections

Featured in Divine Waters (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unforgettable freak show from the puke-loving pope of pop culture
20 December 2005 | by fertilecelluloidSee all my reviews

"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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